1977 – Packard Speeches

Box 4, Folder 9 – General Speeches

2/25/77, Letter to Packard from Alfred G. Cinelli, asking if he would be willing to invite former president Gerald Ford to their annual dinner on December 15, 1977.

3/7/77,  Copy of a letter from Packard to Alfred Cinelli suggesting that Cinelli write President Ford, and send a copy to Packard, who will drop Ford a note urging him to consider the invitation.

3/9/77 Letter to Packard from Alfred Cinelli attaching a copy of the letter to President Ford

3/15/77, Copy of a letter from Packard to Gerald Ford urging him to accept the invitation to the dinner

3/16/77, Copy of a letter from Robert E. Barrett, Executive Assistant to President Ford, saying it is too early to make a commitment for an event in December. He says they will be in touch later.

3/22/77, Letter to Packard from Alfred G. Cinelli referring to Barrett’s response on behalf of President Ford and saying, “I do hope that through your efforts he will be able to accept.”

4/8/77, Letter from President Ford to Packard thanking him for his endorsement of the Football Award Dinner.

11/3/77, Letter to Packard from Alfred G. Cinelli inviting him to attend the Eighteenth Annual Awards Dinner on December 15th, 1977. A copy of the program of the 17th annual dinner is attached

11/8/77, Copy of a letter from Packard to Alfred Cinelli saying he will not be able to attend the dinner.

7/1/77, Letter to Packard from William L. Spencer, President, Citibank, asking if Packard will participate in a fund to endow a building for a football Hall of Fame.

7/7/77, Copy of a letter from Packard to William Spencer saying he will “keep the Football Foundation and Hall of Fame endowment fund on the list for consideration…”

9/12/77, Letter to Packard from Vincent dePaul Draddy of the Football Foundation inviting Packard to the 20th Annual Awards Dinner. A handwritten note thereon says “No, away.”

11/30/77, Telegram to Packard from Jimmy McDowell saying they have not heard if Packard intends to join them at the 20 Annual Awards Dinner.

Box 4, Folder 17 – General, Speeches


February 10-12, 1977, First National Symposium of the Civilian/Military Institute, Colorado Springs, CO


2/10/77, Copy of typewritten text of Packard’s remarks at the opening of this symposium. Packard makes a few comments, followed by Donald R. Seawell, President of the Institute who is introduced by Lt. General James R. Allen. Packard then returns to give his ideas on some of the issues the Institute might discuss.


Packard says he is delighted to see “so many distinguished men and women” in attendance. He hopes for “some constructive dialogue and discussion” and hopes “we can chart the way for the future course of the Civilian/Military Institute.”


Packard explains that the symposium is divided into three agendas: the first being the National Affairs Agenda chaired by John Dunlop, Secretary of Labor under President Ford. The second agenda is the International Affairs Agenda, and the Chairman is General Andrew J. Goodpaster, former head of NATO forces and soon to be Superintendent of West Point. Dr. Walter O. Roberts, Program Director of the Aspen Institute Program in Science, Technology and Humanism, chairs the Science and Technology Agenda.


Packard then turns the podium over to Lt. General James R. Allen who introduces Donald R. Seawell, President of the Institute, and also President of the Denver Post.

Mr. Allen talks about the five year process of planning for the Civilian/Military Institute. He tells of endorsement by President Ford who felt the all the military services should be involved – not just the Air Force. The idea of the founders was to create an institute where the civilian and military sectors could meet and discuss freely or debate freely any issues of mutual importance.


Packard then return to the podium.


Packard says when he was first asked to undertake this job his first inclination was to say no. “That had to do,” he says, “with the fact that in recent years I have become somewhat biased against conferences and meetings and symposiums and so forth, having attended too many of them; and I sometimes get around to the view that the world might be a little better off it I just stayed home and did some work instead of coming to meetings like this. But he later concluded “that this conference could provide a unique opportunity to address some of the important issues of the country and bring a thoughtful group of people together to discuss and debate these matters. ”He says he hopes that “at the end of this meeting [we will] have the opportunity to set the course for this Institute in a way that will be constructive and permanent.”


Packard says he hopes “we can have a serious dialogue on these issues and have a broad participation from all of you here in the audience.


“We’re not here no preach,” he says, “the military establishment of our country interacts in very many ways with the civilian sector, [and] “I would like to suggest a few of these important areas of interaction with the thought that this might provoke a little discussion in addition to the subjects that will be brought up at the more formal sessions.”


