The Tradeworks project was a project which originated out of the need for the owner of the Tradeworks factory to find a way to improve employee productivity but later evolved into a project which seeks to solve the problem of employee productivity in any factory while providing the members of the team with first hand involvement with the factory revolution in Ghana.
The problem is that the owners of factories do not know how to measure employee productivity therefore they cannot improve it because once something is not measured it cannot be improved. This is a problem because a decrease in productivity can lead to a decrease in revenue and employee dissatisfaction can affect the company in many ways negatively. The opportunity this problem brings for our team is to become pioneers in consulting for factories in Ghana when it comes to improving their employee productivity.
The team wanted to find a way to measure productivity, they then wanted to find what the obstacles where and how to get rid of those obstacles when it came to improving employee productivity.
The team did do some primary research with engineering students from Ashesi when they had to build solar generators; we used this as a simulated experience. We are currently doing primary research and analysis in a factory we are working with to gain more insight into the pain points of our users.
Findings and Analysis
We found out that allowing employees to have a say into what happens to them and which environment they worked in is very important, we also found out that ergonomics is important in factories because things such as color of instruments and posture go a long way to affect employees. We also found out that factory workers work better when they work according to a rhythm be it music or the sound of the machine. We are also looking into using technology to measure productivity and improving but are still in the researching and testing phase .Also we found out that some problems are unique to some factories and that the management of factories are not usually open to improving employee productivity because of the cost incurred, they would only do this if they have an assurance that their revenue would increase after improving employee productivity.
We are still in the Research and Development phase.
It has been fun working on the project but would have been cooler if we had frequent meetings to get updates from other projects to find more insight and also if the D-lab takes care of transportation.
The D:lab should do well to constantly be updated with the pain points their researchers have to be able to solve them quickly. Future researchers should ask those who have done it before (us) how to go about things to avoid making mistakes we did.