New campaign launched to boost productivity highlighting Lancaster University project


A new campaign has been launched designed to encourage British businesses to help fulfil their full potential and tackle the UK's poor productivity rates.

Cumbria Crystal managing director Chris Blade.
Cumbria Crystal managing director Chris Blade.

And it has highlighted a scheme running in Cumbria as an example of how things can be done.

‘Be the Business’ has been set up by national organisation the Productivity Leadership Group (PLG).

This organisation was founded in 2015 and is comprised of some of the UK’s best performing companies. It is chaired by Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of John Lewis, and has has the aim of addressing the under-performance of productivity in the UK, claiming that small improvements by lots of firms would add £130bn in value to the UK economy.

Be the Business, aims to do this by helping businesses improve their processes through benchmarking, collaboration, better leadership and personnel management.

Sir Charlie said: “We aim to support businesses in three principal ways. By inspiring leaders with actionable insight that helps businesses to set goals and measure progress. By providing modern tools that enable businesses to work out how good they are compared to others they choose. By encouraging sharing of best practice within communities of businesses across the UK as a catalyst to enable people to find out what's worked best for others seeking the same improvement."

The campaign's website - - will allow firms to connect with each other and collaborate. The online resource will feature two core elements: a unique benchmarking and measurement tool, and a "collaboration hub".

The latter will allow managers to create their own personalised dashboard and analyse their own organisation for digital maturity, talent management, leadership and future planning - which the group has described as the four key drivers of productivity.

The collaboration hub will feature webinars, case studies, examples of best practise and training options.

Sir Charlie said: "We're not going to be telling people how to run their businesses. Instead we want to breathe oxygen into thousands of business-led initiatives and communities across the country. We're going to celebrate and encourage.

"We are changing the pitch and the tone of the language that most often accompanies ‘productivity’," he added.

“This has to move from being the preserve of economists to entrepreneurs. That's why this is a movement not a programme. It's a long-term mission for everyone who wants to be the business. It's open, inclusive and all about aspiration."

Productivity through People, a 12-month programme for SMEs partnering with academia, has also been highlighted by the PLG.

Two pilot schemes are already underway in partnership with Lancaster and Bath University Business Schools. Forty two delegates representing 34 businesses are on the scheme.

One of these is Chris Blade, managing director of Cumbria Crystal in Ulverston, who said: "I've brought about a range of small incremental improvements within the company: engaging staff, getting them to look at working differently, bringing about small one per cent changes. Things that we can do quite reasonably within the company. Collectively they add up. So in the first six months of this year, since I've been on the course, I've actually increased the company turnover by 41 per cent compared to the same period last year."

The ambition is for Productivity through People to continue to grow so that by 2019, the programme will run two courses per year, from seven locations across the UK.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017 at 4:45PM
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