The APO » Roadmap

The Roadmap

APO Goals for the Medium Term

Three broad goals are set for the medium term:
1) Improve the productivity of member countries;
2) Raise the competitiveness of member countries; and
3) Achieve recognition as the leading international organization on productivity enhancement.

The first two are the operational goals, and the third is institutional. These goals will be achieved through two key strategies:
1) Expanding the capacity-building activities of the APO; and
2) Strengthening policy advisory services.

The first strategy will expand the reach of the APO by optimizing the use of IT in delivery of the Digital Learning Program (DLP) and intensifying the promotion of its other programs, and the second will provide more relevant research and analysis of productivity trends to support policy and decision makers in government and other sectors. The basic principles, core values, and roles of the APO, NPOs, and member countries should be defined to improve the operational and institutional efficiency and effectiveness of the organization as a whole.

Goal 1

Improve the Productivity of Member Countries

Due to the lack of common indicators for all member countries, labor productivity growth will be used as a yardstick for assessing the achievement of goals. The labor productivity growth rate of the APO20 between 2005 and 2013 was 2.8%. A number of emerging and developing members’ labor productivity growth rates were relatively high. Taking into account the relatively low productivity performance of developed members as opposed to the relatively higher performance of emerging and developing members, and assuming no major global financial crisis, goals for labor productivity growth rates that could potentially be achieved by the APO20 by 2020 ae as high as 3.7% for 2017–2020 as shown in table below.

Table:  Labor Productivity Growth Rate of the APO20

APO20 Actual Forecast
1995–2000 2000–05 2005–13 2017–20
Labor                productivity growth rate (%) 1.2 1.5 2.8 3.7

Note: Annual growth rate of GDP at constant basic price per worker using 2011 PPP; labor productivity growth rate (%).

The 3.7% labor productivity growth estimate is for the entire APO membership. Each member country could determine its own target in its own context and propose how the APO could contribute to tracking the improvement.

Goal 2

Raise the Global Competitiveness Ranking of Member Countries

The average ranking of APO members in the GCI of the WEF improved by three points from 58.6 in 2014–2015 to 55.4 in 2015–2016. Notable improvements of five to 16 ranks were made by India, Vietnam, Lao PDR, IR Iran, Cambodia, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka. Considering the competitiveness trends are mostly positive among the APO20 and assuming no economic crisis that could affect productivity and economic growth, the goal of raising the average GCI ranking that is achievable by the APO20 is as high as five points. The economies currently highly ranked such as Singapore (2nd), Japan (6th), the ROC (14th), Malaysia (20th), and the ROK (26th) could contribute to achieving the goal by maintaining and strengthening their competitive edge as well as sharing their experience with other members. At the same time, this goal could be met if countries that have achieved substantial increases in ranking like India and Vietnam sustain their performance, and others with relatively lower rankings surge upward. Detailed assessments of member countries’ status using the 12 pillars as well as APO support in relevant areas will play a crucial role in achieving the collective goal.

Goal 3

Achieve Recognition of the APO as the Leading International Organization on Productivity Enhancement

The APO has recently attracted the attention of other international organizations and governments as a potential partner for pursuing their own agendas. Some UN agencies, the Pan Africa Productivity Association (PAPA), and governments from other regions have sent observers to the WSM and GBM.

Similar interest was shown by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Agriculture (SEARCA) and the Center on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP). The latter signed an MOU with the APO to co-sponsor APO projects relevant to its own priorities and agenda. Cornell University has an MOU with the APO for a three-year collaboration on agribusiness research and the Executive Management Course in Agribusiness. Recently, the province of Antioquia in Colombia has also signed an MOU with the APO for technical cooperation in productivity promotion.

To achieve wider global recognition, it is important to expand APO programs and increase their visibility. Global recognition could attract new members as well as create opportunities for offering revenue- generating projects with clients from nonmember countries.

Key Strategies to Achieve Goals

To achieve the above goals, the APO must be more aggressive, refocusing its operations and adopting new approach in developing and implementing programs. Two key operational strategies and four institutional strategies in the medium term to address the challenges and needs of member countries and achieve the APO vision are outlined below.

