The National Productivity Board (NPB) was established as a statutory board under the Ministry of Labour on 12 May 1972. The board was tasked to promote productivity; assist companies in raising productivity through training of management and supervisors; provide training facilities; foster good industrial relations; formulate wage policies; undertake research; and provide information on productivity, manpower and wages through the setting up of a resource library.
The history of the NPB can be traced back to 15 January 1965 when the National Trades Union Congress, the Singapore Manufacturers’ Association and the Singapore Employers Federation signed the Charter for Industrial Progress and the Productivity Code of Practice. The charter called for the formation of a productivity centre, comprising tripartite representation from workers, employers and the government, to spearhead the productivity movement in Singapore. A Productivity Unit, which had already been set up in 1964, was thus reorganised to become the National Productivity Centre in May 1967 under the purview of the Economic Development Board (EDB).
The NPB replaced the National Productivity Centre in 1972 and was instituted to instil a culture of productivity in Singapore, modernise businesses and improve the quality of the workforce to meet the challenges of a competitive global economic environment. The interim management committee of the National Productivity Centre became the first board of directors of the NPB.
The most visible outcomes of the NPB’s work were the introduction of Japanese labour-management practices and productivity concepts, the launch of the National Productivity Council and the Productivity Movement in September 1981, and the implementation of the Total Productivity Approach, which is a conceptual framework that considers productivity from the pillars of manpower, capital (hardware) and environment. Some of the better known programmes initiated by the Productivity Movement included the formation of Work Improvement Teams and Quality Control Circles; yearly productivity campaigns fronted by Teamy the productivity bee mascot; and the introduction of the National Productivity and Singapore Quality awards.
Some of the key blueprints on productivity issued by the NPB included: Report of the Committee on Productivity, Tomorrow Shall Be Better Than Today: A Productivity Action Plan, The Vision for the Productivity Movement  and Productivity 2000.
In April 1996, the NPB merged with the Singapore Institute of Standards and Industrial Research (SISIR) to form the Singapore Productivity and Standards Board (PSB).
1. Republic of Singapore. Government Gazette. Acts Supplement. (1972, May 12). The National Productivity Board Act, 1972 (Act 11 of 1972, pp. 245–319). Singapore: [s.n.]. Call no.: RSING 348.5957 SGGAS; Republic of Singapore. Government Gazette. Subsidiary Legislation Supplement. (1972, May 12). The National Productivity Board Act (Commencement) Notification, 1972 (S135/1972, p. 172). Singapore: [s.n.]. Call no.: RCLOS 348.5957 SGGSLS.
2. Chang, L. K. (1987). Our story: 15 years of NPB (pp. 4–5). Singapore: National Productivity Board. Call no.: RSING 354.5957093 SIN.
3. Chang, 1987, p. 5.
4. Soh, T. K. (1971, September 4). A new boost for the national effort. The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Chang, 1987, p. 6.
6. Productivity movement – 1985 (p. 25). (1985). Singapore: National Productivity Board. Call no.: RSING 338.06095957 PRO; Innovation & quality: Mastering the best practices: 15 years of the productivity movement, ’81–’96 (pp. 5, 8–10). (1996). Singapore: Singapore Productivity and Standards Board. Call no.: RSING 338.06095957 INN.
7. Productivity movement – 1985, 1985, p. 25.
8. Foo, C. T. & Chan, C. H. (Eds.) (1990). Productivity in transition (p. 4). Singapore: Singapore: McGraw-Hill. Call no.: RSING 338.06095957 PRO.
9. Innovation & quality, 1996, pp. 14–18.
10. Report of the Committee on Productivity. (1981?). Singapore: National Productivity Board. Committee on Productivity. Call no.: RSING 338.06 SIN.
11. Tomorrow shall be better than today: A productivity action plan. (1983). Singapore: National Productivity Board. Call no.: RSING 338.06095957 TOM.
12. The vision for the productivity movement. (1985). Singapore: National Productivity Board. Call no.: RSING 338.06095957 VIS.
13. Productivity 2000. (1990). Singapore: National Productivity Board. Call no: RSING 338.095957 PRO.
14. Republic of Singapore. Government Gazette. Acts Supplement. (1996, January 19). Singapore Productivity and Standards Board Act 1995 (Act 1 of 1996). Retrieved August 23, 2013 from the Attorney-General’s Chambers website: http://statutes.agc.gov.sg/aol/search/display/view.w3p;ident=1c82cf97-89e3-40be-ba1f-330e6b8ab263;page=0;query=DocId%3Acf99b197-e45f-441d-bbb7-61ce280b4324%20Depth%3A0%20ValidTime%3A23%2F08%2F2013%20TransactionTime%3A23%2F08%2F2013%20Status%3Apublished;rec=0; Boon Heng heads new productivity stat board. (1996, April 8). The Straits Times, p. 25. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
The information in this article is valid as at 2014 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.