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APO News (Monthly newsletter of the Asian Productivity Organization, June 2009 issue)

APO News (Monthly newsletter of the Asian Productivity Organization, June 2009 issue)

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Monthly newsletter of the Asian Productivity Organization, June 2009 issue
Monthly newsletter of the Asian Productivity Organization, June 2009 issue

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Published by: Mario Redentor Moslares on Jun 10, 2009
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Information to Make a Difference in Productivity
 Volume 39 Number 6 June 2009
 Printed on Recycled Paper
Two-tiered approach for greatermultiplier effects
(Continued on page 5)
ast year, the APO successully completed three pilot in-country training programs or productivity and quality prac-titioners ater analyzing the results o the 2008 need assessment survey among 15 NPOs under the Development o  NPOs Program. The success o the in-country programs conrmed that a country-by-country approach could cost-eectively generate substantial benets or numerous local participants.Encouraged by the positive reception by member countries, the APO is attempting to generate greater multiplier eects by expanding its two-tiered project-based approach consisting o a multicountry project ollowed by individual-country programs to disseminate the knowledge nationwide. Under this initiative, the APO has conducted category B/C projects asregional projects or countries with common interests or geographic proximity, ollowed by national dissemination/trainingcourses. In March and April this year, six ollow-up national programs to two multicountry programs in 2008 in the B/Ccategory were completed in cooperation with the host countries.“In my opinion, the beneits o these types o pro-gram are ar better than multicountry projects whicha maximum o two participants rom one country can join,” commented Ministry o Industries Secretaryand APO Director or Bangladesh Dewan Zakir Hus-sain in his report to the Governing Body Meeting inSri Lanka in April. Bangladesh organized a two-daynational seminar on Biomass Utilization or Indus-trial Boilers, 30−31 March this year, as the ollow-upto the Regional Workshop on Biomass Utilization or Industrial Boilers, 18−23 August 2008, in Pakistan.It was attended by 48 local participants with 70% rom the private sector. Secretary Hussain attended the major sessions o the seminar including the opening, expert presentations, and group discussion and elt that it created a positive impact or stakeholders.Sri Lanka and Nepal also played host to national dissemination seminars, in Colombo 2−3 March and Kathmandu 5−6March, respectively. APO expert ArvindKumar Asthana, who conducted all threenational seminars as a resource person,commented, “It is heartening to note thatnearly 50 attended the workshop in eachcountry, with a high level o participationrom the private sector.” Ramesh Kumar,a Nepali participant in the regional work-shop, joined Asthana in Nepal and Bang-ladesh as a resource speaker. He assistedlocal participants in establishing a planor a ollow-up demonstration project.
Secretary Hussain (R) delivering the welcoming address at the seminar Participants in the Nepal seminar establishing a follow-up demonstration project 
APO News
June 009
he US economy is in a bad spot with somechance o rescue on the horizon. But or thetime being the economic landscape is not a pretty sight. There would be some sense o satisac-tion on the part o many i blame or the currentmess could be laid at the eet o the guilty partiesand we could extract a simple apology: “Sorry, our ault.”Perhaps then there would not be so much acrimonyin my hometown over the proposal to borrow mon-ey to build a new elementary school, prevent thering o teachers, and increase class size. An apol-ogy might even reduce the anger over potholes inthe streets, ewer police and remen to protect the public, and the closing o shelters and ood pantriesor the poor. Someone has to accept responsibilityor the angst that has inected the American public.Could the guilty be those “white-skinned peoplewith blue eyes” whom Brazilian President LuizInacio Lula da Silva has accused recently, reerringto Anglo-Saxon capitalism? Perhaps, but then whywould the US government reward the guilty withone-hal percent loans and taxpayer bailouts? May- be the guilty are the old-boy Wall Street network and the economic elite who have proited hand-somely rom revolving chairs in corporate Americaand government. Maybe it is the real estate irmsand mortgage bankers who knew people with no jobs and no money might have trouble paying back loans or $400,000 homes. There are so many likelysuspects that Sherlock Holmes would be guaranteedlietime employment.I you believe that any o the above is the prime sus- pect or crimes against the US and global economy,think again. There are those who believe that theyhave solved the crime and identiied “whodunit.”Yes, it was the unions. Their continual struggle tothwart productivity and innovation and selishlylobby or a minimum wage that brings workerscloser to the poverty line have ruined the economy.Say what?Captain Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot who saelylanded his plane on the Hudson River and savedthe lives o his passengers, mentioned how dicultit was to make a living under the new salary struc-tures that emerged ater pilots’ wages and pensionswere decimated under the bankruptcy reorganiza-tions o the airline industry. The steel industry thatso cleverly used bankruptcy and reorganization toeliminate union wages is oten cited as a criticalstep in improving the US economy. And, o course,we have our current culprits: the automobile work-ers’ unions and teachers’ unions.