Operational Strategies

1. Expand the capacity building of human resources and institutions

a) Expanding the capacity for productivity enhancement both vertically and horizontally, nurturing highly skilled productivity professionals, and reaching out to train a broad range of productivity practitioners in member countries are crucial to achieving the APO’s vision. That expansion will include the following activities: Enhancing the capacities of 100,000 human resources on productivity, mainly through the Digital Learning Program and face-to-face projects b) Expanding capacity-building programs will significantly broaden the pool of productivity practitioners and other human resources throughout the region. The current DLP comprises two modes: videoconference-based e-learning; and web-based self-e-learning. Both have been proven effective in delivering courses and attracting numerous participants. The inclusion of more current IT platforms in the DLP will define the next generation of e- learning courses. These will be animated, interactive, and accessible through various applications including mobile devices. Under this roadmap, the numbers of self-learning courses and participants will increase. Eventually, some courses will be translated into other languages. c) Face-to-face projects will remain an important component of capacity building. Increasing the number of participants, assuming no significant increase in the number of multicountry projects, will come mainly from national follow-ups to multicountry projects. Another possible source of additional participants will come from opening face-to-face courses to self-financed participants, which would generate revenue for the APO. In addition, more intensive promotion of individual-country programs would expand the number of participants. (See Annex 8 for details of targets for expanded capacity building). Intensifying sector-focused programs to address the strategic priorities of member countries d) Nurturing productivity professionals in strategically important sectors that require specific tools and techniques will be achieved through sector-specific programs that may be a mix of face-to-face and e-learning projects. Priorities will be periodically assessed through consultation during the WSM and the survey for the APO Biennial Program Plan. Member countries will be able to implement localized sector-focused projects with APO support through the various individual-country programs. Establishing a Knowledge and Best-practice Network to catalyze region-wide productivity knowledge exchanges and learning e) Cooperation for mutual benefit has been a hallmark of the APO. The establishment of a Knowledge and Best-practice Network will contribute to knowledge sharing for capacity building, complementing the BCBN and I-OSM Programs. The Knowledge and Best-practice Network will involve virtual and real-time collaboration. The former will provide matchmaking mechanisms to connect an NPO seeking specific capabilities to an NPO able to assist, a best-practice database, and online discussion forum; the latter will provide physical venues to share cutting-edge practices and know-how. The topics/sectors of the network will be explored in consultation with NPOs to meet their practical needs.

2. Strengthen policy advisory services

In line with its role as a regional adviser, the APO will assign international experts based on demand to conduct training and coaching sessions for consultants of NPOs and relevant institutions. The APO will also facilitate NPOs’ benchmarking activities in productivity review and reporting. Pilot research will be undertaken to develop the framework and parameters for undertaking productivity policy review. The results will be presented in a forum of NPOs to enable each to assess the validity of the framework. The APO will intensify its research activities, focusing on strategic topics most relevant to member countries, particularly productivity measurement, new tools, and benchmarking. National/NPO needs identified in research will be reflected in project design. In addition, policies of member countries with rapid labor productivity growth and improvement in competitiveness rankings will be shared.

Institutional Strategies

1. Increase organizational efficiency and effectiveness

Measures to increase operational efficiency and effectiveness will be adopted. The Secretariat will use resources as efficiently as possible in planning and implementing projects. The evaluation and reporting system will track performance in key areas to measure effectiveness. The result-based framework used by other international organizations and some governments in member countries like India and the Philippines for monitoring performance will be tailored to meet APO requirements.

2. Expand cooperation with global and regional organizations

The APO will proactively expand its cooperation with regional and global organizations with common goals and utilize its resources to achieve greater synergy. Various partnership arrangements will be explored to serve member needs. The use of social media should be optimized to showcase activities, highlighting areas of possible cooperation and partnership.

3. Activate APO alumni for networking and knowledge sharing

The APO has trained more than 100,000 human resources in the region over the last five decades. These project alumni have huge potential for contributing to member countries, although it has mostly remained untapped. The APO in cooperation with NPOs will encourage the formation of alumni associations in each country, along with the establishment of a regional federation of national associations. This will facilitate networking among alumni within a country and the region for mutual benefit. Refresher courses and fora to facilitate sharing of knowledge and best practices among alumni will be organized by the APO.

4. Sustain the campaign for new membership

Dialogue with governments that have indicated interest in joining the APO will continue. The process of accession takes time since membership requires approval from executive and legislative bodies. Promotional activities should be intensified by inviting governments and/or organizations from target countries to participate in activities, as well as sending APO representatives and Secretariat staff to participate in regional and international events in other countries. These efforts can be supplemented by mentioning APO activities on social media.

