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Productivity and profit - address to Concrete Masonry Association Conference



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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FOR PRESS

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Min is t e r fo r p r o d u c t iv it y

PARLIAMENT HOUSE

CANBERRA, A.C.T. 2600

ADDRESS BY THE HON IAN MACPHEE, M.P. , MINISTER -FOR PRODUCTIVITY TO THE 1978

CONFERENCE OF THE CONCRETE MASONRY ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA, AT THE HYATT-KINGSGATE

HOTEL IN SYDNEY ON MONDAY 20 MARCH 1978 .

MR PRESIDENT, THANK YOU TORY MUCH FOR ALLOWING ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE THIS

INVITATION ADDRESS TO YOUR 1978 CONFERENCE. * 1

I SAY THAT SINCERELY, BECAUSE MY BRIEF STUDY OF THE SEVEN SESSIONS OF THIS

CONFERENCE INDICATES VERY CLEARLY TO ME THE EFFORT AND THE THOUGHT THAT HAS GONE

INTO PRODUCING A PROGRAM WITH A GREAT DEAL OF SCOPE AND DEPTH. I CONGRATULATE YOUR

ASSOCIATION ON THEIR ORGANISATION OF THE CONFERENCE. .

YOUR CONFERENCE PROGRAM REACHES OUT INTO SUCH AREAS AS: TRANSPORTATION, THE

MANUFACTURE OF THE SOPHISTICATED MACHINERY AND PLANT YOU USE; MARKETING; THE

PRESENT AND .FUTURE TRENDS OF THE INDUSTRY; RESIDENTIAL AND RURAL APPLICATIONS;

AS WELL AS TECHNICAL AND OTHER DETAILED ISSUES BEFORE YOU. '

I NOTE THAT YOUR SPEAKERS INCLUDE DISTINGUISHED OVERSEAS VISITORS WHO ARE,BOTH

PIONEERS AND EXPERTS IN THEIR FIELDS, LEADERS OF YOUR INDUSTRY IN AUSTRALIA AND PEOPLE

FROM THE MANY FIELDS WHO ALREADY DO USE, OR MAY INCREASINGLY USE CONCRETE

MASONRY PRODUCTS IN BOTH TRADITIONAL AND NEW APPLICATIONS.. THEN THERE ARE THOSE

IN PLANNING, OR RESEARCH OR THE UNIVERSITIES WHO CAN CONTRIBUTE TO THE FUTURE

DEVELOPMENT OF YOUR. INDUSTRY. . . . ■

MOST IMPORTANTLY FOR ME, HOWEVER, IS THE FACT THAT NOT ONLY THE WHOLE OF SESSION

NUMBER FIVE TOMORROW BUT THE MAIN OVERALL THEME OF YOUR CONFERENCE IS DEVOTED ·

TO."PRODUCTIVITY EQUALS PROFIT". » . ■

THIS IS IMPORTANT TO ME BECAUSE THAT PHRASE SUMS UP TORY -WELL THE TORY MESSAGE

THAT I AM TRYING TO SELL, NOT JUST TO YOUR INDUSTRY, BUT TO ALL AUSTRALIAN

INDUSTRIES. NOT JUST TO MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY BUT TO ALL THE VARIED SECTORS

THAT GO TO MAKE IIP THE TOTAL OF ECONOMIC ACTIVITY IN OUR COUNTRY.

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SO I WANT TO TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY THIS MORNING TO DO TWO THINGS. I WANT TO γ)'1 '

REPORT TO YOU ON WHAT THE DEPARTMENT OF PRODUCTIVITY IS ABOUT - WHAT IS BEING - y ' ■ ■ . · -• . N . v - ''

ACHIEVED NOW AND WHAT IS TO Cu'-Ξ, AND SECONDLY,- I WANT TO RELATE THAT OVERALL

FRAMEWORK AND ACTIVITY TO YOUR OWN INDUSTRY. . AND IN DOING THAT I MAY PERHAPS Si.

SOME PRELIMINARY WAYS IN WHICH YOUR INDUSTRY AND MY DEPARTMENT MIGHT BEGIN A -C-

PERIOD OF CO-OPERATION IN OUR COMMON INTERESTS OF ACHIEVING THE PRODUCTIVITY

IMPROVEMENTS WHICH THE THEME OF YOUR CONFERENCE EXPRESSES SO WELL.