“Today, we in the United States are vulnerable to a direct attack upon our homeland, an attack of such devastation that it could easily destroy our country. This situation has existed for probably less than twenty years in the two hundred-year course of the history of this nation. Many people do not like to talk about this awesome danger or even think about this situation, but I think there is no higher priority than assuring the absolute deterrence of nuclear war, and I’m sure this subject will be discussed.


“The second way in which the world is different than it was just a decade or two ago is that we are now living in a much more interdependent world, and the United States cannot escape from its leadership of this world. Our military strength, our economic strength, our diplomatic capability, and indeed our moral posture are all essential elements necessary to exercise and maintain this world leadership. And we cannot avoid this responsibility.”

Packard suggests other areas as “appropriate for discussions at this symposium or at the following meetings that may come along. One of the most important areas of common interest and interaction between the military and civilian sectors is in the field of science and technology. Today, a significant portion of our scientists and engineers…are supported with DOD funds….I think an important subject that we should discuss here, and I’m sure we will, is the benefits that the civilian sector enjoys today which come originally from military research and development. Our great air transport system had this genesis. Many of the very important achievements in medicine that have contributed in great measure to the health of all people in our country – all people in the world – came from military research and development in the field of medicine. In my field, electronics, I think it can be accurately said that we are ahead of the rest of the world largely because of the very heavy support in the area of R&D by the Defense Department during the several decades following World Wear II…..The session on science and technology under Dr. Roberts has, I think, much to talk about.”


“Over years, as you all know, our military services have made a very important contribution in the area of vocational training in this country; business and industry have many employees who learned their trade through a tour of duty in the Army or the Navy or the Air Force or the marines. And this military service continues to be an important opportunity for young people in making the transition into civilian life.


“I think there are many areas appropriate for discussion at this conference, in addition to those that are on the agenda, I’m sure that we will not be able to cover all of these subjects at this meeting, but there is a great deal of material that would justify a continuing effective and useful dialogue on this general subject.”



Box 4, Folder 18 – General Speeches


October 18, 1977, American Consulting Engineers Council, San Francisco, CA


Packard was selected to receive the Fellows Award of Merit, an award made annually since 1952.


10/18/77, Typewritten text of Packard’s speech with several handwritten notations by him.


Packard says being “recognized as an engineer has a very special, nostalgic meaning for me. At some point in my very early youth I decided I wanted to become an engineer. It didn’t matter whether such a career would be financially rewarding. What was important was that reading about bridges, dams, railroads, machines and all the other things that are the province of engineers evoked an emotional response in me – a response that was to determine my professional future.


Packard says he made the decision to become an engineer before he was twelve years old  – “It was a decision I have never regretted, and that is why I am especially pleased to be recognized by my fellow engineers.”


“If we go back in history,” Packard says, “one of the earliest responsibilities of engineers was to contribute to the art of war. Among other things, these military engineers constructed military roads, devised means of crossing rivers, developed methods of building fortifications, and designed engines of war for attacking them. “


And Packard cites other areas where engineering has made great contributions.  “The industrial revolution was a remarkable engineering achievement. Engineers succeeded in harnessing the previously unclaimed resources of water, of wind, and of coal, to multiply by many times the energy needed to improve the material welfare of people throughout much of the world.


He also mentions the areas of mining, agriculture, travel, the telephone, and electricity as “accomplishments of our profession – these are the improvements that engineers have brought to the physical structure of human society. We can be proud of our profession.


“But civilization and human welfare are not solely dependent on the material things that are the primary concern of engineers. There are also aesthetic values, art, beauty, nature, religion, that are equally important ingredients – and engineering is not isolated from these human values.


“In fact, engineers and engineering principles have made great contributions to art and beauty in very specific ways.” And he refers to cathedrals, Greek temples, the pyramids, and others.


“Leonardo Da Vinci was one of the greatest artists of all times. He was also one of the greatest engineers of his time.


Packard says the United States has enjoyed some very special benefits from the engineering profession. “Our first president, George Washington, was an engineer. The winning of the West was the result of many talents, many professions, but engineers played an essential role –  railroads, canals, irrigation projects were among the areas where engineers contributed to the progress of America in the 18th and 19th centuries.”