Guiding Principles and Core Values

The APO’s guiding principles are strategic statements intended to provide a common philosophy for national productivity movements and establish its leading organizational position. As the activities in this roadmap are undertaken, the APO and NPOs will maintain a focus on:
1. Providing leadership in continuous productivity enhancement in the region and supporting the productivity movement in all member countries;
2. Collaborating with other national and international organizations in activities of mutual benefit for greater synergy;
3. Promoting Green Productivity to protect the environment while achieving eco- competiveness and sustainable green growth; and
4. Maintaining and creating employment, promoting cooperation and collaboration between employers and employees, and ensuring the fair distribution of gains among shareholders, employers, employees, and consumers.

To complement the key guiding principles, a set of core values governs how the GBM, WSM, LOMs, and Secretariat function and act in line with the mission and vision of the APO. These core values will improve the institutional character of the APO, especially in regard to:
• Accountability in all decisions or actions carried out in an official capacity;
• Adherence to the highest professional and ethical standards when dealing with stakeholders, partners, and clients;
• Commitment to supporting and implementing program plans by allocating necessary resources;
• Equality of opportunity for all members to participate in programs and projects relevant to their needs;
• Being participatory in setting goals, targets, priorities, and program plans;
• Responsiveness to all member countries, partners, and clients on specific interests and needs;
• Transparency in decisions and transactions of the organization; and
• Relevance of all official actions to the mission and vision of the organization.

Roles of the APO, NPOs, and Member Governments and Required Actions to Achieve the APO Vision 2020

The successful implementation of this roadmap will be influenced by three key actors: the APO as an organization; NPOs; and each member government. Each must play important roles and perform well.


Key Roles

1) Maintain its leading position in productivity enhancement in the region and expand its outreach elsewhere to gain global recognition as leading international organization in productivity enhancement; 2) Continuously search for new productivity knowledge, tools, and techniques to share with NPOs, productivity practitioners, and other stakeholders in member countries; 3) Optimize the use of IT in disseminating knowledge, best practices, and cutting-edge productivity tools and techniques to practitioners and other stakeholders in member countries; 4) Strengthen its think tank and advisory roles in the region by expanding its research activities on current strategic topics of significance and utility to member countries; 5) Provide assistance to NPOs and concerned institutions in member countries in productivity measurement and advice to aid policy formulation and capacity building; 6) Establish or facilitate the establishment of partnerships and networks with international productivity-related institutions and NPOs to share knowledge and best practices on productivity enhancement; and 7) Leverage resources, knowledge bases, and experience with other international organizations in the implementation of projects of mutual interest to achieve greater synergy.

The NPOs

Key Roles

1) Maintain their leading roles as the drivers of national productivity movements; 2) Provide policy advice, training, and consulting activities on productivity to various sectors in their countries; 3) Proactively encourage policy and decision makers in the public and private sectors to incorporate productivity enhancement in their activities; 4) Share areas of expertise and best practices with the APO Secretariat and other NPOs; 5) Establish or strengthen linkages with the mass media to enhance the visibility of NPO and APO activities in member countries; and 6) Promote Green Productivity to achieve eco-competitiveness and green growth.

Member Governments

Member Governments

1) Pursue productivity enhancement to maintain and/or create employment, promote cooperation and collaboration between employers and employees, and ensure fair distribution of gains among stakeholders; 2) Create a policy environment that encourages the integration and adoption of productivity in national, sectoral, local, and enterprise development and business plans; 3) Establish numerical targets for productivity increases and adopt a review mechanism to monitor performance in productivity programs and policy implementation; 4) Strengthen the capacity of NPOs and provide them with sound financial and other support to enable effective coordination and implementation of nationwide productivity enhancement programs; 5) Identify priority industries and sectors where productivity enhancement programs should be implemented or intensified to have a positive impact on improving national productivity and competitiveness; 6) Adopt national policies to improve the quality of human capital and encourage proactive workforce participation by youth, women, and senior citizens to improve labor productivity; and 7) Promote the inclusion of productivity courses in school curricula.

Strategic Directions and Priorities
Strategic Directions

The three SDs provide the focus for the programs to be implemented under this roadmap. Each SD has a goal(s) that supports the main goals of the APO. SD 1: Strengthen NPOs and promote the development of SMEs and communities Goals: 1) Enhance NPOs’ capacity and capability to lead national productivity movements; 2) Improve the productivity performance of SMEs; and 3) Increase community-level entrepreneurship. SD 2: Catalyze innovation-led productivity growth Goal: Enhance productivity in business, the public sector, and other organizations through innovation. SD 3: Promote Green Productivity Goal: Promote the adoption of the Green Productivity concept, principles, and tools in business and other sectors to protect the environment while improving the productivity and sustainability of enterprises.