IN CREATING THE DEPARTMENT OF PRODUCTIVITY 15 MONTHS AGO - THE FIRST SUCH

DEPARTMENT IN ANY INDUSTRIALISED NATION - THE PRIME MINISTER HAD NO ILLUSIONS

ABOUT SHORT-TERM RESULTS OR ADVANTAGES OR THE SCEPTICAL REACTION OF SOME IN

INDUSTRY, THE UNIONS - AND INDEED IN THE MAJOR MEDIA. '

PRODUCTIVITY IS A TERM WHICH EXCITES A MULTITUDE OF SELF-INTERESTED REACTIONS -

OPTIMISM, FRUSTRATION, EVEN DOWNRIGHT SUSPICION. AN EXAMINATION OF OUR POOR

PRODUCTIVITY EXPOSES EXAMPLES OF INNATE CONSERVATISM AMD RELUCTANCE TO FACE ’

THE. HARD QUESTIONS POSED BY THE CHALLENGES OF CHANGE IN AUSTRALIA’S ECONOMIC

AND SOCIAL PATTERNS. '

WITH SOME ENLIGHTENED EXCEPTIONS, THIS APPLIES EQUALLY TO THE RANKS OF BOTH '

MANAGEMENT AND LABOUR. RESEARCH BY THE PRODUCTIVITY PROMOTION COUNCIL HAS SHOWN

THAT AROUND 90 PER CENT OF AUSTRALIANS, INCLUDING MANY IN MANAGEMENT, SIMPLY.

DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT PRODUCTIVITY MEANS: DESPITE THE CRUSADING EFFORTS OF DEDICATE!

VOLUNTEERS IN THE PRODUCTIVITY PROMOTION MOVEMENTS OVER MANY YEARS. '

THIS SITUATION OF MISUNDERSTANDING IS BY NO MEANS CONFINED TO AUSTRALIA..

INDUSTRIAL NATIONS GENERALLY HAVE BEEN EXPERIENCING THE PROBLEMS OF BREAKING DOWN

THE ECONOMIC, INDUSTRIAL AND POLITICAL RIGIDITIES WHICH BREED RESISTANCE TO

BENEFICIAL CHANGE. . _ ■

BUT WHATEVER THE DIFFICULTIES IN OTHER INDUSTRIAL NATIONS, THE PRIME MINISTER

JUDGED AUSTRALIA’S PRODUCTIVITY SITUATION AS SUFFICIENTLY SERIOUS TO WARRANT A -

DETERMINED, LONG-TERM EFFORT TO ELEVATE THE CONCEPT OF PRODUCTIVITY IN THE

COMMUNITY TO THE LEVEL WHICH JUSTIFIES A SPECIFIC FEDERAL DEPARTMENT.

OHCD FIGURES FOR'NATIONAL PRODUCTION PER HEAD OF WORKFORCE IN THE PERIOD

1970-74 SHOW AUSTRALIA DROPPING FROM STH TO 11TH IN INTERNATIONAL RANKING.

BY THE END OF THE PERIOD, ONLY THREE OUT OF 23 COUNTRIES LISTED HAD A PER

CAPITA.GROWTH AS LOW OR LOWER THAN AUSTRALIA. ' . '

THE INTERNATIONAL COMPETITIVENESS OF AUSTRALIAN "INDUSTRY HAS BEEN DECLINING

IN RELATIVE TERMS SINCE THE MID 1960’S ALTHOUGH THE MORE DRAMATIC DECLINE '

ACCOMPANIED THE RECESSION OF 1974-75. MOST OF THE RESPONSES TO THIS, BOTH

PUBLIC AND PRIVATE, HAVE BEEN SHORT-TERM. FEW HAVE ADDRESSED THEMSELVES TO THE '

FUNDAMENTAL FACT THAT A MIX OF ECONOMIC, SOCIAL, TECHNOLOGICAL AND INTERNATIONAL

FACTORS IS INCREASINGLY COMBINING TO REQUIRE SECTIONS OF AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY ' .

.TO RE-DEVELOP AND RE-STRUCTURE THEMSELVES TO MEET THE CHALLENGE OF INTERNATIONAL

COMPETITION. < ’

WITHIN AUSTRALIA, THE MORE INTELLIGENT AND EFFICIENT USE OF OUR RESOURCES OF .

