Workforce shortages: Is your operational efficiency at risk?

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Faced with the growing challenge of worker scarcity, several questions arise. Would your human resources needs be as great if time wasted on work organization and non-value added tasks were eliminated? Does your team have the technological tools to optimize its performance?


The current situation

Currently, according to the BDC, nearly 40% of Canadian entrepreneurs have difficulty filling vacant positions. And it’s not getting any better: due to the aging population, the situation is expected to last for at least another decade.(1)

Companies affected by labour shortages are 65% more likely to experience slow growth(1). While construction, manufacturing and retail have the most difficulty recruiting workers, most sectors are facing this problem.

The impacts of this shortage? In a 2018 study of small and medium-sized businesses in Canada, the BDC presents the 6 direct consequences affecting entrepreneurs the most:(2)

  • Increased hours worked per employee (56%)
  • Increased wages and profits (47%)
  • Slower business growth (43%)
  • Delayed or cancelled orders (26%)
  • Reduced competitiveness of the company (26%)
  • Decreased quality of products or services (17%)

Indirect consequences are no less important. For example, if one of your experienced employees fills a labour need in production, he or she spends less time on value-added tasks. From innovative projects to customer relations, a range of growth opportunities are affected by the lack of resources.

In an environment where entire industries are competing for a limited number of candidates, a change in perspective can be very beneficial to your company in the long run.


Focus on operational efficiency

A team of qualified, high-performing employees is only one element of achieving optimal operational efficiency. To increase performance and maximize value creation, your company must also adopt the best processes and technologies adapted to your needs.

In Canadian organizations, an average of 80% to 85% of work hours are lost to process waste and non-value added tasks.(3) Bottlenecks, production planning errors, misallocation of tasks, communication problems and lack of workstation organization are common causes of wasted time. Non- or low-value-added tasks are recurring activities such as sorting or sending documents, processing expense reports, managing inventory or tracking time.


An abundance of solutions

Reviewing your current processes allows you to identify friction points and optimize your operational flows. Reviewing the layout of workstations and clearly defining the workflows to be prioritized, in particular, often significantly reduces lost time. Non-value-added tasks can usually be automated, freeing up valuable time for your team to focus on value creation.

By making the right technological innovations available to your employees, you further increase their performance. Some examples:

  • Efficient management of your data allows them to quickly disseminate and access critical information, regardless of time or location.
  • Access to customized dashboards with real-time KPIs accelerates strategic decision making.
  • The establishment of adequate communication channels facilitates teamwork and strengthens synergy between the various departments, helping to break down silos.
  • The use of a project management tool allows your teams to easily coordinate and visualize deliverables, roles, timelines, schedules and budget status.
  • The implementation of systems equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) supports you in the planning and execution of your activities (production, maintenance, procurement, etc.).


You wish to increase your company’s operational efficiency?

Contact us, we’ll be happy to discuss it with you!



(1) BDC, Labour shortage: here to stay

(2) BDC, Labour shortage: Here to stay

(3) BDC, The 3 key factors of operational efficiency