Increasing Office Productivity
BY WILLIAM W. GERECKE Principal, San Francisco Office
Presented before the Milk Industry Foundation District Accounting Conference of the International Association of Ice Cream Manufacturers, San Francisco — May 1960
WHILE contemplating what I would say today I concluded that my remarks should be of a practical nature with the objective of providing you with some ideas on how to increase office productivity.
At the outset I think it important to put the function of the office in its proper perspective. Simply stated, the office is an operating department, not just pure overhead, charged with the prime responsibility of operating the information system of the business. It records, processes, and stores this information. Unfortunately today the office frequently performs these functions in an unintegrated and uncoordinated manner. Perhaps you can recognize these conditions in your own offices, for it is not uncommon, for example, to find several sets of comparable perpetual inventory records maintained at different
locations within a company, or sales statistics accumulated in both the sales and accounting departments.
This problem of lack of integration and coordination has its roots in at least two causes: the accelerated growth of business in the last fifteen years and the need for information faster as a basis for management
decisions. As a consequence many clerical functions have been decentralized to put them closer to the points of decision. Although
the logic of this has been difficult to dispute, it has led to the haphazard growth of office staffs and the duplication of services and facilities. Increased competition and improved communications and data-processing technology have attracted the attention of executive management to continually increasing office costs. Computers may well have been the greatest single stimulus to management in recent years to determine the cost and efficiency of office operations, for the speed and capabilities of computers have captured the imagination of businessmen. For those who have conducted feasibility studies the principal benefit of the study in my opinion is the knowledge of what is being done currently, by whom, and how well. In most of these instances it is the first time the unit cost of performing office functions has been established. And now rather suddenly management has begun