.MANPOWER, CAPITAL AND RAW MATERIALS - PRODUCTIVITY- SHOULD BE AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT IN

OVERCOMING THE DIFFICULTIES OF HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT, ESEPCIALLY AMONGST YOUNG'

AUSTRALIANS, AND HIGH INFLATION IN THE WAKE OF THE RECESSION. , '

IT IS ONLY PARTLY CORRECT, FOR EXAMPLE, TO ASSUME THAT THE PROCESS OF ECONOMIC

RECOVERY IS A MATTER OF APPLYING THE CORRECT FISCAL AND MONETARY POLICIES.

MANY OF OUR PROBLEMS ORIGINATE DIRECTLY FROM WASTE AND INEFFICIENCY; FROM THE

RELUCTANCE OF THE AUSTRALIAN ENTREPKEUNEUR AND WORKMAN ALIKE TO ADAPT TO AND ADOPT

NEW IDEAS AND TECHNOLOGIES; AND FROM THE DEFICIENCIES OF AN INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS

SYSTEM WHICH HAS FAILED TO PRODUCE JOB SATISFACTION IN THE MODERN CONTEXT.

THE DELIBERATE CHOICE OF THE OPTION OF A SPECIFIC DEPARTMENT OF. SUCH LONG-TERM,

LOW-KEY ISSUES AS RELATE TO PRODUCTIVITY WAS IN ITSELF AN IMPORTANT SIGNAL THAT THE

GOVERNMENT BELIEVES THAT CONSERVATIVE THINKING IN MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEE RANKS .

MUST GO. NEW NOTIONS OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN GOVERNMENT, THE WORKFORCE AND

INDUSTRY ARE NEEDED. PRODUCTIVITY IS A DEPARTMENT WHICH.IS NON-REGULATORY. IT WILL

NOT IMPOSE, INSTEAD IT MUST PERSUADE, LIAISE, EDUCATE, AND GIVE A LEAD BY '

EXAMPLE. ITS MOST IMPORTANT LONG-TERM ROLE IS AS THE-1 CATALYST OF CONSTRUCTIVE

CHANGE. ITS SUCCESS WILL DEPEND UPON A NEW DIMENSION OF CO-OPERATION, CONCENSUS

AND PLAIN COMMON SENSE. ' ' '

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THE REALITY IS THAT PRODUCTIVITY IS ABOUT OPTIMISING THE OVERALL EFFECTIVENESS

OF AN INDUSTRIAL ACTIVITY - THE INTERACTION OF PEOPLE, ORGANISATIONAL PROCEDURES,

FACILITIES AND TECHNOLOGY HARDWARE - NOT ONE INDEPENDENT OF THE OTHERS. IT

IS ABOUT LEARNING HOW TO BUILD A BIGGER CAKE - PRODUCING GIVEN.RESULTS WITH THE

SMALLEST APPLICATION OF TIME OR EFFORT THAT WE CAN MANAGE. ULTIMATELY, IT IS

ABOUT ENSURING THAT THE NATION CAN MATCH ITS COMPETITORS TO SUSTAIN THE STANDARDS

OF LIVING AND WELFARE, EMPLOYMENT AND GROWTH THAT IT ASPIRES TO.

AUSTRALIA’S INDUSTRIAL FUTURE FLAY WELL HINGE UPON A DETERMINED LONG-RANGE

EFFORT TO RAISE THE LEVEL OF PRODUCTIVITY CONSCIOUSNESS IN ALL OUR WORKPLACES.

DESPITE ITS BRIEF HISTORY IN AN ENTIRELY NEW FIELD OF GOVERNMENT ACTIVITY, THE

DEPARTMENT OF PRODUCTIVITY IS ALREADY RECORDING WHAT I BELIEVE TO BE PRACTICAL AND

ENCOURAGING RESULTS IN A NUMBER OF SPECIFIC INDUSTRY AREAS.

OtlR BASIC APPROACH HAS BEEN TO SELECT AREAS OFFERING MAJOR PRODUCTIVITY IMPROVEMENTS

AND TO FORM A TEAM WITHIN WHICH THE REPRESENTATIVES OF INDUSTRY, GOVERNMENT,

UNIONS AND OTHER INDUSTRY-BASED AND ASSOCIATED BODIES COULD WORK TOGETHER. .

