History of the
„Europäische Hochschullehrergruppe Technische Betriebsführung“ (EHTB)
later renamed as
„European Academy for Industrial Management“ (AIM)
In 1982, the German Faculty Day „Maschinenbau und Verfahrenstechnik“ (Mechanical and Process Engineering) being the organ of the corresponding technical faculties of German universities agreed upon that the education of students in subjects like industrial and company organisation, plant management or factory planning should be improved.
In Germany, related subject areas had been founded first at the technical universities of Berlin-Charlottenburg and Aachen at the end of the 19th century. They were named “Production Management” and “Science of Management”.
It happened that the said Faculty Day had had a regular guest from the Netherlands for years: Prof. Balkestein who participated as a representative of this subject area. So, during the 1982 conference, the Faculty Day asked Prof. Balkestein to bring together the relevant representatives of both mechanical engineering and process engineering faculties in an extra conference, since there was the idea to establish a permanent association of industrial management researchers in the near future.
By chance, the present Vice President of the AIM, Prof. Dombrowski from the „Institute for Advanced Industrial Management“ of the Technische Universität Braunschweig is in particular relationship with two of the co-founders of the EHTB: Prof. Berr, his predecessor in the institute, and Prof. Wiendahl from the „Institut für Fabrikanlagen“ of the Universität Hannover who was his doctoral advisor.
In September 1983, Prof. Balkestein then invited the representatives of the above faculties to meet in Eindhoven. At this meeting no agenda existed because the meeting was aimed to get to know each other in order to sound the interest in a permanent association and to collect possible topics for a founding assembly in the following year. From the beginning, the intended association should be open also for participants from other faculties and other countries. Prof. Balkestein was asked to arrange for this correspondingly. There was no protocol nor a list of participants sent around then.
The kick-off meeting of the new association in 1984 turned out to be a “real” symposium. The assembly immediately came up to full speed: The name of the association was defined as „Europäische Hochschullehrergruppe Technische Betriebsführung“ (EHTB) (European Academy for Technical Plant Management), and the opening to other faculties was decided. The opening to members from other countries had already been initiated by Prof. Balkestein in the previous, still “pseudo” symposium. Furthermore, Prof. Balkestein was asked to become the chairman of the academy. Since the initiative for the association came from Germany, the German language was determined as official language, but English was also accepted where talking in German was causing problems.
Furthermore, a first rough curriculum was worked out during the meeting comprising the main subjects costing, plant engineering, production planning and control, materials management and logistics, operational data processing, quality assurance, man and work, each subject having corresponding sub-categories which were subdivided into compulsory and elective courses.
The participants of the kick-off meeting came from different European universities: seven German, three Dutch and two Belgian universities as well as one Swiss and one Danish university. Since all of them were more or less fluent in German there were no communication difficulties.
In October 1984, the next symposium took place in Hannover at the “Institut für Fabrikanlagen” of Prof. Wiendahl, the topics being the same as in the previous meeting but now treated more deeply. Meanwhile, the number of participants from Germany had grown up to 15 representatives, added by five new members from Sweden and one from Austria. Since the Swedish representatives had difficulties with German they spoke English.
Another symposium followed in Dortmund in March 1985, still dealing with the curriculum. In October 1985, during the meeting in Aachen, a conceptual framework was presented for different study and research schemes for technical plant management. Already in March 1986, a “European Congress on Technical Plant Management” was held in Stuttgart.
By now, the time had come to give a legal basis to the association. Thus, in February 1987, the „West-Europäische Hochschullehrergruppe Technische Betriebsführung“ (West-European Academy for Technical Plant Management) was founded as an association under Dutch law with authorized translation into German. The founders were Prof. Balkestein and Ing. Langemeijer who was acting as secretary of the academy from the beginning. The abbreviation WEHTB was the same in German and Dutch, whereas the official letter head only carried the full German name.
When Prof. Balkestein retired in1987, again a Dutch university professor became chairman of the academy by request of all members: Prof. Bakker from the Technical University of Twente in Enschede. Prof. Balkestein became honorary member and was now participating as individual person.
The subsequent symposium took place in Leuven/Belgium in March 1987. Then, in March 1989, a second „International Congress on Technical Plant Management: Euromanagement” was held in Aachen, with presentations by both university and industry representatives. Furthermore, first contact was made with the Commission of the European Communities with regard to possible research funding.
The further development of the academy can be described more briefly. The circle of participants was extending continuously. For example, in 1989, an English representative, Prof. Nicholson, speaking German fluently, joined the group, and in 1991, a Spanish member, Prof. Cano, was gained. He spoke no German, so from now on, English was used for official communication although the letterhead of the academy still remained in German owing to the academy’s origin.
In April 1991, the academy consisted of 16 members from Germany, six from the Netherlands, six from France, three from Sweden, two each from Switzerland, Belgium and Austria and one each from Denmark, England, Spain and Finland.
The chair devolved from Prof. Bakker to Prof. Muller-(Malek), Belgium, and later to Prof. Zülch, Germany. Since the number of members had grown considerably in the meantime, the chairman was now called “President” and a Board of “Vice-President”, “Treasurer” and “Secretary” was set up – for reasons of continuity from previous presidents.
The circle of participants still expanded – in the meantime, also the Eastern Bloc had broken down – and further members were gained from Iceland, Greece, Norway, Italy and Poland. New research findings and trend-setting topics were discussed and simulated in special working groups, the results being introduced on different symposia.
