[LINK] What's wrong with this picture? McKinsey report on 'Boosting Government Productivity'

Jan Whitaker jwhit at melbpc.org.au
Thu Nov 1 13:56:51 AEDT 2007

At 01:46 PM 1/11/2007, steve jenkin wrote:
>A sop to this view:
> > The economist William Baumol famously noted in 19674 that services may
> > lag behind manufacturing in productivity because their labor-intensive
> > nature makes it hard to apply cost-saving technological innovations:
> > it will always take the same amount of time for a teacher to read a
> > story, for instance, or for a nurse to give a shot.

funny you should mention this. I was in a local restaurant last night 
with about 8 staff on the floor and each one having one of those 
little pda type order takers. it must have taken the kid 2-4 minutes 
PER ORDER and there were 8 of us at the table. I said to him when he 
got to my end of the table that he should talk to his boss about how 
long it takes to do orders this way. His answer was telling:
If I write it down, then I would have to go back and enter it in the computer.

He said that sentence about 5 different ways to explain the situation 
to the 'dumb lady', which of course slowed down the order taking even 
more. We had been sitting for about 20 minutes waiting for them to 
get to this point, so his slowdown was equally depressing. The place 
is notorious for poor service, so now I understand why. But it still 
doesn't explain the lost looking young women and men in the red 
shirts wandering around without interacting with customers in any way 
unless you grabbed them, almost literally, and dragged them to your 
table to do their jobs. No amount of technology will solve that problem.


Jan Whitaker
JLWhitaker Associates, Melbourne Victoria
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
business: http://www.janwhitaker.com
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Living, like writing, requires no wisdom. Only revising does. - Jim 
Sollisch, Sept, 2007
'Seed planting is often the most important step. Without the seed, 
there is no plant.' - JW, April 2005
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