Report: Expanding Business Excellence in Asia and the Pacific Workshop, October 28-November 1, 2013, Singapore

WSP on Expanding BE, 2013

The workshop aims to expand Business Excellence (BE) awareness in the public sector and promote adoption of the BE framework in public-sector organizations.

Objectives for participation

I expected to acquire more knowledge, deepen my understanding and articulate the different productivity and Business Excellence frameworks, measures, tools and techniques and be able to apply this knowledge, skills and experience gained from the training to actual practice for the improvement of our organization in providing quality services to the public as well as be able to provide sound advice and deliver promotional, training and consulting services on productivity tools and techniques to our associates and clients. The workshop would provide me opportunity to be able to assess the appropriateness of the framework for possible incorporation with the current products and services being offered by our office.


There are 17 participants from 12 countries who attended the workshop. The participants are from the private and public sector-organization involved on the promotion and implementation of business excellence or its equivalent in their respective countries.

Scope, content and methodology

Topics covered during the workshops are dimensions and attributes of business excellence framework; key steps on the business excellence journey; interpretation of the framework in the public sector; and example of adoption of the framework by public-sector organizations.

Case study presentation, site visit, and attendance in the 5th Business Excellence Global Conference were employed to ensure that the participants will be able to gain the expected knowledge and understanding of the workshop.

During the discussion on business excellence initiative, it was highlighted that BE companies are more productive and profitable compared to their respective industries and the initiative helped in enabling home grown companies. Part of the initiative is to equip the future workforce with the BE knowledge. This was done by partnering with universities to incorporate the framework into their curricula. There is also continuous leveraging of BE international framework.

Discussion on the challenges and strategies for business excellence for the public sector started with a sharing of the results of the study on the value and impact of business excellence in India, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.

These findings include:

• Business excellence has a major impact on competitiveness and performance;
• Many organizations do not understand business excellence and see business excellence primarily as an awards program;
• Business excellence frameworks are relevant for long-term competitiveness and sustainability, and only minor changes to the design of the frameworks (if any) are needed;
• Focus on implementing the core values and concepts of business excellence – the frameworks just assess where you are on your journey;
• Business excellence frameworks are over-arching frameworks within which other initiatives/quality tools fit; and
• Organizations want increased assistance with benchmarking and learning from best practices.

These finding were discussed in relation with the possible impact on the promotion and implementation of business excellence. It was highlighted by Dr. Robin Mann that more efforts were devoted on the development or adoption of a framework and recognizing outstanding organization rather than creating awareness for business excellence and assistance on business improvement which should not be the case.

Workshop participants were asked to select successful example of a public sector organization’s achievement of business excellence by covering the objectives of business excellence. Framework adopted, implementation approach, and resources needed. For countries that do not have an example of application of BE in the public sector, they may introduce the BE status of their country including steps, issues and challenges.

The Philippine workshop presentation shared the business excellence journey of the Metal Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC), an attached agency of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). The agency was recently awarded Recognition for Commitment in Quality Management.

During the Philippine presentation, the participants shared the following:

• MIRDC established in pursuant to Republic Act 4724, is the sole government entity directly supporting the metals and engineering industry with services designed to enhance its competitive advantage. It is primarily tasked to work close rapport between the government and the industry in order to foster the advancement of metals, engineering, and allied industries in the country.
• MIRDC pursues organizational excellence to better serve the M&E industries and the whole country as well. This is evident with the role of MIRDC as one of the implementing agencies of the project entitled “Organizational Transformation of DOST Agencies Toward Performance Excellence.” The project aims to expand the adoption of quality management systems and provide mechanisms for the alignment and integration of various approaches and systems that are already in place at the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) agencies.
• The Center followed the framework used in the Philippine Quality Award (PQA). The Criteria for Performance Excellence provide organizations with an integrated, results-oriented framework in implementing and assessing processes in managing operations. The Criteria area was adapted from the MALCOLM BALDRIGE NATIONAL QUALITY AWARD (MBNQA) criteria of the United States.
• Highlights of their implementation include the compliance to ISO standards (Process Management), Voice of the Customer (Customer and Market Focus), Ensuring effective development and deployment of actions plan (strategic planning), and Deepening Employee’s Commitment to the Organization thru the Workforce Focus and Engagement Program (Workforce),
• The Center adopted the ISO 9001:2008 standards thru the documentation and incorporation in in the overall plans and programs of the organization the requirements of customers and other interested parties and the data resulting from surveys, road mapping, and benchmarking, tasking of a particular section to plan and implement industry studies profiling and industry gap analysis, and conduct of customer feedback gathering to align with the organizational mandate and objectives. It has assumed the lead role in the ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation drive of DOST laboratories and ISO 9001:2008 certification of DOST offices and agencies.
• Customer and market focus was ensured thru the implementation of the following: Metal and Engineering Week (3rd week of June), Open Door Policy, establishment of business centers, Customer Satisfaction Management Survey, exhibits, fairs, techno. demo, fora etc.
• Key programs and plans are presented to employees during assemblies, anniversary celebrations, annual deployment of action plans done in January and February while vision, mission and values are displayed in all computer screens, wallpaper, and billboards in each of the lobby of 5 major building, published in Employees Manual, Annual Report, Institutional Brochure, Institutional Video, Citizen’s Charter and Website to ensure effective development and deployment of actions plans.