“The Western World,” he says, “ is living on the achievements of the engineering profession. Engineers have worked very hard at, and contributed much to, housing, health, education and the enjoyment of art, literature and music – all of which is available to more people than ever before in history.


“Even so, we are troubled about the way things are going for the civilized world of the last few decades of the twentieth century.


“We see the great material benefits that our profession has helped bring to the world subjected to question – challenged as to whether they have been good or bad.”


Packard says he has no problem with this question. “I know that our profession has made the world a better place to live for the vast majority of the people. I cannot be quite so positive about some of the other great professions, the law and politics for example.


“I believe one of the most troublesome aspects of society today is that too many people who are not engineers are becoming involved in matters where engineering expertise is the most important ingredient.


“Air pollution from automobiles is a good example. It is a worthy goal to reduce the level of critical ingredients of air pollution – carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons, nitrous oxide – to minimal levels. The trade-off factors – cost, use of fuel – are longer term considerations which would be considered in an engineering solution to the problem.


“Instead, we had to accept a political solution to the problem in 1975. This resulted in an unnecessary decrease in fuel efficiency which caused an increase in the domestic demand for oil. The solution also meant introducing design features to meet short term political demands at the expense of good engineering designs to meet legitimate goals for air pollution, fuel efficiency and economy.


“In short, the American public was offered automobiles designed by the politicians, not by engineers – and this unfortunate situation that began in 1975 and has not yet run its course, has cost the American public billions of dollars.


“Worse yet, the Administration has proposed an energy bill now before the Congress which, in my view, assures our dependence on foreign oil in the foreseeable future, creates little incentive to develop energy independence, and, if passed as proposed by the Carter Administration, will be a long and probably irreversible step down the road toward socialism for our country. More and more decisions are being made in Washington.


“The engineering profession has thrived and made contributions to the welfare of society without much supervision – up until about the last ten years.”


“Engineering is most productive in an environment of expanding technology, economic incentive and freedom to innovate. A free democratic society has provided such an environment in the most effective way in the past. I believe a free democratic society will be the most effective environment for our profession in the future.


“I am troubled, therefore, by the increasing number of constraints – political, legal, and social – which have been restricting the freedom of engineers to do their job at the high professional level in the past tradition of engineering.


“Someone several years ago pointed out that when society finds itself faced with a troublesome issue, there are three possible responses to resolve the problem, and one or more of these will come into play when the situation becomes serious enough.


“One response is that the government will be pressed into action by the disturbed citizenry.


“A second is that pressure groups will arise among the citizenry to try to correct the problem.


“A third is that the self discipline of the people most closely involved with the problem will identify the situation early and take corrective action before the other two mechanisms get out of hand.


We are finding today that in many areas with the province of the engineering profession the first two mechanisms – government interference and public pressure groups – are almost out of hand already. As we have seen, government regulations seldom solve problems in a reasonable way. Similarly, pressure groups from various sectors of our public are not an effective way to deal with these problems. Neither for those who feel themselves aggrieved nor for the welfare of our society.


“I believe our profession could and should take a more aggressive role in these important issues of public concern relating to engineering problems, energy, pollution, safety. I know much is already being done by our professional societies and by individuals, but I believe it is time to do more.”


And he suggests helping to educate the public, helping members of Congress by providing advice and counsel.


Packard says he realizes that many engineers do not like to become involved in public affairs and in political processes, “but I sincerely believe more of us should do so. We should consider more carefully the public concerns about the work we do, and we should not hesitate to speak up when we see our government taking the wrong course in relation to engineering problems. We should consider more carefully the public concerns about the work we do, and we should not hesitate to speak up when we see our government taking the wrong course in relation to engineering problems.


“It is not too late,” Packard says, “to slow and even reverse these dangerous trends that are limiting the effectiveness of our profession, but it will require a commitment on our part to do so.


“Technology is continuing to expand,” he says. “There are immensely important problems to be solved in energy, transportation, communication, housing and health, just to name a few. These are just the kinds of problems engineers have solved in the past, and if they are to be solved in the future, they will be solved by engineers, not by politicians.


“It is important therefore to work harder to preserve the environment of freedom our profession has particularly enjoyed during the recent decades of this twentieth century when engineering accomplishment has been so spectacular.


“I encourage each of you to give this important problem serious attention in areas where you are involved. It is important that we do so, for our profession and for our country.”


