Productivity is an overall measure of the ability to produce a good or service. More specifically, productivity is the measure of how specified resources are managed to accomplish timely objectives as stated in terms of quantity and quality. Productivity may also be defined as an index that measures output (goods and services) relative to the input (labor, materials, energy, etc., used to produce the output). As such, it can be expressed as:
Hence, there are two major ways to increase productivity: increase the numerator (output) or decrease the denominator (input). Of course, a similar effect would be seen if both input and output increased, but output increased faster than input; or if input and output decreased, but input decreased faster than output.
Organizations have many options for use of this formula, labor productivity, machine productivity, capital productivity, energy productivity, and so on. A productivity ratio may be computed for a single operation, a department, a facility, an organization, or even an entire country.
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