There is endless talk about productivity and how to raise it. Yet, many firms still do not understand it, hence a new initiative from the Singapore Business Federation (SBF).

It has launched a free online productivity calculator that helps employers diagnose where their inefficiencies lie.

By keying in simple financial data such as a company's labour costs and operating profit, bosses can get a score based on 10 key productivity measures, and see how the company ranks against its peers.

"It's a call to action," said SBF chief operating officer Victor Tay, referring to the new Holistic Industry Productivity Scorecard (HIPS). "A lot of businesses do not know how productive they are, especially with respect to the industry average."

After obtaining their quick scorecards, bosses can enrol in a one-to-one diagnostic programme with productivity consultants to identify the sources of inefficiency and find solutions.

SBF is working with the Singapore Workforce Development Agency to roll out the consultation programme. More details will be announced at the Singapore Productivity Conference tomorrow.

The scorecard's database can benchmark companies across 12 sectors using a moving average for each sector, based on data from 7,227 companies, big and small.

SBF hopes to grow this database to 30,000 firms by 2020.

"The benefits derived from productivity go beyond the companies and are passed on to our consumers," said Mr David Hsiao, general manager of semiconductor testing firm Ardentec Singapore. "With such information, we can also set a measurable target for us to work towards."