10/18/77, Typewritten text of speech which does not incorporate handwritten notes made on the copy above

9/12/77, Letter to Packard from Eugene B. Waggoner, American Consulting Engineers Council, notifying him that he has been selected to receive the Fellows Award of Merit. Information about the council and a copy of the speech given by the 1976 award recipient, W. H. Pickering, are attached.

9/15/77, Copy of a letter from Packard to Eugene B. Waggoner saying he “is honored and pleased” to be selected, and will plan to join them at the Bohemian Club, on October 18th.

10/18/77, Newspaper clipping, from unidentified paper, covering the award



Box 4, Folder 19 – General Speeches


November 12, 1977, Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients, San Jose, CA


11/12/77,  Copy of the text of the welcoming statement by Packard [The author is not identified as Packard, but this appears to be the only logical choice, and this statement appears on page one of  the banquet program.] Another  speech is included in the folder, again without identification, but Packard is the obvious speaker. The Congressional Medal of Honor Society selected San Jose as the location for their biennial convention to honor Medal of Honor recipients, and Packard was asked to chair the Host Committee.


In his welcoming remarks at the dinner, Packard says that when he served with the Department of Defense he became acquainted with some of the Medal of Honor recipients. “I was deeply proud,” he says, “…to be associated with such a distinguished group of Americans, and I cherish their friendship.


“You who hold the nations’s highest honor are carrying on a great tradition. We are pleased to host your convention, and hope that your gallantry and your deeds will continue to serve as an inspiration to all Americans.


[The following is Packard’s main speech of the evening.]


Packard says “it has been a great privilege for the Bay Area Communities to host the Biennial Convention of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.” And he adds that “…it has been a special privilege and pleasure for me to be the Honorary Chairman of the Host Committee.”


Noting that one of the Society’s stated purposes is to ‘inspire and stimulate our youth to become worthy citizens of our country,’ Packard says, “I would like to take the next few moments to reflect on that purpose, particularly as it relates to your own significant accomplishments.”


“Certainly the strength of character, the deep devotion to honor and duty, which qualified each of you to wear the Congressional Medal of Honor have also rendered you among the most worthy citizens of our country.

And they have set some high and noble standards for the young people of America. This is why I am particularly pleased that you have chosen the Bay Area for your convention. Your presence here this week will, indeed, inspire the youth of our community to become worthy citizens of our country.”


I think a good case can be made that the personal strengths of character that each of you has exhibited at the highest level are also the very some personal qualities that have been exhibited, time and time again, by thousands of Americans in their quest to make our young Republic the greatest country in the history of the world.


“The men and women who created and nurtured the original colonies, and who served their country in the Revolutionary War, had a large measure individual initiative, individual ingenuity, self reliance and courage – the same kind of personal qualities each of you has demonstrated so well in your ultimate challenge. These same qualities were exhibited, as well, in other times of peril -–in the War of 1812, in the Civil War on both sides of the line, and of course in the wars of our time.”


Packard says that such “unusual qualities of mind and spirit” were amply demonstrated as well “by the men and women who won the West, who built our great industries of agriculture, mining, transportation and manufacturing, who nurtured our democratic institutions.”


“I think these unusual personal qualities which each of you has exhibited in the highest degree have likewise been the essential elements of excellence, responsible for the greatness of America, demonstrated to a greater or lesser degree at all levels of our society since the early days of the Republic.


“I am troubled, therefore, by a very disturbing trend that has appeared and has been gaining strength during the past few decades. This trend has been away from individual initiative, individual ingenuity, self reliance and courage, and toward an attitude of dependence on the Government – an attitude that ‘the world owes me a living whether I have earned it or not.’


“This shift from a strong commitment to self reliance to one of dependence is already significant, it is increasing, and I believe it is a real and serious threat to the future of America. We see this shifting attitude reflected in both local and national politics. We see it growing in our schools and colleges. It has subverted the legitimate goals of our equal opportunity programs, and even business and industry – supposedly the paragons of self reliance – are running to Uncle Sam to solve the problems they should be solving for themselves.


“The challenge to all of us is to re-commit ourselves to those personal qualities, those strengths of character, that have made America great. This is why the presence of you distinguished men and your families in our community has been so gratifying and heartwarming. It has served as an important and timely reminder that the qualities you have so amply demonstrated in the past – individual initiative, individual ingenuity, self reliance and courage – are, in fact, the fundamental strengths of America and our hope for the future.

