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Old 06-05-2019, 06:15 AM
 
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In the economic numbers on productivity, I wonder how much of it has been achieved by making the customer do more of the work. Saw it first in the phone companies when they made you dial long distance numbers. Then the oil companies joined in by making the customer pump the fuel. Fast food: I remember when those behind the counter poured the drinks (oh well, at least you get free refills). Airlines still handle checked baggage for a fee for those remaining ones but most carry their own bags. Other examples?
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Old 06-05-2019, 06:33 AM
 
Location: NC
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An obvious one is self checkout counters instead of cashiers in grocery and big box stores.
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Old 06-05-2019, 06:35 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
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How could you leave off the self-checks at supermarkets? Then the McDonalds are all being remodeled to install self-order Kiosks, where the customer orders and pays. When you go to Home Depot or Lowe's, they have those big carriers to pile up your lumber or other goods and roll out to the truck. In the old days, at the real lumber yards and building supplies they would take it out and load it on the truck for you.



In many cases I consider this a good thing, however. Doing the fast food drink yourself allows you not only free refills but to mix, for example my favorite 1/2 coke and 1/2 root beer. Pumping my own gas makes the process much faster. I dread gassing up in Oregon and having to wait for the attendant who has several other cars to take care of. I like the self checks, again it's much faster when you only have a few items and you don't have to listen to the canned chat like "did you find everything" or "how's your day going so far?"
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Old 06-05-2019, 06:49 AM
 
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I see it as the company providing different options. If they make money off of that, great.
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Old 06-05-2019, 08:18 AM
 
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Don't forget the apps that now make it possible to place your order in advance of arriving at the fast food restaurant. Those seem to be very popular.
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Old 06-05-2019, 10:50 AM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
8,579 posts, read 3,001,676 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pvande55 View Post
In the economic numbers on productivity, I wonder how much of it has been achieved by making the customer do more of the work.
That's an interesting question, but I'm not quite sure how to parse it.

Has productivity increased because we now rely on thousands of brief-term "temporary workers" - us consumer types? Or because stores and services deliver more with continually shrinking employee count - largely due to various forms of automation? Or both?

Exactly how does this work?
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Old 06-05-2019, 12:11 PM
 
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Labor productivity is far mare linked to automation, specialization, and training rather than scope creep.
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Old 06-05-2019, 03:27 PM
 
3,247 posts, read 842,766 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pvande55 View Post
In the economic numbers on productivity, I wonder how much of it has been achieved by making the customer do more of the work. Saw it first in the phone companies when they made you dial long distance numbers. Then the oil companies joined in by making the customer pump the fuel. Fast food: I remember when those behind the counter poured the drinks (oh well, at least you get free refills). Airlines still handle checked baggage for a fee for those remaining ones but most carry their own bags. Other examples?
Those examples are good examples because there wasn't a streamlined process for the company to handle the transaction without verbal input from the customer. And the time spent dealing with scrutinizing customers.

- LD calls: you had to verbally tell the operator what number
- Gas pumps: you had to verbally tell the attendant which grade, how much you wanted, he had to count change
- Fast food: now there's never any gripe about how much ice is in the drink!
- Airlines: I have been on some flights where I carried my bags to the gate at instead of carrying-on, they were "valeted" right down the baggage ramp (conveyor?) to the outside. No weights or fees to argue over.
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Old 06-05-2019, 03:41 PM
 
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concerning those productivity numbers...this is usually about how many widgits were made and how many manhours
it took to make them. actually selling some does not count, so the customer is not involved.
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Old 06-05-2019, 04:37 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turkeydance View Post
concerning those productivity numbers...this is usually about how many widgits were made and how many manhours
it took to make them. actually selling some does not count, so the customer is not involved.
So you don't think effort at the logistics and retail end count as "productivity"? Only... number of widgets per hour?
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