Report: Business Excellence for SMEs Training, October 12-15, 2015, Singapore

Group Photo of participants

Group Photo of participants

Strengthening the capabilities of SMEs has always been a priority of APO for most of its member countries. This project, entitled ‘Training Course on Business Excellence for SMEs’, is a four-day training course on Business Excellence or BE, a key mechanism for developing and strengthening the management systems and processes of an organization in order to improve its competitiveness and productivity. Through SPRING Singapore as its Center of Excellence (COE), this project is just one of a series of BE initiatives created to assist and support SMEs.

The objectives of the project are:

• To strengthen national business excellence (BE) strategies for SMEs;
• To promote the BE concept and assessment tools for SMEs;
• To share and exchange information on and experience in best practices in BE adoption in SMEs.

OBJECTIVES FOR PARTICIPATION

A. Tanchanco, Taters Enterprises, Inc.

Being in a key position to lead and make decisions, I participated in this APO project to learn more about the Business Excellence (BE) concept & its tools in order to share and apply it to my company and my other affiliate-NGOs. Being a 2014 PQC awardee, my company would like to benchmark against global quality awardees of other internationally recognized BE models.  I would like to share our country’s business excellence model (PQA/PQC) and my company’s management systems and best practices. Lastly, I would like to learn more about BE adoption, implementation challenges, and sustainable best practices among SMEs

K. Ching, DAP

As part of the Office of the Senior Vice-President for Programs, it is my duty to monitor and analyze the Programs Group business operations and everyday proceedings. Learning more about the BE framework boosts my knowledge in initiating more purposive quality improvement plans to foster performance excellence. The project also enhances my capacity to contribute to organizational transformation in the Philippine public sector as member of the implementation team for the Center of Excellence on the Public Sector Productivity.

PARTICIPANTS

There were 19 participants coming from Bangladesh, Taiwan, Fiji, Iran, India, Indonesia, Korea, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. Many participants were from the public sector, mostly representatives from the National Productivity Organizations (NPOs) of their respective countries. There were also a few private consultants and SMEs. The Philippines had three participants, namely:

MELANIE G. MERCADER
Associate Project Officer
Center for Quality and Competitiveness
Development Academy of the Philippines

ANA MARIE C. TANCHANCO
President/Managing Director
Taters Enterprises, Inc.

KRICHELLE ALYCE L. CHING
Project Assistant
Office of SVP for Programs
Development Academy of the Philippines

SCOPE, CONTENT, METHODOLOGY

The course included lectures, workshop discussions, attendance to the 7th BE Global Conference and BE Awards Ceremony, a site visit to a SQA BE company, country presentations, best practice sharing, and group action planning. Main lectures were conducted by Mr. Derrick Tang, Director and Principal Consultant for Advent Management Consulting Pte Ltd., and Dr. Robin Mann, Director of Centre for Organizational Excellence Research. Mr. Tang’s materials were centered on Singapore’s BE initiatives, different BE models, Singapore SME’s case studies, and the Singapore BE certification program. Dr. Mann shared his researches on the current status of BE for SMEs in Asia, BE adoption challenges, BE self-assessments, and strategies.

The participants also had a chance to participate in the 7th BE Global Conference held at Resorts World Sentosa with the theme “Future-Proofing Your Organization – Prepare your Business for Tomorrow, Today”. Renowned experts and quality award winners from Singapore and other countries gave their insights on innovation as a business transformation tool, shared their experiences on their BE journey, and revealed how BE has enabled their organizations to deliver greater value to stakeholders. Among these were Mr. Ang Hak Seng (Chair of SQA Management Committee), Prof. Serguei Netessine (Timken Professor of Global Technology and Innovation, INSEAD), Ms. Susan Chong (CEO of Greenpac Pte Ltd), Ms. Jo Ann Brumit (CEO of KARLEE and a Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award winner), Mr. David Goh (CEO of 7-Eleven Singapore), Ms. Cynthia Payne (CEO of Summitcare and Australian Business Excellence Award winner), Mr. Philip Lim (Head of ANZ Banking Group), Prof. Mak Yuen Teen (National University of Singapore). Panel sessions and open forums were also held to share the different success strategies employed by BE certified organizations and to give the audience a chance to ask questions.

A quick site visit to a multi-awarded SQA winner, Qian Hu Corp. Ltd., was also arranged. Qian Hu is an integrated ornamental fish, aquarium, and pet accessories service provider. Its activities include the breeding of Dragon Fish, farming, importing, manufacturing, and exporting thousands of fish varieties all over the world. Qian Hu continues to achieve business excellence using technology innovation and advanced productivity initiatives.