THE METHODS ADOPTED HAVE INCLUDED A STUDY OF THE PROBLEMS OF THE INDUSTRY AND THE

DETAILING OF THE REQUIRED ACTION TO REALISE MAJOR PRODUCTIVITY GAINS. THE

REQUIRED ACTION FAS THEN BEEN UNDERTAKEN OR, AS APPROPRIATE, THE FINDINGS

PUBLICISED WITH A VIEW OF PROMOTING AWARENESS WITHIN THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY

WHICH IN ITSELF WOULD STIMULATE THE NECESSARY ACTION.

THIS ENTIRE APPROACH IS ACTION-ORIENTATED AND REPRESENTS AN EXCITING INNOVATION

IN THE AREA OF GOVERNMENT-INDUSTRY RELATIONS. BY THEIR NATURE, SUCH PROGRAMS ARE

ESSENTIALLY MEDIUM TO LONG-TERM, BUT PRELIMINARY RESULTS ARE EXTREMELY ENCOURAGING,

BOTH IN REGARD TO PROGRESS TO DATE AND FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF GREATER

GOVERNMENT-INDUSTRY CO-OPERATION. LET ME PROVIDE SOME EXAMPLES:

EARLIER THIS MONTH, 1 RELEASED THE FIRST DETAILED REPORT ON THE POTENTIAL FOR

PRODUCTIVITY IMPROVEMENT IN AUSTRALIA'S FORGING INDUSTRY - AN ESSENTIAL LINK '

IN OUR METAL MANUFACTURING PROCESS. THE REPORT WAS THE CULMINATION OF THE FIRST

STAGE OF A SUCCESSFUL JOINT PRODUCTIVITY IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM BETWEEN THE FORGING

INDUSTRY AND MY DEPARTMENT. ' "

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HAS ALREADY BEGUN ON STAGE TWO OF THIS PROGRAM THROUGH SUCH ACTION AS A

RESEARCH PROJECT WITH CSIRO INTO NEW TECHNOLOGIES, AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF A

MARKETING SCHEME TO IMPROVE· ACCESS BY FORGING FIRMS TO OVERSEAS MARKETS.

THE NEXT STAGE WILL INVOLVE PRODUCTIVITY IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMS AT THE

INDIVIDUAL FIRM LEVEL. THE RESULTS ACHIEVED TO DATE HAVE BEEN ENTIRELY DUE TO THE

EXCELLENT WORKING RELATIONSHIP WHICH DEVELOPED BETWEEN REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ' .

INDUSTRY, THROUGH THE INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION AND MY DEPARTMENTAL OFFICERS.

IT IS THE QUALITY OF COLLABORATION THAT IS QUITE CRUCIAL IF WE ARE GOING TO

SUBSTANTIALLY IMPROVE THE COMPETITIVE POSITION OF AUSTRALIAN FIRMS IN BOTH THE ,

DOMESTIC AND EXPORT MARKETS. AND I BELIEVE THIS EXERCISE MAY WELL SERVE AS A MODEL FOR

SIMILAR PARALLEL JOINT STUDIES AND ACTION IN OTHER INDUSTRIES.

ANOTHER RECENT EXAMPLE INVOLVES INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND PRODUCTIVITY IMPROVEMENT

IN MANAGEMENT ADMINISTRATION OVERHEADS - WHICH IS ONE OF THE FASTEST RISING COST ' ' '

COMPONENTS IN INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE TODAY. .

FOLLOWING A JOINT STUDY BY MY DEPARTMENT AND- THE MICROGRAPHICS. INDUSTRY DURING

LAST YEAR, MANY INQUIRIES WERE RECEIVED FROM INTERESTED ORGANISATIONS, INDIVIDUAL

FIRMS AND GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS WHO RECOGNISED THE PROBLEM OF INFORMATION HANDLING

IN THEIR OWN OPERATIONS. ' .

THIS HAS.NOW LED TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NEW INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL

FORMED JOINTLY BY MY DEPARTMENT, OTHER GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES, AND

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS REPRESENTING THE INDIVIDUAL INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES.

THE OBJECTIVE OF THIS COUNCIL WILL BE TO EVOLVE METHODS- OF OVERCOMING THE BARRIERS

TO PRODUCTIVITY IMPROVEMENT IN BUSINESS IN CONTRAST TO THE PRESENT UNCO-ORDINATED

PROMOTION AND USE OF DIFFERENT TECHNOLOGIES FOR INFORMATION COLLECTION, PROCESSING,

PRESENTATION AND STORAGE. .