I am sure the presence of this convention of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society has served in no small way ‘to inspire not only the youth but all people of our community to become more worthy citizens of our country.’


“We thank you for coming here.”


11/12/77, Copy of printed program for the Biennial Banquet

11/12/77, Copy of letter sized statement explaining the Medal of Honor

11/12/77, 5” x 7” printed statement of what the Medal of Honor is

11/12/77, Printed invitation to the Banquet as being extended by David Packard

11/12/77, Copy of a letter from Packard written to each Medal of Honor Recipient inviting them to attend the Convocation.

11/12/77, Copy of a letter from Packard to individual HP employees inviting them to the Banquet

11/12/77, Copy of membership Roster of Congressional Medal of Honor Society

11/12/77, Copy of list of what appears to be a list of business people attendees


11/2/76, Copy of a letter to Ronald R, James, CEO San Jose Chamber of Commerce, from Carlos C. Ogden, President , Congressional Medal of Honor Society, accepting San Jose’s offer to host the 1977 Convention

1/20/77, Letter to Packard from Ronald James saying they would like Packard to chair the Host Committee

3/14/77, Letter to Packard from Carlos Ogden, saying they are pleased that Packard will be the Committee Host

3/15/77, Copy of a letter from Carlos C. Ogden, President  of the Society, to Governor Ronald Reagan, inviting him and his wife to the Banquet

3/23/77, Copy of a letter to Carlos Ogden from Helene von Damm, Reagan’s Administrative Assistant, saying it is too early to commit to attendance by the Governor

4/1/77, Copy of a letter from Packard to Carlos Ogden saying he would be pleased to serve as chair of the Bay Area Host Committee

4/23/77, Letter to Packard from Carlos Ogden saying they appreciate Packard’s willingness to serve as Host

6/23/77,  Letter to Packard from Carlos Ogden covering details of convention plans

7/7/77, Letter to Packard from Ronald James suggesting a luncheon meeting to discuss plans

8/19/77, Copy of a letter from Packard to Halsey C. Burke, asking him to join with Packard in on the Host Committee

8/23/77, Copy of a letter from Packard to Lt. Col. Charles A. Harris asking him to assist the Chairman of the Community Relations Committee

8/24/77, Letter to Packard from Halsey Burke saying he would be pleased to chair the Banquet Committee

8/24/77, Copy of a letter from Packard to Ray J. Rosendin asking him to assist the Chairman of the Community Relations Committee

9/21/77, Letter to Packard from John J. Brennan offering to provide photographic services for the convention

9/22/77, Copy of a letter from Packard to Ronald R. James transmitting the above letter and asking him to reply

9/26/77, Letter to Packard from Kenneth R. Johnson, President Farms Co., Inc, asking who he may contact regarding landscaping services at the HP plant on Trimble Ave., and saying that he will help with the convention

10/3/77, Copy of a letter from Packard to Kenneth R. Johnson, saying he is glad Mr. Johnson will help with the convention and expressing the hope he will buy a table for $500. Packard also says he will ask HP people to contact him about landscaping

10/5/77, Copy of a letter  from Halsey Burke to Gordon Levy, San Jose Chamber of Commerce, expressing concerns about the convention budget

10/5/77, Copy of a letter to Packard from Halsey Burke attaching the above letter and discussing his budget concerns

10/6/77, Copy of a letter from Carlos Ogden to Host Directors giving the dates of two meetings he says Packard has set to discuss convention plans

9/15/77, Letter to Packard from Robert C. Wilson saying he was sorry he missed a meeting but will be happy to help

10/6/77, Copy of a letter from Packard to Robert C. Wilson saying attending the meeting was not important, but it would be good if he could buy one or two tables

9/8/77, Copy of a letter to President Gerald R. Ford from Packard asking if he could attend the Banquet and speak to the guests

10/10/77, Copy of a letter from Packard to General George S. Brown, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, saying he is delighted to hear the General will be able to attend the convention banquet

Copy of a check from Packard and payable to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society in the amount of $500.00

10/18/77, Copy of a letter from Packard to Gen. George C. Brown inviting him to stay at their home during his visit here and possibly go to Merced for some duck hunting

10/25/77, Letter to Packard from Gen. Brown thanking Packard for the invitation but saying he must get back to Washington

11/14/77, Letter to Packard from Halsey Burke saying he enjoyed working with Packard on the convention. He also says that he heard many appreciative comments form the veterans – many saying this had been the best convention they had attended.

