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December 29, 2017

Thanks to technology, there are countless aspects of our lives that are stunningly different – for example, the introduction of smart phones, which believe it or not, were introduced only 10 years ago.

Even though times are changing, knowing how to maintain and incentivize productivity in an organization is still quite relevant. In 1981, personal computers were relatively new, the Internet was unknown and cell phones didn’t exist. But a report from the Coca‑Cola Retailing Research Council from that year called The State of the Art of Productivity Improvement offers a timeless lesson.

The report came out at a time when supermarket executives were perplexed by flat associate performance and seemed to have only one approach to improving productivity and improving company growth: cost cutting. The report’s author challenged the industry to consider how improvement might be possible by better engaging employees to help them produce increased sales and thereby hike their productivity.

That argument seems relevant today, as the industry examines how best to compete in the new world of electronic commerce and on-going concerns about how to better engage employees and teams; both topics that were studied by councils in the past two years.

That nearly 40-year-old study, along with every subsequent work by the council, can be found and downloaded here.