The Cebu Forum that was held at Cebu Parklane Hotel last December 29, 2009 was participated in by 30 APO Grantees/P&Q practitioners, both from the public and private sectors from Western, Central and Eastern Visayas. In line with the theme – Competitiveness Enhancement through Quality Management – three (3) Grantees shared their experiences and lessons learned on the application of the knowledge and skills acquired from the APO programs that they attended.
The first presenter, Ms. Aileen A. Ricohermoso, Associate Project Officer, Development Academy of the Philippines, also the DAP ISO project coordinator, shared DAP’s success story in ISO Quality Management System (QMS) Implementation.
Ms. Ricohermoso began her presentation by citing some problems encountered by government agencies such as: inconsistent policies; overlapping of functions; and unclear procedures. These problems, she said, may be the result of the lack of organizational standards, systems and procedure, and that these may be effectively addressed using Quality Management Systems. It is in line with this that the National Government issued Executive Order 605, which stipulates the adaptation of ISO 9001 by the Executive Branch, Government Financing Institutions, Government-owned and Controlled Corporations, Local Government Units, and even Constitutional Offices.
This EO means institutionalization of the QMS to all government institutions, with the objective of enhancing public sector performance; obtaining and maintaining transparency; documentation of services, and recognition of citizen driven agencies that attain certification of QMS.
Ms. Richohermoso explained that in 2006, the government developed the Government Quality Management System (GQMS) Standards that is the translation of the International Standards in the government language. GQMS is the framework of QMS in the Philippines and a Council called Government Quality Management Council was created to be in charge of the implementation and regulation of the QMS in the country. The government also issued certification to those agencies that are successful in adopting the QMS.
The highlight of Ms. Ricohermoso’s talk is her discussion of DAP being ISO QMS 9001 certified. She said that DAP, mandated to be a change catalyst and capacity builder, and an advocate of the QMS, became part of the GQMS program that assisted and guided institutions who wanted to adopt QMS. Also, in response to the EO 605, DAP launched a project entitled: “Institutionalization of QMS in DAP”. As Project Manager for the said project, Ms. Ricohermoso shared the challenges, hardships and successes of the QMS implementation in the Academy. She said being able to successfully accomplish the project, leading to DAP becoming ISO QMS 9001- certified, gave her team, and the rest of the Academy, the sense of pride and ownership. More importantly, it provided the quality service that DAP has committed to provide to its clients/customers.
The forum’s second presenter, Engr. Edgardo M. Esperancilla, Regional Director of Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Region 8, shared his learning and experiences during his participation in the APO Study Mission on Entrepreneurship and Technology/Business Incubation that was held in Canada.
He presented a study by The National Business Incubators Association of Canada in 2005 regarding the status of Business Incubators and its impact to their economy. According to Mr. Esperancilla, business incubators play a vital role in building and accelerating growth in the economy of a country. Business incubators also provide services that are important in settling up a business. These services are: giving advices; providing assistance in creating formal organization; training and teaching sessions, doing business planning, as well as funding.
But of course business incubators are also faced with the problems of lack of government support, lack of equipment and technical support, lack of networking and training, and lack of facilities for the commercialization of products.This why Mr. Esperancilla strongly believed that if we want economic acceleration here in the Philippines, the government has to take the necessary actions to support and promote business incubators here in our country, because incubators help not just by settling up businesses, but also in creating jobs, building and accelerating growth of local industries, commercializing technologies, developing local industries, and fostering entrepreneurial climate. For him, to promote incubators is to promote economy.
And last but not the least, Mr. Philip N. Tan, President and CEO, Wellmade Motors Corporation, shared his learning from the APO Study Mission on Quality and Innovation held in Switzerland that he participated in. Mr. Tan also shared his company’s journey and best practices in ISO Quality Management System implementation.
In his talk, Mr. Tan stressed that the business standards are so high that one must be competitive enough to profit and survive. And competitiveness means being innovative and being able to offer quality products and services. Mr. Tan enumerated some areas in which companies need to draw attention in order to make it, these are: Quality- meaning continuous improvement; safety; and environmental compliance.
Mr. Tan strongly believes that manpower should be prioritized in order for a company to succeed. Investment on human component and taking care of the customers are vital to a company’s survival. Another point that Mr. Tan stressed out is the need for a company to have values beyond just making profits to generate money. A company must not just focus on profit and success. They must allow failure so they can learn more, experiment – so they can know more. Mr. Tan sees competition not just as a tool of eliminating or defeating one’s competitor. It is also a way of improving one’s self. Beat yourself, before you beat others. Finally, Mr. Tan said that to contribute to the socioeconomic development of the country, companies must be ethically, socially, environmentally and economically responsible.
The APO Grantees Forum could be a gateway towards a more efficient sharing of learnings, not just for the benefit of the Grantees, but also that of the APO when they (Grantees) serve as experts. As mentioned by Mr. Carlos A. Sayco Jr, DAP Vice-President and APO Liaison Officer for the Philippines during his opening remarks, among the objectives of the forum are: to share learnings for both the public and private sectors on Productivity and Quality Improvement; to create a profile of the expertise of the grantees; to update the directory of Grantees; and to look for possible initial activity or tie- up between DAP and the APO grantees’ respective organizations.
One of the most significant results of the forum is the renewal of commitment for DAP-APO Grantees partnership to pursue relevant action programs towards increased productivity and competitiveness of public and private sectors in the Visayas.