“What is needed is one of the real perpetrators to stepforward and take responsi-bility for tearing communi-ties apart as they share theeconomic leftovers of greedand malfeasance in the fi-nancial sector.
Because I belong to a aculty union, let us start withteachers’ unions. I have also briefy headed a schoolthat had no union. Being close to the debate over the evils o teachers’ unions and having refected onthe issue rom both the union and antiunion camps,I eel compelled to report that blaming teachers’ un-ions is a red herring. I you want to make progressin improving American education (i.e., globalcompetitiveness), drop the antiunion rhetoric andocus on the real issues o poverty, broken homes, parent accountability, small class size, hands-oneducational opportunities, and enhanced technologyin the classroom. I we are serious about qualityeducation, put education at the head o the moneyood chain, and do not regard it as the rst and mostconvenient area to cut unding when tax revenuescome up short. It is disappointing, thereore, or meto hear the rerain rom the US government admin-istration that unions are a major hurdle to improv-ing education.I am sure that the automotive workers’ unions couldhave taught Detroit’s management many lessons. Or Detroit could have listened to the consumers to im- prove its product. Admittedly, the automobile work-ers’ unions lost touch with mainstream Americanthinking and padded their benets a little too thicklyor broad public support. But to assign blame to theunions or America’s economic decline, as Jack andSuzy Welch did in a recent
 Business Week 
essay, ismisdirecting the detectives who are seeking those“whodunit.” The Welches wrote, “…three recentevents should make you worry. Each suggests arising tide o union infuence and the concomitantlowering o American competitiveness, just whenour country can least aord it.” I do not believe thatit would be accurate to blame unions or the current75% drop in the value o GE stock. [Author’s note:I grew up in a GE town, and the unionized workerso the local GE plant were the lieblood o that city.When union jobs let the city, the city suered aslow economic death.]I suggest that history will show that unions wereresponsible or the growth o the middle class andtheir habitat, the suburbs. They allowed workers to buy cars, new homes, and boats and to visit Disney-land. They sent their kids to colleges that their own parents could never have aorded themselves and provided the manpower to ll the ranks o the mili-tary. Now the middle class is in a pitched battle inmy little hometown over how to survive in the cur-rent economic downturn and whether it can aord to build a new elementary school. The roadside signs bespeak a highly emotional battle between oesand supporters o the school: “Save our town, voteno” or “It’s no joke, we’re broke, vote no.” What isneeded is one o the real perpetrators to step orwardand take responsibility or tearing communitiesapart as they share the economic letovers o greedand maleasance in the nancial sector.A good starting point or healing would be anadmission by big business and government that his-
 A modern “whodunit”?
APO News
June 009
Comment board
Vic Thorpe,
Just Solutions Net-work GmbH, Switzerland.