ONE OF THE ACTIVITIES THAT IS LIKELY TO RESULT WILL BE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A

PILOT EXTENSION SERVICE - PROBABLY HERE IN SYDNEY - TO,ADVISE COMPANIES ON

INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS TO THEIR INFORMATION NEEDS. FOR INSTANCE, TAKE THE CASE

OF THE SMALL BUSINESSMAN REVIEWING HIS MANAGEMENT OPERATIONS AND WANTING TO KNOW KHETHE

WORD PROCESSING SYSTEMS, MICROGRAPHICS, OR A COMPUTER SYSTEM COULD IN ANY WAY

ASSIST IN REDUCING HIS OVERHEADS.

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THE AIM OF THE EXTENSION SERVICE WOULD BE TO FBOV”r.~. HIM WITH A BROAD APPRECIATION X

OF THE TECHNOLOGIES AVAILABLE, THEIR LIMITATIONS, THEIR INTERACTION AND THEIR

LIKELY COSTS AND BENEFITS TO HIS BUSINESS. ' ' -

A FINAL EXAMPLE ILLUSTRATES WAYS IN WHICH MY DEPARTMENT IS ACTING TO ENSURE THAT

LEGISLATIVE OR REGULATORY PRACTICES BY GOVERNMENT HELP RATHER THAN HINDER THE ·

BASIC OBJECTIVE OF PRODUCTIVITY IMPROVEMENT IX INDUSTRY. ' " " ·

FOR THE FIRST TIME IN VERY MANY YEARS WE HAVE BEGUN WORK ON ESTABLISHING A

COHERENT POLICY FOR AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY ON THE OPERATION OF THE LAWS RELATING '

TO PATENTS, TRADE MARKS' AND DESIGNS. THIS INVOLVES SIGNIFICANT REFORMS TO OUR

INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY SYSTEM DESIGNED TO TRANSFORM THE EMPHASIS OF THE SYSTEM FROM

AN ADMINISTRATIVE AND LEGISLATIVE ONE TO A SYSTEM WHICH HAKES THE MAXIMUM

POSSIBLE CONTRIBUTION TO INNOVATION AND PRODUCTIVITY IMPROVEMENT. ' . .

AS I SEE IT, THE BASIC AIM OF THE PATENTS SYSTEM TODAY SHOULD BE THE ENCOURAGEMENT

OF INVENTIVE CAPACITY AND THE PROVISION OF ADMINISTRATIVE METHODS, TO ASSIST

INNOVATION. THE SYSTEM SHOULD BE TECHNOLOGY-BASED AND INDUSTRY-ORIENTED WITH

PRIMARILY AN ECONOMIC RATHER THAN A LEGAL OR BUREAUCRATIC RATIONALE.

I HAVE ALREADY ANNOUNCED THE PREPARATION OF LEGISLATION TO PROVIDE STATUTORY

PROTECTION FOR SERVICE MARKS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN AUSTRALIA. AS WELL, THE

GOVERNMENT WILL BE CONSIDERING IN THE NEAR FUTURE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF AN

INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY ADVISORY COMMITTEE. THE WORK OF THIS PROPOSED COMMITTEE

WILL BE TO ADVISE ME ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A POLICY FOR THE ADMINISTRATION .

OF INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY IN AUSTRALIA ALONG THE LINES I HAVE DESCRIBED. ' . ■

WE ALSO INTEND TO REDUCE THE PERIOD APPLYING TO PUBLICATION OF 'PATENT-DOCUMENTS TO

GIVE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY EARLIER ACCESS TO NEW OVERSEAS TECHNOLOGY. IMPROVEMENTS

TO THE PATENTS INFORMATION SERVICE, ESTABLISHED WITHIN MY DEPARTMENT LAST YEAR .

WILL FURTHER EASE BARRIERS TO USE OF THE VAST RESOURCES OF INFORMATION .

AVAILABLE WITHIN THE PATENTS OFFICE.'

THESE EXAMPLES I TRUST WILL GIVE YOU SOME INSIGHT INTO THE KINDS OF ACTIVITY

WHICH- MY DEPARTMENT IS ENGAGED IN. BUT WE HAVE MANY OTHER AREAS OF INTEREST.

