A New Model for Excellence in South Africa

August 14, 2014 by nick.halley

Originally Posted by Christine Schaefer on Blogrige, the official Baldrige blog

On August 1, the South African company Business Assessment Services (BAS)—acting on behalf of the new South African Excellence Foundation (SAEF)—publicly launched the latest South African Excellence Model (SAEMXIII™). The nonprofit SAEF will use the model as a basis for business assessment and development services for organizations in South Africa.

The Baldrige Program has long participated in a global excellence council, and the Baldrige Award and Criteria for Performance Excellence have long been emulated in countries around the world. So it is not surprising that BAS CEO Ed van den Heever gives partial credit to both the Baldrige Program and the Fundação Nacional da Qualidade (FNQ) of Brazil for inspiring the new SAEM.

I recently asked, van den Heever—developer of the SAEMXIII and co-author of the previous SAEM1997 standards model—to share more information about the history of organizational excellence initiatives in his country. Following are his responses.

Tell us about your background and experience with the Baldrige Award and national program?

I have great admiration for the leader role of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA) program. I also have fond memories of (retired Baldrige program director) Dr. Harry Hertz—a great man! My support for MBNQA goes back to the mid-1990s when I attended a Baldrige examiner course in South Africa conducted by Dr. Richard Chua of Juran Institute Incorporated (JII).

Ed van den Heever photo
Ed van den Heever

A year earlier, the Council for Scientific Industrial Research (CSIR) of South Africa had opted to go the Baldrige Award route. I had the great fortune, coming from the private sector, to join as an executive facilitator of CSIR Total Quality Management for four years. That role included exposing the CSIR Management Team to Baldrige examiner training. After 1995 examiner training in South Africa was presented by Dr. Chua of JII, I conducted the remainder of the Baldrige examiner sessions in 1996 and 1997. As lead examiner, I facilitated Baldrige Award-based assessments in 10 CSIR business units at the same time and publishing the consolidated findings.

In 1996, the CSIR and the South Africa Quality Institute (SAQI) agreed to launch a South African Criteria model (SAEM1997) and a foundation. I was appointed as the inaugural CEO of the former South African Excellence Foundation, which was formally launched in August 1997 as a not-for-profit company with ten sponsors.

How is the SAEMXIII model similar to the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence?

Besides the SAEM1997, the Baldrige Criteria revisions of 2006, 2008, and 2010 had a direct impact on the road ahead [toward the SAEMXIII]. However, involvement with BHPBilliton in Australia in 2008 and exposure to the FNQ Model in 2013 greatly impacted the final outcome.

Among similarities, the SAEMXIII has merged the SAEM1997 Results Criteria (7–11) into a single criterion 7 (similar to the Baldrige Criteria and FNQ model). Also, similar to the Baldrige Criteria process evaluation factors of ADLI (Approach, Deployment, Learning, Integration), SAEMXIII uses PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) elements for scoring of processes. And similar to the Baldrige Criteria results evaluation factors of LeTCI (Levels, Trends, Comparisons, and Integration), SAEMXIII uses RTCK (Results/Targets/Comparative/Key performance indicator match) elements for scoring of results.

The Baldrige Criteria largely dictated the selection and qualification of Criteria guidelines, key characteristics, and Criteria description. Globally the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program led the way in this area.

How have the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence and the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) helped inspire the development or updates to the SAEM?

For the SAEM1997 (11 Criteria model), the EFQM (1997), consisting of nine Criteria, formed the basic framework. The EFQM Model had gaps that needed focus for application in a developing country such as South Africa. Revisions included adding Baldrige Criteria-based categories on customer focus and supplier focus.

The SAEM1997 was adapted for application in large (Level 1), medium (Level 2), and small (Level 3) companies or organizations. Organizations could opt for Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3, using 100 percent, 50 percent, or 25 percent of the Criteria content, respectively. The related South African Excellence Foundation (SAEF) Awards process was accordingly structured.

A classic case is that Mercedes-Benz SA opted to start at Level 3, then moved to Level 2 (in-house only) in final preparation for their Level 1 Application—culminating in winning the 2000 SAEF Award.

A downfall of SAEM1997 is that it was never updated! Although the model was classic by U.S. and European standards, South African companies could not reach the expected heights at the time. Unfortunately, the original SAEF last issued awards in 2002 and was liquidated by creditors in 2004.

Tell us about the BAS’s services and the kinds of organizations benefitting from those offerings in your country today?

With a specialty in operational excellence, BAS offers an SAEMXIII-based toolkit and guides that were developed to facilitate the Management System of Operational Excellence (MSOE), which is concordant with ISO 9004:2010. The materials offered include training materials and case studies on governance excellence and operational excellence, as well as framework, criteria, and assessment guidelines. The toolkit fits the private sector (large/medium/small businesses) and the public sector (national/provincial/local government).

Other offerings include cost of quality training, training based on the MSOE Toolkit, and SAEMXII Assessor Training.

Users include the Eastern Cape Provincial Government (nine departments), the Department of Transport (Eastern Cape Government, winner of the 2009 Public Sector Innovation Award), SA Revenue Services (call centers), Tsebo Cleaning Services (South Africa) Ltd., Arwyp Private Hospital Ltd., and Border Cricket (South Africa) East London.

What’s next for excellence in South Africa?

This year we will finalize the launch of the SAEMXIII. In 2014 we also plan to find a not-for-profit company to house the intellectual property. And we plan to facilitate funding for SAEF outside governmental control (similar to the Baldrige Foundation) and promote the new SAEF on November 13, 2014, World Quality Day. We also plan to rejoin the Global Excellence Model Council. In 2015, we plan to relaunch the South African Excellence Awards!

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