11/14/77, Letter to Packard from J. H. Doolettle, thanking all for their many kindnesses and courtesies

11/15/77, Handwritten letter to Packard from Janet Gray Hayes, Mayor of San Jose, thanking him for the dinner reservations and saying they very much enjoyed the dinner. She asks for a copy of Jimmy Stewart’s speech if this could be possible.

11/15/77,  Letter to Packard from Major James A. Taylor, thanking him for the outstanding convention

11/19/77, Letter to Packard from Carlos C. Ogden thanking him for his work on the convention and especially his dinner remarks

11/23/77, Letter to Packard from William R. Lawley, Jr. expressing appreciation for the outstanding convention

11/25/77, Letter to Packard from Charles W. Davis, from the Medal of Honor Society, expressing appreciation for Packard’s work. He says they feel honored that Packard accepted the chairmanship.

11/29/77, Handwritten letter to Packard from Edward and Mardelle Ingman, thanking Packard for his hard work as chairman of the convention, and saying it was so well planned and they appreciated it.

11/28/77, Handwritten note to Packard from Robert E. Gerstung thanking him for the convention where they were ‘treated royally’

11/28/77, Handwritten note to Packard from Bob and Francis Nett, saying they have ‘so many happy memories’ of the convention

11/28/77, Handwritten note to Packard from Mr. and Mrs. J. Drowley expressing appreciation for the convention

11/30/77, Letter to Packard from Michael J. Daly expressing appreciation for his ‘crucial help’ and ‘tremendous effort’ in planning such an affair

11/29/77, Note to Packard from Robert E. Bush saying they appreciated all hard work which made the convention a ‘tremendous success

12/1/77, Letter to Packard from John D. Hawk, expressing appreciation for the work of the many people who arranged the convention

12/1/77, Handwritten note to Packard from Bill and Dorothy Johnston saying they very much appreciated the arrangements for the convention

12/7/77, Letter to Packard from Gino J. Merli describing the convention as ‘perfection’

12/9/77, Handwritten note to Packard from Pappy Boyington who says he and his wife ‘join the multitude of loyal Americans who salute you for all your time, effort and expense’ expended for the convention. He makes particular note of Packard’s speech which was ‘so sincere – and so true’

12/11/77, Letter Packard from Mitchell Paige, expressing appreciation for the convention

12/19/77, Report to all Directors from Halsey Burke, Finance Chairman, giving a final report on the convention finances. They collected $67,530, spent $58,746, and sent the Society $8,783

1/3/78, Handwritten note to Packard from Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Crawford, thanking the committees for the hours spent in making the convention ‘such a grand success’

Undated, Handwritten note to Packard from Don Ross thanking him for his help and guidance in making this convention ‘the best meeting we’ve ever had’

Undated, Handwritten note to Packard from Herbert and Verna Burr thanking him for making possible the convention were they had ‘a delightful time’

Undated, Handwritten note to Packard from Maj. Gen. And Mrs. George L. Mabry Jr. thanking him for the convention

Undated, Newspaper clipping describing the convention and the Veterans Day Parade



Box 4, Folder 20 – General Speeches


November 17, 1977, Inventory Management and Control, Purchasing Management Association, South Bay Chapter, Palo Alto, CA



11/17/77, Typewritten text of Packard’s speech on Inventory Management and Control


Packard describes the subject matter as “complex,” adding that he plans to confine his remarks to “the management of inventories in a manufacturing industry.


“To begin with,” he says, “I think it would be useful to remind ourselves that there are three basic inventory categories in almost every manufacturing industry – the raw material or component side, the work-in-progress area, and the finished goods – and each of these has different problems. It is immediately apparent, therefore, that inventory concerns the purchasing manager, the manufacturing manager, and the marketing manager, and as a result you have a great many different inputs into inventory management/control. Thus, it is most important to keep in mind that the inventory management/control problem really must be considered as one part of overall asset management. Sometimes the people who have responsibility for a specific area, such as purchasing or manufacturing, may not appreciate that inventory management involves many other people in the organization.”