Country presentations of participants focused on various quality and productivity programs adopted by the countries as well as BE models and awards given, if any. Philippine participants from DAP shared the new Government Excellence Class (GEC) program that hopes to assist and recognize the public sector in its productivity, innovation and management systems. My company shared our own quality journey and one of our best practices, our Customer Management System.

OUTCOMES AND EVALUATION

A. Tanchanco, Taters Enterprises, Inc.

The lecturers were effective in promoting the BE concept, the different BE frameworks and strategies, particularly the Singapore model and case studies. The speakers during the BE Global Conference, most especially those in the morning sessions, were very good and shared best practices and useful insights on innovation, customer centricity and employee engagement. The personal sharing of Ms. Jo Ann Brumit was particularly inspiring specially since I had the opportunity to discuss with her my business concerns. Our attendance to the BE Awards ceremony was, for me, a very motivating, exciting experience.

Over all, I believe the main project objectives and expectations were met.

K. Ching, DAP

Throughout the course there were key points reiterated as to what propels an organization forward. The BE framework illustrates the cause and effect relationship between the drivers of performance and the results achieved. The assessment tool allows an organization to evaluate their level of proficiency based on a world class standards, and its complementing development tools guides an organization to setup the right systems and processes to improve performance excellence. The entire course was able to showcase BE as a holistic framework that encapsulates the perfect recipe for success. It captures the value of visionary leadership, customer-centricity, people and process development, innovation, and knowledge-based decision-making to be future ready. The project gave a well-balanced outlook on BE concepts and implementation through actual SME experiences and its replication to respective countries.

RECOMMENDATIONS AND ACTION STEPS

A. Tanchanco, Taters Enterprises, Inc.

We were divided in groups (government, NPO, consultant, SME) and I belong to the SME group. The question posed to our group was: ‘How would you deploy business excellence initiatives to SMEs in your country?’ The strategies we presented to APO are listed in the table below.

My own individual and company action plan has also been submitted to APO (a copy was already sent to DAP).

Action Plan

Action Plan

My own recommendations to DAP and/or the Philippine Government are:

• For DAP to coordinate and work with DTI so that the BE plans & programs that DAP has already developed could be applied also to the private sector.
• For BE budgets to be properly used for the effective promotion of BE to the right target market/SME recipients
• For DAP/DTI to benchmark with the Singapore model, simplify BE and introduce BE certifications in order to encourage more SMEs to embrace business excellence. Our PQC is too complicated for any SME.
• For this training course to be opened to the past PQC awardees as they are the SMEs who would directly benefit from the course.

K. Ching, DAP

In pursuing global competitiveness, the APO delegates committed to promote BE by developing both hardware and software to facilitate ease in embarking on the BE journey. With the BE framework in place as the foundation, it is crucial to enhance localization of the program hardware such as the assessment tools, development tools, awards criteria, guidebooks, etc. whilst also supplementing it with a pool of advocates and experts to stimulate cultural change.

We also recognized the need to develop a national strategy to implement BE in both public and private sector. As the NPO, the DAP’s role is vital in propagating BE and its business and social benefits. The Business Excellence Strategies and Transformation (BEST) Program initiated by the DAP Center for Quality and Competitiveness may be included in the Productivity Agenda of the DAP as one of its primary productivity enhancement frameworks for all organizations. The BEST Program should be reviewed to include a nationwide promotions and marketing plan, emphasizing the BE’s advantages of using international standards to drive results. It entails crafting various informational tools such as infographics and brochures to be disseminated in forums, conferences, workshops and award ceremonies. It also requires srengtheing partnerships and engagement of key stakeholders such as the Department of Trade and Industry, business associations, employee unions, and universities to further improve and implement BE.

Being one of the leading advocates of BE, DAP should also embark on the business excellence journey. Beginning with the guided self-assessment results conducted last March, it should be presented to the Management Committee as critical information for the organization’s strategic planning for 2016. As an organization of experts where people’s knowledge drives its relevance, ownership and engagement contribute largely to employee’s satisfaction. There are more opportunities to make the employees feel valued by introducing avenues to share ideas, to prioritize staff development, and to cultivate fellowship of co-employees as a quality improvement plan. Institutionalizing BE in DAP will not only help in promoting the BEST Program, but will also provide results for DAP’s pursuit in continuous improvement.

SUBMITTED BY

ANA MARIE C. TANCHANCO
President/Managing Director
Taters Enterprises, Inc.

KRICHELLE ALYCE L. CHING
Project Assistant
Office of the Senior Vice-President for Programs
Development Academy of the Philippines

 

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