Report: BE Global Conference and Workshop for Assessors, 8-12 November 2010, Singapore

Group Photo of Participants

BRIEF DESCRIPTION AND BACKGROUND OF THE PROJECT

APO through SPRING COE has developed an assessors’ training manual and as a follow-up workshop would like to focus on how the manual could be used for competency building of assessors, and the manual improved on based on inputs of participants.

OBJECTIVES

1) To train senior business excellence (BE)/Quality award assessors on how to use the training manual developed by the APO COE for BE to train assessors;

2) To provide participants with an opportunity to learn from the best practices in BE;

OBJECTIVES FOR PARTICIPATION

Sharing and learning from the experiences of others is always an efficient and effective way of accelerating knowledge transfer, gaining new insights, discovering new ideas and practices, and widening your network aside from energizing people. Primarily, I expected to learn from the APO experts, from colleagues and TQM practitioners/delegates from other countries. And upon my return, I expect and it is just proper that I should unselfishly share with others and put into practice in my sphere of influence my learnings/insights in order to multiply the gains and sow the seeds of quality in our country.

PROFILE OF PARTICIPANTS

There were 18 participants from 11 countries including 2 delegates from the Philippines. Most participants were Senior Assessors both from the public and private sectors in their respective countries and actively involved with their National Productivity Organizations.

HIGHLIGHTS

Four days were devoted to “training-of-trainers” using the manual prepared, case study assignments, group work, individual assignments, and presentations during the course. Each country represented also shared their BE framework with lively open forum and sharing taking place after each presentation. Another day was allotted for participants to attend part of the Business Excellence Global Conference where winners of regional/international BE/Quality awards and experts shared their experiences. The group also had the special privilege of attending the 2010 Singapore Quality Awards awarding ceremonies which was a formal dinner event.

OUTCOMES AND EVALUATION

The conference-training was an enlightening and fruitful venue for participants to learn from experiences/lessons of other countries which were in various stages of maturity in their quality journeys. Likewise, the unselfish sharing of award winning organizations and Quality gurus was very inspiring giving us new insights/perspectives on approaches to BE. On the other hand, the training manual developed by APO-SPRING was quite detailed and conveniently useful for future assessors training. The 2 main resource persons (Mr. Harnek Singh & Mr. Chia Beng Chye) tapped for the training were seasoned senior assessors holding top level management positions in their organizations making them very credible and effective in their mentoring sessions with us. These were further strengthened by the opportunity to hear and interact with the highly distinguished Dr. Curt Reimann (former Baldrige Director), Dr. Robin Mann (New Zealand) and Mr. Nico Schutte (Philips).

RECOMMENDATIONS AND ACTION STEPS

The most striking learnings for me were

1) The primordial importance of having a highly credible pool of senior assessors not only in terms BE criteria/framework knowledge but more so in terms of work experience, business/organizational expertise, maturity, and personal stature.

2) That countries with successful and well-sustained national quality awards are focusing more on the benefit using the BE framework to help organizations improve their performance, effectiveness, and competitiveness instead of the glittering recognition and pride of getting an award.

3) Lastly, is the need to have assessors adopt a “helping” attitude instead of an “auditor” stance when evaluating PQA applicants (like the Singapore model).

In this regard, it would be timely to revisit PQA’s advocacy/promotions emphasis and reconsider highlighting more the benefits of using the BE framework along with adopting a “helping” mode approach with applicants.

As to our assessor pool, we should review the minimum qualifications that we must have in order to restore credibility to the entire PQA assessment process/program and come out with useful, relevant and meaningful feedback reports that the applicants would value. For those who are re-qualified, a re-training and re-certification would be in order. In addition, more senior management level assessors should be recruited to reinforced the existing pool.

There are still many other smaller lessons and insights I have learned from my co-participants from other countries but the above-mentioned are to me the most pressing that we should focus on.

SUBMITTED BY:

RAYMOND TAN
Managing Director
Medport Distributors, Inc.

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