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Productivity growth drives higher living standards in the long term, and boosting economic growth in the future will increasingly depend upon improvements in multifactor productivity. However, productivity has been showing signs of slowing down in many developed countries, raising concerns about prospects for the future which could seriously affect the pace of economic growth, including that in Asia.
For the Asian Productivity Organization (APO), raising sustainable productivity is a key focus area aimed at helping member countries gear up to meet the challenges faced within and outside the region. As part of efforts to strengthen policy-level initiatives for sustainable productivity, the APO is organizing a three-day International Forum on Productivity in Kuala Lumpur, 12–14 September 2017.
The forum will foster international cooperation between public bodies responsible for promoting sustainable productivity-enhancing policies and serve as a platform for participants to exchange information and data, as well as discuss best practices and advances in the knowledge- and technology-driven economy. It will also make a set of recommendations on how to strengthen the governance of institutions devoted to enhancing sustainable productivity and for improving the design and implementation of productivity policies while taking into account specific national contexts.
Delivering the opening address on the inaugural day, Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) Chairman Tan Sri Azman Hashim said that the forum provided an opportunity to all stakeholders to share experiences, address policy challenges to productivity growth, and discuss the implementation of productivity-enhancing policies from a global perspective.
He believed that the forum was being organized at the right time since Malaysia was aspiring to achieve the goal of becoming a developed, sustainable economy and an inclusive nation. “Productivity improvement is crucial for sustaining Malaysia’s economic growth. We may need to break from many of our conventional, ‘business as usual’ practices and find new ways to improve productivity and growth,” Hashim stressed.
Welcoming participants to the forum, MPC Director General Dato’ Mohd. Razali Hussain hoped that the forum would enable participants to review the current and future trends of global sustainable productivity and analyze sources of productivity growth in a knowledge- and technology-driven economy. “It will help us understand the role of public institutions and policies in enhancing productivity as well as to discuss the best practices and frontier-research findings on productivity,” he pointed out, adding that the MPC’s collaboration with the APO in the last 34 years had benefited Malaysia by creating productivity awareness among the public and private sectors and lifting productivity levels of industries, specifically SMEs.
“Collaboration with the APO has enabled the MPC to continue serving the country’s public and private organizations by introducing various productivity improvement programs like 5S, lean management systems, Green Productivity, benchmarking, productivity measurement, the business excellence framework, productivity-linked wage systems, and team excellence,” he stated.
Director General Hussain also emphasized that while the collaboration with the APO had enabled the MPC to develop technical experts and resource persons, it had also received assistance from developed economies through the APO in strategic productivity topics such as Industry 4.0 and sustainable productivity.
Thirty-six participants from 15 member countries are attending the forum. However, the open session on the first day attracted a massive turnout of 300 productivity practitioners from across Malaysia. The following APO global experts are facilitating the forum proceedings: Pfarrgasse 20 Consultant Mohan Dhamotharan (India); Department of Education, National Chengchi University (NCCU), representative Chuing Prudence Chou (ROC); Department of Public Administration, Korea University, Professor Jin-Wook Choi (ROK); Boston Consulting Group Partner and Managing Director Lim Yew Heng and Singapore Productivity Centre CEO Michael Tan (Singapore); and Jacobs, Cordova & Associates Managing Director Scott Jacobs (USA).