While we must keep the various details of the inventory problem in mind, Packard says that “…it is very important that we keep the broader perspective in mind. Inventory, along with accounts receivable and cash or cash equivalents, makes up the current assets of a company. These are offset by accounts payable and by short-term notes. Together these items determine the working capital of the organization. Since no company, at least none that I have encountered yet, has unlimited resources, one of the overall aspects of inventory management is to minimize the working capital that is needed to support each dollar of sales. We must strive to do this, while at the same time taking actions which will maximize the profits for each dollar of sales.


“In the final analysis,” he says, “…in a growth industry such as electronics, we have to generate a rate of return on assets which is roughly equal to our sales growth rate. If we don’t do this, things will get out of balance and we will find ourselves in a very difficult situation. The management of return on assets is an essential element in maintaining the viability of your company in the long term. Control of inventories is one of the variables, one of the ways you can have an impact on the control of assets – not only controlling the level, but also controlling the rate of return. A higher inventory is going to increase your costs and therefore tend to reduce your rate of return. Higher inventories, of course, require more capital, as well.”


Packard describes a case example to illustrate the importance of managing inventories and what can be done when problems arise. “It is a situation we experienced at our company over the past ten years, and I think the best way to approach this is to look at our level and growth rate of sales year-to-year, the corresponding growth of inventory in those years, and, most importantly, the percentage relationship between inventory and sales.


“For many years,” he says, “ [HP] had been maintaining a total inventory in the range of 20 percent of our sales dollar. – or a turnover of roughly five times a year if you want to put it in those terms. That was the situation in 1967 when we had sales of $245 million, and an inventory of $52 million which represented 21 percent of sales. In 1968 sales grew 11 percent and inventory 12 percent, so we were retaining a reasonable balance, and our ratio of inventory to sales stayed at about 21 percent.”


Packard says things began to slip in 1969 when sales grew 19 percent and inventories by 33 percent. He then gives the numbers for the next three years:

In 1970 sales up 7 %, inventories up 11 %

In 1971 sales up 3 %, inventories up 6 %, with the ratio of inventories to sales rising to 24 %.

In 1972 sales rose 28%, inventories rose 30 %, with the inventory/sales ratio edging up to 25 %.


“In 1973,” he says, “we had a substantial increase of 38% in sales, but inventories more than kept pace by increasing 59 percent. By that time inventories had grown to the point where they represented 29 percent of our annual sales volume, and we were faced with a very serious problem of financing this very large inventory build-up. The situation was compounded by the fact that we were experiencing a growth in accounts receivable, which is the other aspect of current assets.


“Now, we were aware that these inventories were growing, and we had been reviewing the situation with our division manages year after year. I can assure you that we heard just about every excuse in the book for the situation. One we heard repeatedly was ‘Our business is changing, and we can’t do this job right if our inventories don’t go up.’


Packard says, “We finally reached the point, late in 1973, where it looked as though we were going to have to go out in the market for some long-term debt – something we had never done before. Since this was such a major departure from our ‘pay-as-you-go’ policy at HP, I and some of the rest of our people got to thinking about the situation and we concluded that we had just botched up the job ourselves. We had failed to control assets, including inventory, in the way they should have been controlled. Because of the seriousness of the matter, I paid a visit to nearly every one of our divisions, worldwide, and gave them a lecture on the importance of controlling inventories and accounts receivable. I emphasized that they had to think about some things in addition to what was going on in their own department and divisions. I’ll tell you, the response was impressive.


“We got the whole team working on the problem We improved our planning. We regained better control of the detail of our inventories. We established, I think, a closed cooperation with our suppliers – a very important responsibility. We found that we could live with a smaller margin of safety. To give you just one specific, in the area of work-in-progress we had felt that we could save some money by putting sub-assemblies together in larger quantities and perhaps have a little more responsiveness in the final assembly stage. We discovered, however, that while we may have improved our costs to some extent, in some areas this practice had a serious impact on our total inventories.


“At this point, I think it is worth mentioning that it is important to minimize the changes. There is nothing worse than starting in one direction and then altering your course. Again it gets back to planning and total commitment. No one single action will be effective in doing the job the way it ought to be done. No one person will be responsible.