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ψΓ- ACCORDANCE WITH OUR ELECTION COMMITMENT TO REVIEW THE STATE OF ASSISTANCE

FOR INDUSTRIAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT, I WILL BE REPORTING TO THE CABINET

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SHORTLY. THE REVIEW" THAT HAS BEEN UNDERTAKEN HAS SHOWN THAT THE GOVERNMENT'S

CONCERN AT THE DECLINING LEVEL OF INDUSTRIAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT OVER

RECENT YEARS IS WELL JUSTIFIED.' A NEED HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED TO TAKE MAXIMUM

ADVANTAGE OF THE UPTURN IN THE ECONOMY THROUGH STRENGTHENING'SUPPORT FOR

OUR TECHNOLOGICAL CAPABILITY . . ■

SIMILARLY, LEGISLATION WILL BE CONSIDERED TO ESTABLISH AN EFFECTIVE EXPORT '

INCENTIVES SCHEME AND AN OVERSEAS PROJECTS CORPORATION TO HELP AUSTRALIAN

INDUSTRY - INCLUDING INDUSTRIES LIKE YOUR OWN - TO COMPETE FOR A PARI IN LARGE-SCALE

DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS OVERSEAS. . ' ■ ■ . .

THE DEPARTMENT OF PRODUCTIVITY IS ALSO RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SYSTEM OF INTERFIRM

COMPARISONS WHICH" I RECOMMEND TO YOU AS AN EFFECTIVE TOOL OF.. MANAGEMENT IN

ASSESSING YOiJR OWN COMPETITIVE SITUATION AND THE AREAS WHERE PRODUCTIVITY

IMPROVEMENTS ARE MOST REQUIRED. . . . ■

IN THE IMPORTANT AREA OF QUALITY CONTROL MY DEPARTMENT LAST YEAR COMPLETED A

.JOINT SURVEY WITH THE AUSTRALIAN ORGANISATION FOR QUALITY CONTROL WHICH PROVIDED

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE COSTS AND EXTENT OF QUALITY CONTROL IN .

AUSTRALIAN MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY. .

YOUR OWES: INDUSTRY HAS PROVIDED EXAMPLES OF TECHNICAL SOPHISTICATION OF THE KIND

WHICH LEADS TO PRODUCTIVITY IMPROVEMENTS OF THE KIND MY DEPARTMENT IS DEDICATED

TO ENCOURAGE. ■

THE ABILITY TO BLEND CONCRETES OF DIFFERENT COLOURS M S BEEN THE MOST RECENT

INNOVATION AND ONE IN WHICH AUSTRALIA IS PROBABLY AHEAD OF THE REST OF THE

WORLD. '

IN THE MID-1970'S, YOUR INDUSTRY DECIDED TO INTRODUCE INTERLOCKING PAVING TO

AUSTRALIA. THIS REMARKABLE PAVING, DEVELOPED OVER THE PAST 40 YEARS IN

GERMANY AND THE LOW COUNTRIES, HOLDS GREAT PROMISE IN THE URBAN ENVIRONMENT.

ALTHOUGH THE LAYING PROCESS IS LABOUR INTENSIVE, THE GROSS LABOUR.INPUT IS

EXTREMELY LOW FOR A PAVEMENT CAPABLE OF HANDLING ANYTHING FROM THE HEAVIEST

CONTAINER LOADS AND HEAVY INDUSTRIAL TRAFFIC TO FOOT TRAFFIC. .

