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An East German Manager Explains the Advantages of a Kombinat (July 24, 1972)

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More Efficient Administration

An important means of rationalizing the administration is the automation of information- and data-processing. Our experience has shown: Organization and technology of information- and data-processing needs to be correctly linked with the rationalization of the administration. There are still large efficiency reserves here.

In the past few years, the rationalization of administrative work – which is mostly carried out without complicated technology, like, for example, the organization of information exchange and document processing – was neglected in favor of automated information- and data-processing. Certainly, the concentration on automated information- and data-processing with modern technology was and is necessary and correct. But without tackling all the tasks of information processing and conventional business organization, administrative work cannot be rationalized, and no progress toward further perfecting the methods of management and planning via electronic data-processing is conceivable in the future. In order to make progress in this area, 20% of all savings listed in the rationalization plan for 1973 are to be achieved through the rationalization of administrative work. It is important to steer consistently toward this goal, since in this area, in particular, there are large reserves that have yet to be tapped.

Better use of Company Vacation Homes

Specific use of the advantages of the combine must of course include – and that is, in accordance with the resolutions of the 8th Party Congress, a basic question of our socialist social system – [beneficial] working and living conditions as part of the production process. Here, too, it is apparent that the combination effect works directly in the interest of the workers. Individual factories in the combine each have about ten vacation homes for the workers at their disposal. This does not include the many bungalows, trailers, etc. Up to now, these homes were used only by the factories alone, so it was hardly possible to fully utilize them. In 1972, all vacation accommodations were centrally registered and ranked according to quality. This made it possible to offer all workers a much wider selection of vacation sites and to increase full-capacity utilization of these sites even during the pre- and post-season. It is known that workers in the foundries have done outstanding work under very strenuous conditions to supply the economy with the needed casting. For this reason, the combine leadership is paying extra attention to improving the working and living conditions in these plants. In 1971, a 270,000 Mark sum – to name just one figure – from centralized funds from the Cultural and Social Fund of the Factories was made available to the nationally-owned enterprise Rudolf Harlass Foundry in Karl-Marx City to achieve tangible improvements for the people working there.

Source: Wolfgang Biermann, Managing Director of the Nationally-Owned Enterprise “October 7th” Machine Tools Combine, Berlin, “Ein Kombinat ist mehr als die Summe seiner Betriebe” [“A Kombinat is More than the Sum of Its Factories”], Neues Deutschland (July 24, 1972), p. 3.

Translation: Allison Brown

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