Workshop participants started their presentation by sharing the national quality awards of the respective countries. Part of the sharing, they discussed the framework and point systems that their country adopted. It very noticeable that all of the countries with a national quality awards adopted the MALCOLM BALDRIGE NATIONAL QUALITY AWARD (MBNQA) criteria of the United States with variation in the point and award system.

Outcomes and Evaluation

Overall, the workshop is a good opportunity to gain basic understanding of business initiatives in Asia-Pacific. It allows participants to share and discuss the current practices in the promotions and implementation of business excellence in their respective countries. It made me realize how our office products and services contribute in the implementation of business excellence and how it can be further be improved to align with the business excellence initiative being implemented by our organization. Attendance in the 5th Business Global Conference and Best Practices Competition enabled us to identify ideas in that can be shared to future clients in their business excellence journey.

Key learning from the 5th Global Business Excellence Conference includes:

• Leadership focus and mindset are key drivers that will set the direction on the business excellence journey of the organization. There will be different implementing style and strategies that can be used to implement business excellence. Business excellence implementers should not be afraid to take risks and commit mistakes. Champions of business excellence in the company should realize that it is a journey without an end because the journey promotes continuous improvement.
• The organization’s business excellence journey will be defined by its business strategies as stated in the organization’s vision and mission.
• Key values in the implementation of business excellence are sensitivity (to your customer as well as to your people’s need), responsiveness and agility.
• Strategies should be developed to make business excellence journey engaging that it will encourage people (both internal and external) to participate and to engage.

Observing the International Best Practices Competition and Benchmarking made me realized the following:

• There vast source of information to benchmark. Organization should not only limit them to the industry where they belong.
• Organization should employ constant vigilance in the information that they will use. There will be lot of information that is readily available but not all of them will be useful to them.
• Learn to localize and contextualize best practices.

Recommendations and action steps

Participants and the resource speaker, upon the presentation of the different national quality award, agreed that there should be an initiative to compare, calibrate and benchmark the scoring system with the other scoring system so that winners from a particular country are at par with the other winners. One possible solution is to have study mission for assessors on the assessment process done by a particular organization that administer the quality awards.

It was highlighted in the country presentation that the success in the promotion of business excellence in the public sector lies on the support at the national level. It will be helpful in the case of the Philippines to increase the participation of public-sector organizations in the adoption of business excellence framework to have a national policy that will make application on the national quality award mandatory. DAP may explore the possible alignment or inclusion of the business excellence framework or the assessment process in the PQA with the national results-based performance management system.

DAP may adopt and sponsor National Best Practice Competition not only to showcase innovative and excellent practices but to provide opportunities for other organizations to learn from others.

It was pointed out by the resource person that based on his experience of the implementation of business excellence in the Philippines; too much effort was concentrated on the development or adoption of business excellence framework and recognizing outstanding organization. He pointed out that it should not be the case. Effort should be focused on creating awareness and assisting organization attaining business improvement. To address this concern, part of my proposed action plan is to include a session introducing business excellence initiative to the strategic planning workshop being offered by our office. I think this will help create awareness with the client organizations and made them realize that what they are doing is part of business excellence. This can be done because one of the planning tools, balanced scorecard, being used and offered by our office particularly to government owned-or-controlled corporation is recognize as a planning tool under the business excellence framework.

Reported by:

Associate Project Officer I
Development Academy of the Philippines


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