World Productivity Congress

Date: 17th-20th May 1981

With the great initiative of the American Institute of Industrial Engineering and the WCPS, the Third World Productivity Congress was held in Detroit from 17 to 20 May 1981. This become possible due to the untiring efforts of Dr. William Wrennall, the WCPS President who was a leading luminary in the Institution of Industrial Engineering in the U.S.A.

In his welcome address, Dr. James L. Riggs gave a review of the progress made since the Sydney World Productivity Congress in 1977 and the scenario he visualized in the years to come. The keynote speaker at this congress was Dr. Walter Aigner, the founder of WCPS in Australia.

He was a great visionary and a practitioner of productivity in Quanta’s Airlines; friend and philosopher and author of a historic book Productivity Is Everywhere. He made a brilliant presentation on the theme How to Motivate Excellence. Among the other prominent speakers at the congress were Li-yen Shue (China), who spoke on productivity improvement through quality control; Professor Yoshikiko Tanaka (Japan) who spoke on increasing productivity and product quality and Mr. W. Freeman on workers’ health and productivity.

Congress Programme

  • Socio Technique or Experiences and Possibilities through Adoption of “Automated Guided Vehicle Systems” within Volvo – Ingvar Persson
  • The Links between Capital Investment, Manpower Productivity, and Wage Levels IT industry – B.O. Wood
  • Approaches to increasing Flexibility and Productivity from the Viewpoint of the German Manufacturing Industry – Hans F. Buflinger, H. J. Warnecke, and J. H. Kolle
  • Increasing Productivity and Product Quality through Satisfying the Workers’ Needs – Rintaro Muramatsu, Yoshihiko Tanaka, and Haruo Miyazaki
  • Strategy to Increase the Productivity of a European Manufacturer of Household Appliances – Heinz G. Goeltenboth
  • The Impact of Microelectronics on West German Industry – Panagiotis Fotlias Integrated Manufacturing Systems—A European Experience – Thomas B. Pretwel l
  • Productivity Gains through the Realization of the Integrated Manufacturing System Today – Bann N. Colding
  • Successful Approaches in industrial Engineering When Industrial engineers are in Short Supply – G. J. Geyser
  • Recommendations for Enhancing the Productivity of Health Manpower – Marsha G. Dunn

Delivering his Presidential address on the theme Productivity of Productivity Scientists, Dr. William Wrennall stated:
“The tools for improving productivity are essentially products of the first half of this century. Since we are in a rapidly changing world, some of the standard approaches to productivity improvement are in need of review.

Many of the so called great and household-name companies no longer exist. There are several reasons for this. Some have changed their name; others have merged; some have been acquired and subjected to organizational surgery. Many have just declined or died. Some have been displaced by upstart organizations who now qualify. An organization’s future cannot be ensured on its current reputation. There is thus no room for complacency for any of us.”

Detroit Declaration

This World Productivity Congress held in Detroit recognizes that in a competitive world, productivity is vital for socio-economic revival. It took an optimistic note of a fully integrated international cooperation witha resolute determination to focus on improving mutual understanding in the common cause of proliferating the productivity science mission.

Before the close of the congress, Prof. James Riggs stated, “I have a dream.” He said, “A world confederation of productivity science, developed to a global network of productivity enthusiasts and professionals – this network should be organized so that nations and regions have their own functions and operational schemes suitable for constant development. Integration with government bodies, various institutions and professionals in the field of productivity science organizations should be organized so that the confederation as a network could operate in a freest possible atmosphere.”

He continued by stating that his experience had been that any effort coming from the large nations, (he mentioned the USA, Great Britain and India), would often be met with a certain suspicion.

He looked at Dr. Martin T.Tveit and said, “You represent a small country, Norway. Nobody will ever feel that you are acting for other than professional purposes and genuine interest in the productivity movement.” This was Jim’s marching order and the fourth World Productivity Congress was scheduled for Oslo.