Resource person, training course or LeadAuditors on SA8000, Bangladesh, 26 April−1May, 2009.“This was my irst time to work in an APO project. The course was a truly delightulexperience in that I met a group o motivated,intelligent, pleasant proessionals. The 20 participants rom 13 countries, who came toDhaka to discuss corporate social responsibility and the SA8000 social compli-ance standard, brought with them a wide range o experience that enriched our shared learning. Since they were selected rom the previous e-learning course,the participants had a demonstrated personal and proessional interest in thetopic o ‘social quality’ in the global supply chain. The National ProductivityOrganization o Bangladesh arranged the eld visit to the premises o the localSA8000-certied Mainetti (Bangladesh) Pvt Ltd. in the Dhaka Free Trade Zone.All the participants ound the practical input provided by this visit to be im-mensely valuable, as it was an actual demonstration o auditing techniques andworkplace realities. Given the eedback rom participants, the uture expansiono this training scheme to include a wider view o corporate social responsibilityinitiatives would undoubtedly receive warm support rom APO members.”
 Mr. Ben Wismen,
Socio-Economic & Environment Research Institute, Malaysia.
Participant, Training o Trainers in Green Productivity, Malaysia, 30 March−24April, 2009.“I participated in this course to broaden my knowledge o various environmental-related issues that will come in handy or my daily work. Over the our weekso training, I gained a signicant amount o knowledge concerning Green Pro-ductivity (GP), its concept, and the implementation o its tools and techniques.The case studies were the best part o the program as they related irsthandexperience in implementing GP in industry. The course was an eye-opener or me since it introduced various environmental concepts and issues such as green purchasing, the Clean Development Mechanism, and a better understanding o the Kyoto Protocol. There were some logistical diculties, especially with theInternet connections when we stayed in a local acility or one o the our weekso the course. However, the course was managed smoothly. I will use the skillsand knowledge I gained rom the course to help me give consultancy advice ongovernment policies in Penang, as well as raise awareness o the importance o GP in the manuacturing industry in Penang. I hope to become a ull-ledgedconsultant on GP, and this course was a big step toward achieving that.”
Charmarie Maelge,
Responsible Tourism Partnership Sri Lanka.
Participant, international conerence on Sustainable Consumptions, SustainableProduction, Sustainable Future, the Philippines, March 19−21, 2009.“The conerence was a great opportunity or me to learn about the developmento sustainable activities in the Asian region. I am well versed on this subjectwhere it concerns Western and European countries, since my work involves gen-erating markets among European and other Western tourists. I was impressedwith the emphasis that countries in the Asian region placed on sustainabilityissues and opportunities as well as their level o advancement, or example, inCDM and carbon markets. I have been engaged in the Responsible Tourism Part-nership Greening o Sri Lanka Hotels, an islandwide initiative or optimizingenergy eciency and natural resource sustainability. The knowledge I gainedand the networking connections created at the conerence will greatly contributeto our program. This conerence was organized in parallel with the Eco-productsInternational Fair. Both o these events were excellently managed. I could seethat the APO together with its Philippine counterparts worked extremely hard to put together a panel o very high-prole speakers and ensure the smooth runningo both mega events.”
by Michael Manson
torically unions have served Americans well. It would also be useul or unionsto admit that their bureaucratic and undemocratic ways have, at times, blockedinnovation and productivity. Now that push has come to shove, we have learnedthat business trumps labor. The business-government nexus must now realizeits immense responsibility or providing the American worker with hope or amiddle-class existence without union protection or prodding. Once the dust romthis economic storm settles, workers will be more vulnerable than ever. Whatchoice will government and business elites make regarding labor’s uture? Willthe mantra o rugged individualism be invoked to rationalize the greatest dis-crepancy in income levels since the Great Depression?Under US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal o the 1930s and presently under President Barak Obama’s stimulus plan, the USA is moderatingits stance toward a hands-o economic ideology. (Welcome back, Mr. John May-nard Keynes.) What is needed to move America orward are practical plans with-out ideology. That unions are to blame or America’s economic malaise is nota good place to start as it desecrates the sacrices and contributions that labor unions have made or America’s greatness. A better place to start is to penalizethose “whodunit,” and Wall Street appears a more likely crime scene than MainStreet.
Michael Manson had a long and close association with the APO when he was the Assistant Director of the East-West Center’s Institute of Economic Development and Politics in Honolulu. He helped to initiate a number of collaboration programs between the APO and the East-West Center. Manson also served in the Asian Development Bank and was Director of Communications with the State of Hawaii’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. He is presently an educator.

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