Priority Sectors

The APO cannot meet all the needs of member countries with its limited resources and their widely divergent needs. The APO will direct its attention to the priority sectors identified by APO Directors at the 56th GBM and confirmed by the results of the need assessment survey. The priority sectors are:

♦  Public sector ♦  Transportation and storage
♦  Tourism ♦  IT and telecommunications
♦  Education ♦  Construction
♦  Food and beverages ♦  Forestry
♦  Energy ♦  Water resources
♦  Healthcare services ♦  Textiles
♦  Agriculture (including livestock, fisheries, and aquaculture ) ♦  Finance and insurance
Development of Sectoral Programs

To enhance efficiency and effectiveness in addressing the sectoral needs of member countries, the APO will shift from a project-based to program-based approach. Eleven sectoral programs are proposed for the industry, service, public, and agriculture and food sectors. To complement the sectoral programs, five thematic programs are also proposed to cover agriculture policy, productivity measurement, productivity policy analysis, productivity trends, and monitoring and evaluation. Each will consist of a set of projects with specific objectives aligned with the goals of the programs and three SDs. The shift to a program- based approach will direct limited resources to the priorities of member countries for greater impact. The sectoral programs will be cross-referenced with the three SDs

Formulation of Biennial Program Plans

The Biennial Program Plans will be formulated to consist of prioritized projects. Prioritization will be based on a survey of NPOs. The prioritized list of projects under each program will be submitted to the WSM for review and for endorsement to the GBM. The number of annual projects to be implemented under the programs will be based on the total budget approved by the GBM.

APO Centers of Excellence

The APO has established centers of excellence (COE) to intensify the promotion of productivity in the region, especially in areas of great relevance to member countries. The COE is a formally designated institution or network of institutions in a member country that has a world-class level of competency, with exemplary performance and experience, in a specific body of knowledge or area that contributes to productivity. From 2010 to 2018, four COE were established: a) COE on Business Excellence in Singapore (2010); b) COE on Green Productivity in the ROC (2013); and c) COE on Public-sector Productivity in the Philippines (2015). d) COE on IT for Industry in India (2017). These COE support the APO in undertaking activities for member countries in their areas of expertise. Activities include facilitating learning, innovation, and sharing of knowledge and best practices; conducting research and developing resource materials; and establishing databases. The APO will continue to designate COE to support its efforts, especially in areas needed by member countries.

Performance Measurement and Review

Performance measurement and review of roadmap implementation will be done at two levels:
1) APO program level; and
2) NPO/country level.

KPIs will be established for each sectoral program and monitored annually. Periodic review of the status of productivity enhancement at member country level will also be undertaken. KPIs, targets, and review mechanisms will be established. Performance measurement and review may be conducted at the APO and NPO levels based on international best practices.

Key Performance Indicators
At the program and project level, a breakdown of key indicators will be established. The Secretariat, in consultation with NPOs through the WSM, will identify common KPIs used to measure progress.

The APO will adopt a new methodology to plan and track the outputs of all projects. As part of the process to develop the measurement and review system, the APO will draw on the expertise of member countries India, the Philippines, and Singapore that have developed output and outcome measures.


METI bannerAsian Economy and Productivity MapAPO and Eco Products
The first external evaluation of APO projects is conducted by independent experts.

A bimonthly Japanese edition of the APO News is published.

The Secretariat moves from Aoyama to Hirakawa-cho.
The APO’s 40th anniversary is marked with the First International Conference on Productivity in the e-Age in New Delhi, along with the International Forum for SMEs.
2nd World Conference on Green Productivity is held in Manila.

Lao PDR joins the APO.
First APO web-based videoconferencing project on TQM is organized.
Cambodia joins the APO.

Kuala Lumpur hosts the 1st Eco-products International Fair (EPIF) organized by the APO and others.

The One Village, One Product movement becomes part of the Agriculture Program.
Bangkok hosts the 2nd EPIF.

The APO Regional Award is conferred on four individuals and the APO National Award on ten.
After a productivity conference in Sandton, South Africa, cooperation with the Pan African Productivity Association takes off.

Singapore hosts the 3rd EPIF.
An International Productivity Conference in Bangkok focuses on knowledge management.
The EPIF in Hanoi attracts nearly 100,000 visitors.

An Observational Study Mission to Switzerland on Quality and Innovation is implemented with JETRO support.

The first self-e-learning course on the Balanced Scorecard launched.
Manila hosts the 5th EPIF.

Singapore is appointed as the COE on BE, the first APO COE.

The APO participates in the Conference on the Global Economic Crisis in Tainan, Republic of China.
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