“Concluding his story of HP’s experience, Packard says that “Because of an outstanding effort by a very large number of people throughout the organization in 1974, our inventories increased by only 3 percent in comparison with a 34 percent increase in sales. This brought our inventory/sales ratio down to 22 percent. A year later we were back to our traditional ratio of 21 percent, as sales increased 11 percent while inventories were held to a 5 percent increase. This kind of performance, I am glad to report, has continued through 1976 and 1977.”


As he looks back at the situation he has described above, Packard says that “If the ratio that existed between inventory and sales in 1973 still persisted today, [in 1977],it would have required $90 million more in inventory than we have at this particular time. That gives you some idea of the magnitude of the impact that this kind of overall control can have.”


Packard says the message he would like to get over is that controlling inventories is a very important matter. “If we had been smart enough, or wise enough, or energetic enough to have recognized this and done something about it back in the early 1970s, we would have saved our suppliers and our company some difficulty. The responsibility of inventory control goes beyond individual problems. It is not the isolated job of one person, or one department. It extends into almost every aspect of your organization, and involves almost everyone – purchasing, manufacturing, and marketing. The marketing people, for example, have to realize that they can’t always have the inventory of finished goods they’d like for immediate delivery, and they have to recognize that good planning is essential.”


Packard discusses some external factors which add to the complexity of inventory control. “One of these factors,” he says, “is that when we are operating in an environment of very high utilization of capacity by suppliers, it makes the flow of components and materials more difficult to control. Hence, it encourages such things as double-ordering and larger inventories that might be avoidable otherwise.


“Inflation also is a problem as you know. Most of the thinking in our company about inventories was developed and then carried forward from the period of the fifties and sixties when inflation was not a significant problem. When we got into double-digit inflation a couple of years ago, we didn’t recognize it but there is one aspect here that is very important. It brought about re-thinking of the ‘last-in-first-out’ handling of inventory costs.” And he tells of going to Brazil, and talking to a business manager there. He asked the man how he dealt with inflation running around 100 percent a year. Packard reports the man as saying, ‘It’s very simple. If you are in the merchandising business,  you buy your Christmas inventories in January the year ahead of Christmas. If you do that you’re in pretty good shape.’ “So,” Packard concludes, “sometimes these external influences will encourage you to do things that you wouldn’t possible think about doing otherwise.


“That brings me,” he says, “to the final point I want to make. Inventory control is a complex and important job but it simply cannot be done by formula or by computer procedure. Computer procedures will help you, and in fact there are many aids available to you in planning and measuring your appropriate levels and in determining where you are. But, if the job of managing inventories is going to be done the way it should be done, it’s going to require imagination and hard work and dedication on all levels. The final objective, for anyone who has anything to do with inventories, has to be to take every step possible to keep the profits up and the inventories down. It’s just as simple as that.”


11/17/77, Several 3×5” cards with Packard’s notes handwritten thereon with ideas he was putting together for the above speech

11/17/77, two handwritten pages of statistics Packard wrote down listing sales and inventory changes over the years 1967 to 1976

11/17/77, Printed announcement describing the evening’s activities and speakers as sent out by the South Bay Group of the Purchasing Management Association of Northern California

11/17/77, Printed program for the evening

7/5/77, Internal HP memorandum to Packard from John Nicolic, Purchasing Department, inviting Bill and Dave to their dinner meeting when various speakers will discuss inventory control considerations

7/18/77, Copy of internal HP memorandum to Packard from John Nicolic , saying the Purchasing Association is delighted that Packard will join them and the other speakers at their dinner meeting

9/28/77, Memorandum to Packard from John Nicolic giving details about the dinner meeting. Two notes from other HP employees are attached asking for copies of Packard’s speech..

11/7/77, Memorandum to Packard from John Nicolic saying, among other details about the dinner, that registration exceeds 600 people

11/21/77, Letter to Packard from Donald Teitzke, a consultant, attaching a copy of a speech given by himself titled, Inventory Management and the Accountant

11/25/77, Copy of a letter to Packard from Ray Eaton, Purchasing Manager, Bard-Parker, thanking him for speaking at the dinner, and. attaching several quotations about management

11/22/77, Memorandum from John Nicolic to Packard thanking him for speaking at their seminar and suggesting the possibility of another on the state income tax of California

12/20/77, Copy of a letter from Packard to John Nicolic saying a seminar on the inventory tax might better be held when and if it comes up for consideration.

Undated, Three pages of typewritten jokes – probably source material for Packard

Undated, Typewritten listing of attendees to the dinner seminar