The Association of Productivity Specialists, founded in 1976, trains and certifies productivity specialists who implement strategies to make companies more profitable. The Association also publishes an international newsletter, The APS Review.
APS affirms and protects the free market process, from the trenches to the boardroom. The organization gives us a voice in governmental circles and helps us to protect our livelihood from governments and bureaucracies that only want to add rules and regulations which stifle the kind of work we and other consultants perform.
Over the years, governments have tried to control the productivity industry. One country, for example, wanted to require productivity specialists to join certain organizations. According to that proposal, a productivity specialist would have had to join that organization in order to work in the country. We try to watch what’s going on around the world. We ask all our members to advise us of any laws or regulations that might be considered. We actively contact the appropriate legal body to stop anything that might get in the way of us doing our jobs.
We started a certification process, which we have refined and tightened up over 27 years, to make sure it is grandfathered in to any law or regulation that might be instituted.
APS made its mark by educating not only the general public, but also managers of companies around the world. Productivity has gone up in recent years, partly because of the computer. However, businesses are unilaterally cutting staff from payroll without knowing whether these are the correct people to cut. They just don’t know. They say, ?Take 10 percent off the payroll.? Some departments might need an increase in staff while other departments might need to be decreased at a rate higher than 10 percent. The only way to determine the right process is to conduct an in-depth analysis of production and administrative processes. This is true not only for manufacturers, but also for a wide range of industries including health care and finance.
The people who do this best throughout the world are productivity specialists. Productivity Specialists can help insure tangible productivity improvement. World conditions change, but the tools and instruments employed by productivity specialists have stayed the same and continued to prove their worth in productivity improvement. There will always be a need to our kind of service because of management’s lack of understanding about productivity.
When APS was founded, 13 companies in the business of productivity improvement elected James B. Irwin of IMPAC as chairman. The purpose at the start of this organization was to provide a certification process for people working in the industry. At that time, one of the states in the USA was trying to pass legislation which would have severely impacted our ability to not only sell, but perform our services in that state. They wanted to have a general test that all consultants would take.
Our position then and now is: How can a general test for consulting be given to such a broad array of people, e.g., electrical consultants, marketing consultants, etc., and make it an effective professional accrediting tool. It would be impossible. So to be on the proactive side, APS in its infancy set up a certification process called the Merit Recognition Program consisting of then two and now three levels of certification that our people are able to achieve.
This substantial program promotes established standards for the Productivity Specialist profession, and generally elevates the performance of firms and individuals through the creation of achievement goals. This program notifies the public that certain prerequisites and requirements are necessary to best practice this profession and that those individuals whose merit has been formally recognized are best able to reliably perform.
After two years of work and passing a written exam, a person working for a productivity improvement company can seek certification as a Certified Productivity Specialist and put the letters CPS after their name, much like accountants, and other professionals are able to do. After 5 years, a different written exam, a verbal review before a peer review board is required and then they can then achieve the APS level of certification — Advanced Productivity Specialist.
Finally, after 14 years, once can achieve the level of Master Productivity Specialist or MPS. The organization then expanded beyond certification to provide an educational segment. That is handled through various classroom and computer based training, as well as educational mailings that go out to all members on a regular basis. Since then we have also added an additional level of membership for our clients themselves which allows their people to join the organization and achieve certification through a certifying process for Coordinators.
All members of the association, whether as Corporate Members or as Individual Members, must agree and sign that they will be bound by the APS Code of Ethics. This important aspect of the organization is crucial, given the huge number of questionable firms that operate in and around the consulting world in general.
We want to hold our members out as being different; as being ethical, and moral business men and women.
The ethical oath is required as a pledge to uphold the conduct of APS members. This pledge consists of five parts, and each applicant’s signature confirms agreement with ?both the meaning and spirit of each article and agrees that adherence on a widespread basis will safeguard the integrity of the profession.?
Clients who use services from APS members have the added value in determining that we have the skills, the ability and the credentials in this type of consulting industry.
All of our people are constantly being exposed through the educational arm of APS with the newest information and technologies that we are being confronted with throughout the world. This keeps us on the leading edge of these efforts, rather than being behind the gun.
In recent years we have enhanced our training at major events in London, the United States and the Czech Republic. Coordinator Training has drawn participants from throughout Europe, Asia and the U.S.