THAT SUCH UNITS COULD BE PRODUCED HERE IS A TESTAMENT TO THE SOPHISTICATION

OF THE· LOCAL INDUSTRY, AS THESE PRODUCTS MUST HAVE HIGH STRENGTH AND HIGH

ABRASION RESISTANCE. THE POPULARITY OF.THIS PAVING M S LED TO THE RECENT

INTRODUCTION OF LARGE PALLET,HIGH PRODUCTIVE CAPACITY GERMAN MACHINES. AS A

RESULT, THE INDUSTRY IN THIS AREA IS POISED FOR MAJOR TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGES

AND IMPROVED PRODUCTION APPROACHES - WHICH PROMISE TO BE JUST AS EXCITING AS

THOSE EXPERIENCED IN THE MERE 24 YEARS SINCE THE FIRST MODERN MACHINE NAS

INTRODUCED. . . ■

THIS TREND TO PAVING HAS BEEN APTLY DESCRIBED TO ME AS A PROCESS OF LAYING

WALLS ALONG THE GROUND, RATHER THAN BUILDING THEM UPRIGHT. IT DOES REPRESENT

A POSITIVE RESPONSE TO DIFFICULT CONDITIONS IN THE BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION

INDUSTRIES THROUGH THE ENERGETIC PROMOTION OF NEW APPLICATIONS FOR YOUR

PRODUCTS. · . . ·

I HAVE BEEN INFORMED OF THE RESEARCH THAT YOUR INDUSTRY IS NOW SPONSORING

INTO INTERLOCKING PAVING APPLICATIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS. ONCE THAT IS

COMPLETE, I WOULD BE WILLING TO CONSIDER SUBMISSIONS ON WAYS IN WHICH COOPERATION

BETWEEN YOUR INDUSTRY AND MY DEPARTMENT MIGHT BE FURTHER DEVELOPED IN THE

RESEARCH AREA. . . ■

ANOTHER AREA OF POSSIBLE COOPERATION CONCERNS MATERIALS HANDLING, THROUGH MY .

RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE NATIONAL MATERIALS HANDLING BUREAU.

INCREASING NUMBERS.OF COMPANIES IN YOUR INDUSTRY ARE REALISING THE NEED TO KEEP

DOWN THE UNLOADED WEIGHT OF VEHICLES HANDLING DENSE COMMODITIES, SUCH AS

CEMENT OR BLOCKS, IN ORDER TO MAXIMISE PAYLOADS.

IN DOING THIS THEY MAKE GOOD USE OF LIGHTWEIGHT ALLOYS AND EVEN SOME

PLASTIC MATERIALS. YOU ARE ALSO FAIRLY WELL ADVANCED IN MECHANISATION OF

DELIVERIES BY USING ON-VEHICLE CRANE SYSTEMS FOR HANDLING FINISHED PRODUCTS

AND FOR PUMPING MIXES.

HOWEVER, COULD NOT MORE BE DONE TO IMPROVE PRODUCTIVITY FROM THE POINT OF

UNLOADING THE FINISHED PRODUCTS FROM THE VEHICLE TO THE WORK FACE? FOR

EXAMPLE, I HAVE SEEN VERY FEW ROUGH TERRAIN FORKLIFT "'TRUCKS - WHICH ARE

CAPABLE OF LIFTING, TRANSPORTING AND SHIFTING - AT WORK ON AUSTRALIAN BUILDING

IHAPS THAT PHYSICAL DISTRIBUTION METHODS OF SYSTEMS DEVELOPMENT MIGHT BE

BETTER EMPLOYED, IN THE DELIVERY OF RAW MATERIALS FROM THE QUARRIES TO

MIXING AND BATCHING PLANTS. . ' '

FOR EXAMPLE, DO YOU STILL RELY' PREDOMINANTLY ON MANUAL EXPERIENCE TO ORGANISE

YOUR TRANSPORT? I AM .AWARE OF SOME COMPANIES IN YOUR INDUSTRY THAT ARE BEGINNING

TO UTILISE OPERATIONS RESEARCH METHODS TO RATIONALISE JOURNEYS SO AS TO REDUCE

DISTRIBUTION COSTS BY OPTIMUM ROUTING METHODS. ■ - ’

FURTHER, SHOULD YOU CONSIDER THE DESIGN OF MORE FLEXIBLE' TRANSPORT EQUIPMENT?

FOR EXAMPLE, CAN THE RIGS PROVIDED FOR SHIPPING RAW MATERIALS IN BULK BE ADAPTED

OR DEVELOPED TO EFFICIENTLY CARRY FINISHED PRODUCTS AND THEREBY REDUCE EMPTY

BACKLOADING COSTS?

LIKE SO MANY INDUSTRIES, YOUR MOVES TOWARDS ADOPTING CHANGED CONSTRUCTION TO

MINIMISE THE TRANSPORT OF LARGE BULKY FINISHED GOODS FAS ATTRACTED ATTENTION.

BRIDGE CULVERTS, ONCE PRE-CAST AND EXPENSIVELY TRANSPORTED TO SITE, ARE

INCREASINGLY POURED ON SITE USING SOPHISTICATED FORMWORK METHODS. "

AS A DISTRIBUTION-ORIENTED INDUSTRY, SOME OF YOUR MEMBERS HAVE MADE INITIAL

MOVES TOWARDS DEVELOPING MANAGEMENT STRUCTURES IN A PHYSICAL DISTRIBUTION

MANAGEMENT SENSE. THIS PROGRESS SHOULD NOT BE LOST IN THE INTERESTS OF

CONTAINING THE HIGH COST OF.PHYSICAL DISTRIBUTION GENERALLY THROUGHOUT YOUR

INDUSTRY. . ■ .

