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The word “productivity” relates to the “output” (of goods and services produced) in relation to the quantity of resources or inputs used to produce them. Some examples of input are labor, materials, machinery, and energy. Productivity is basically concerned with how efficiently goods and services are produced and the value created by the production process. In other words, if a product is made at the lowest possible cost with high quality and can be sold competitively on the market at a good price, then its productivity level is considered high.

The productivity concept is often expressed with this simple equation:

Productivity = Output/Input

Productivity can also be defined as the sum of efficiency and effectiveness:

Productivity = Efficiency + Effectiveness

There are many different terms, abbreviations, and acronyms in use for productivity concepts, tools, techniques, and practices. This p-Glossary explains the terminology in simple language. Please click the topics to view the definitions or to print.

The term participatory irrigation management (PIM) refers to the participation of irrigation users, i.e., farmers, in the management of irrigation systems not merely at the tertiary level of management but spanning the entire system. Participation should not be construed as consultation alone. The concept of PIM refers to management by irrigation users at all levels of the system and in all aspects of management. This is the simplicity and flexibility of PIM. There can be different forms of participation at different levels in the system with varying degrees of accountability and responsibility. Management by irrigation users, rather than by a government agency, is often the best solution. Contrary to the traditional concept that irrigation management requires a strong public-sector role, the PIM approach starts with the assumption that the irrigation users themselves are best suited to manage their own water.

PDCA stands for “plan, do, check, and act.” The PDCA cycle is a checklist of the four stages one must go through to get from “problem faced” to “problem solved.” The four stages are carried out in the cycle illustrated below. The concept of the PDCA cycle was originally developed by Walter Shewhart, the pioneering statistician who developed statistical process control in Bell Laboratories in the USA during the 1930s. It is often referred to as “the Shewhart cycle0”. It was promoted very effectively from the 1950s on by the famous quality management authority, W. Edwards Deming and is consequently known by many as the Deming cycle or Deming wheel. The following is a description of PDCA:

Plan: Determine the root cause of the problem and then plan a change or a test aimed at improvement.

Do: Carry out the change or the test, preferably on a pilot or small scale.

Check: Check to see if the desired result was achieved, what or if anything went wrong, and what was learned.

Act: Adopt the change if the desired result was achieved. If the result was not as desired, repeat the cycle using knowledge obtained from the previous cycle.

Although this is a continuous cycle, one needs to start somewhere. As a problem-solving process one would normally start at the check stage to identify what the requirements are and reality is. The gap between reality and requirements determines whether it is necessary to act. To use this as a problem-solving technique, a process must already be in place which can then be modified.

A pension fund is a pool of assets set up by a company, union, government entity, or other organization to provide pensions to the fund contributors at retirement age. Many pension funds, because of their sheer size, are actively investing in markets and hence are major shareholders in several companies. Since the amount of capital is huge, pension funds exert considerable influence on the stock market as institutional investors. Some pension funds employ their own fund managers. Others delegate responsibility to external fund managers. Fund managers try to achieve a diversified portfolio of investments, with some in low-risk and others in high-risk areas.

Postharvest management refers to the systematic handling of agricultural products/commodities after harvesting. The postharvest chain involves a series of operations starting immediately after taking a product from the field to its consumption. Postharvest operations include cleaning/washing, cooling, storage, grading, packaging, transportation, processing, and marketing. Agricultural commodities, especially perishables, suffer from huge postharvest losses. For example, such losses are estimated at up to 30?40% of fruit and vegetables in many developing Asian countries. The aim of postharvest management is to minimize losses, maximize added value, and improve food safety. This ultimately should benefit the whole community, whether through increased sales/export earnings or extending the availability of fresh produce through the year.


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