Between 1989 and 2000, several symposia of this kind took place in Stockholm, Hamburg-Harburg, Hannover, Kopenhagen, London, Karlsruhe, Reykjavik and Bochum. Meanwhile, also “West” was omitted from the academy’s title: „Europäische Hochschullehrergruppe Technische Betriebsführung“ whereas the official letter head was still kept unchanged in German.
In 2000, in the course of changing names of international associations, the German name of the academy was finally left and changed into the English name “European Academy on Industrial Management (AIM)”.
During the Annual meeting in Reykjavik 1999 Prof. Huber was elected as the fifth President of AIM. At the beginning of 2000 the Board decided to create a new image of the Academy. The Annual meetings would in the future be organized in a different way than in the past. The most important change was that a scientific seminar had to be arranged during the meeting. Access to this seminar would only be given to the members of AIM and to employees at the members’ home university. The topic of the first seminar was “Future developments in Industrial Management”. This seminar has from then on been a regular element of AIM’s annual events. Since more than 15 years now had elapsed since AIM was founded a number of the founding members had retired but were still emeritus members of AIM. Prof. Thorsteinsson, who belonged to this group, proposed the establishment of a Senior Fellow Group as part of AIM. His idea was to start a common project within this group. The project he presented was to develop one or more scenarios for production in the future and to identify people, organizations and institutes that are interested in this topic. He defined the future as up to 2035, a horizon far away 2000. A Delfi study would be carried out and an editorial board with members from the Senior Fellow Group had to be established. This was an interesting proposal but it showed that the interest was very low among the Senior Fellows and the project never got off the ground.
Since many of the founding members have retired or are close to retirement the issue of recruiting new members is essential. A lot of fellow candidates have been proposed especially from East Europe. During the Annual meeting in Madrid 2001 this situation was heavily discussed. Would AIM grow rapidly or slowly, is there a optimal size of AIM, what would AIM’s future profile be and questions like these. A recommendation to the Board was that approximately 3 new fellows per annum would be a balanced growth.
After three years as President Prof. Huber announced that he would step down since he would retire from his Chair at ETH. As his successor Prof. Lundquist was elected President of AIM during the Annual meeting in Milano 2002. The new Board discussed the future activities of AIM and found that the Annual meeting and Conference should be a place where topics of a broad common interest -for all fellows would be presented and discussed in an open and stimulating forum. Furthermore it was proposed the annual activity for the fellows was primarily a place for the fellows to meet for discussions rather than for presentations of the host’s activities.
A new Website was established at Bochum University 2003. This website would be AIM’s official face towards society but also a link between the Academy and its fellows.
The Annual meeting 2003 settled clear and transparent rules for being an active fellow of AIM and under what circumstances the fellowship might be discontinued. Hence, it was stated that fellows who did not attend the Annual meeting and Conference three times in a row will receive a letter from the President asking about their active fellowship. Not being present during the next two years after having received the letter will lead to an end of the fellowship. During the Annual meeting in Warsaw 2004 this rule was accentuated further. It was stated that fellows who did not attend the Annual meeting and Conference three times in a row will receive a letter from the President that their fellowship has come to an end. If the fellow reacts on the letter and can give heavy reasons for the absence the Board might grant an exemption.
All fellow candidates are invited to the Annual meeting in order to present themselves in front of the ordinary fellows. The decision to accept the candidates to become ordinary fellows of AIM is made by Board in the meeting that follows immediately after the actual Annual meeting. During the Board meeting 2004 it was decided that each candidate should give not only an individual presentation but also a short speech over a given theme. From now on it was decided that the same theme would be given to all candidates and the theme was “The Future of Industrial Engineers”. It was also agreed the when the accepted fellows joined their first Annual meeting and Conference as ordinary fellows each of them would be assigned an experienced fellow as mentor.
During the mid-2000 it was proposed to change the bylaws as regard the procedure for renewing the Board members and the chair as President. It turned out, however, that it would be too expensive to do so. Instead it was agreed that the Board members will see it as a gentleman’s agreement the fellows will be informed one year before the Annual meeting if a Board member steps down during the time in office and a new member has to be elected.
The Board has the right to award honorary membership to fellows who have been of great value for the Academy. In the past honorary membership has been awarded to Prof. Balkestein and Prof. Gerlach. In connection to the Annual meeting in Bari 2007 the Board decides to award an honorary membership to Prof. Huber. He is given this award for his dedicated work to open AIM towards the enlarging Europe.
During the same meeting it was discussed how the Board would be composed in the future. A leading principle would be that as long as it is possible elect Board members who are representing north and south, east and west membership countries. Since the Academy was founded by fellows from Germany and the Netherlands it would be a respect to the past if one Board member would represent these countries. The Board members who were elected 2007 and 2008 came from Sweden (Prof. Lundquist), Italy (Prof. Mummolo), The Netherlands (Prof. de Ron) and Germany (Prof. Meier).
In the Annual meeting 2009 it was discussed if the time in office for the Board members that according to the bylaws amounts to 6 years is too long. It was decided that for continuity two Board members step down each three years according to a preset schedule. But any Board member is free to decide to can step down also during the elected period. Again it was decided not to change the bylaws since it would be too expensive. As regards the bylaws they have now also been translated into English and disseminated to all fellows.
During the Annual Meeting and Conference in Skopje 2011 Prof. Lundquist stepped down as President of AIM after 10 years in office. He was succeeded by Prof. Mummolo. A new Board also took over with Prof. Dombrowski, Prof. van Landeghem and Prof. Santarek. The former Board had also decided to award Prof. de Ron an honorary membership for his outstanding contribution to the Academy over decades as secretary and treasurer.