I recently spoke with someone who used to be a corn and soybean farmer (before he got into IT, strangely enough). Anyway, he mentioned something that I didn’t know: Tractors are incredibly expensive. I knew they were expensive, but I didn’t realize they were quarter-of-a-million expensive.
Yet, you don’t see farmers out in the field farming by hand. Why not? Because they realize that even with the high cost, tractors are infinitely more productive than the alternative. They can make far more money with a tractor than without one.
Why am I talking about farming in a business blog? I think many businesses could learn a thing or two from farmers. For example, I’m surprised sometimes by the levels of inefficiency I see in some companies. I’ve seen processes that could (and should) be automated, but instead require days of an employee’s time on a regular basis…all because the company doesn’t want to spend money on the necessary tools. It’s the equivalent of farming by hand just to save money. It doesn’t make business sense.
Sometimes the key to productivity is in right choice of tools. That is one of the points made in this interesting techrepublic article entitled “10+ ways to be more productive.” While the article makes many great points, I believe choosing the right tools holds the most productivity-boosting potential.
Here’s a great example for you. This company’s choice of software tools led to a 98% increase in productivity. Just imagine what would have happened if they had chosen to work by hand instead of with a tool.