IT IS ALSO POSSIBLE THAT THERE ARE LEGISLATIVE OR REGULATORY IMPEDIMENTS WHICH

YOU AS AN INDUSTRY SEE AS STANDING IN THE WAY OF INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY.

IF YOU HAVE SPECIFIC CASES OR EXAMPLES WHERE LAWS OR PRACTICES ARE IMPEDING

PRODUCTIVITY IMPROVEMENT, WRITE TO ME AND I 'WILL CONSIDER THE PARTICULAR

ISSUE CLOSELY. I WANT YOU TO BE SPECIFIC AND IDENTIFY YOUR REAL PROBLEMS.

ONE APPROACH COULD BE TO SET UP A WORKING PARTY BETWEEN THE OFFICERS OF MY

DEPARTMENT AND YOUR REPRESENTATIVES TO IDENTIFY THE PRACTICAL PROBLEMS IN

ADVANCE OF A DETAILED STUDY OF METHODS OF OVERCOMING THEM. ,

I AM AWARE, FOR EXAMPLE, OF YOUR INTEREST IN THE COMMITTEE OF INQUIRY INTO

HOUSING COSTS WHICH IS DUE TO .REPORT IN JUNE THIS YEAR AFTER THE MOST

COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW OF THE HOUSING PROCESS FOR MANY YEARS.

IN THE AREA OF UNIFORMITY - OR NON-UNIFORMITY IN CC'M>?J?E?EALTH AND STATE

LEGISLATION AND PRACTICES AS THEY AFFECT INDUSTRIAL YEIOUCTS THIS ISSUE WAS

CONSIDERED 3Y THE RECENT MEETING OF COMMONWEALTH AND STATE INDUSTRY MINISTERS

IN MELBOURNE. . .

AS Λ RESULT, MY DEPARTMENT WILL 3E MAKING Λ STUDY OF THIS MATTER.. IN THIS . .

CONTEXT APPROACHES FROM INDUSTRIES WITH PROBLEMS IN THIS AREA WILL BE APPRECIATED.

IN THE STUDY WE WILL WORK CLOSELY WITH STATE GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS.

IN CONCLUDING, I WANT TO STRESS TO YOU - THAT THE EXAMPLES OF MY DEPARTMENT'S

ACTIVITIES IN PRODUCTIVITY ARE ONLY A SMALL PART OF A LONG-TERM EFFORT.

PRODUCTIVITY IMPROVEMENT IS A THREE-DIMENSIONAL TASK. AT THE RESOURCE LEVEL,

OUR OVERALL EFFORT MUST BE DIRECTED TO ACTIVITIES WHICH MAXIMISE AUSTRALIA’S '

NATIONAL ADVANTAGES. AT THE INDUSTRY LEVEL, THE JOB IS TO IDENTIFY THE ·

PRACTICAL GROWTH PROSPECTS OF PARTICULAR INDUSTRIES. AT THE INDIVIDUAL '

ENTERPRISE LEVEL, IT WILL BE VITAL TO OPTIMISE THE USE OF RESOURCES WITHIN

FIRMS AS WELL AS TO PROVIDE THE CORRECT EXTERNAL ENCOURAGEMENT. .

THE INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANISATION DEFINES PRODUCTIVITY AS: "A MEANS

OF PERMITTING SOCIAL PROGRESS AND STRENGTHENING THE ECONOMIC FOUNDATIONS OF

•HUMAN WELL-BEING". PERHAPS THE GREATEST OF OUR PRODUCTIVITY RESOURCES

IS OUR PEOPLE - THE DEPTH AND QUALITY OF THEIR TALENTS OF .INVENTIVENESS IN

GENERATING AND SUSTAINING THE PRODUCTIVE PROCESS.

THE QUEST FOR PRODUCTIVITY WILL BE GREATLY ADVANCED WHEN MANAGEMENT AND ITS

EMPLOYEES COME TO REGARD EACH OTHER’WITH A MORE CONSTRUCTIVE ATTITUDE STEMMING

FROM THE MUTUAL SELF-INTEREST IN THEIR OWN EFFECTIVENESS WHICH IMPROVING

PRODUCTIVITY WILL PROVIDE.

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