1. To forecast the future, look outside your industry

    March 20, 2016 by ahmed


    Originally posted on Linkedin by Neil Blumenthal

    The most powerful influences likely come from outside your company’s sphere, not from within it. Warby Parker, the company I co-founded, sells eyewear. But we aren’t looking at competitive threats within the eyewear industry, because there simply isn’t a great deal of innovation within the eyewear industry.

    Instead, we’re looking at companies like Amazon, which hugely change customer perceptions and expectations about things that affect Warby Parker – like how easy it is to order something online (or through other internet-enabled methods like Echo and the Dash button) and, of course, how quickly that item arrives.

    Amazon has trained customers to expect items to arrive within two days. Or sometimes even within one day. I was reminded of this when I recently bought a pair of pants at a boutique in New York. It took two and a half weeks to get the pants tailored, and then a series of phone calls to figure out when I could pick up the pants or whether they’d send the pants to me. By the time the pants came, I’d spent way more time thinking about pants logistics than I ever wanted to. And, while it may sound crazy, I really believe that I don’t enjoy wearing the pants as much as I would have had they arrived on time without a hassle. One’s perception of a product is based on the entirety of the brand experience – from the moment someone hears about the brand to their decision to shop, to selecting an item, transacting, waiting for the product to arrive, unboxing and using the product over time.

    Uber is another example. On the surface, we have little in common with a mobile ride hail company. But Uber influences UX and customer interaction experiences for every company in every industry. For a prime example, I don’t have to look any further than myself! I often use Uber, but on the occasions when I do hail a yellow cab, I find myself noticing anew all the unnecessary steps built into the process: telling the driver your address, paying with a credit card, selecting a tip, and sometimes signing a physical receipt.

    A third example is GrubHub Seamless. Out of convenience (and a regrettable lack of cooking ability), I often order food online from local restaurants. Remember when you had to phone a restaurant to place an order? And read your credit card number three times over the phone? And you always ended up standing in that weird corner of your apartment that didn’t get service? None of this needs to happen anymore. We can order with a click. Why cultivate patience when instant gratification is so easy to obtain?

    Ultimately, it pays to get a broader view of how a handful of companies are redefining how we shop, eat, drive, and live. If you want to forecast the future of your own industry, look outside of it.

  2. Does your organisation have best practices in one of the following 13 areas?

    February 25, 2016 by ahmed


    The Dubai Government Excellence Programme’s (DGEP) “Dubai We Learn” initiative consists of a range of organisational learning and benchmarking activities. The initiative aims to empower a culture of institutional learning and the transfer and exchange of knowledge within the government sector.

    One key part of the initiative is the undertaking of 13 benchmarking projects that are facilitated by the Centre of Organisational Excellence Research (COER), New Zealand. All 13 projects are using the TRADE Best Practice Benchmarking methodology with an expectation that most projects will be completed within a year (the projects began in October 2015). Currently most projects are starting the “Acquire best practices” stage of TRADE and searching for benchmarking partners and learning best practices.

    It is for this purpose we are inviting organisations with “good” to “best practices” in these 13 areas, Click this link, to contact us to explore if there is an opportunity for mutual learning. The respective government entity will be happy to share with you its own practices and the project work it has conducted so far. We would also be pleased to share with you best practices from other Dubai We Learn participants to thank you for your assistance.

    If you can help in our search for best practices, please send an email to Dr Robin Mann, Director – Centre for Organisational Excellence Research, r.s.mann@massey.ac.nz.

    For more information on “Dubai We Learn” read here.

  3. Global Benchmarking Network 20th newsletter

    February 7, 2016 by ahmed


    The Global Benchmarking Network 20th newsletter is out download it from here. The newsletter includes the latest news from the GBN about members, events, projects and other activities, topics highlighted in this issue:

    • Review Dubai 2015
      • 9th International Benchmarking Conference
      • 23rd Annual General Meeting
    • GBN News:
      • GBN Award Winner Case Study: The Medical City (TMC)
    • Collaboration Between GBN Members
    • Members News
      • QIMPRO Convention 2015
      • Uniting The Continents Through Excellence
      • Why Should a Project Need an Outside Focus On Quality?
      • Benchmarking with Non-Government Social Service Organisations
      • First European Public Sector Performance Benchmarking Study Mission
      • Identifying and Applying Best Practices for Government
    • GBN Series: Megatrends of The Future

    About GBN: The Global Benchmarking Network (GBN) is an alliance of leading benchmarking centres worldwide who share a common vision and mission. Current Membership comprises 29 benchmarking centres which represent more than 30,000 businesses and government agencies.

    The GBN was founded in November 1994 by representatives from benchmarking centres in Germany, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. The GBN is a non-profit organization. It has a Chairman, a Vice Chairman and a Secretary General. The GBN comprises benchmarking centres in the following countries: Australia, Bahrain, Canada, China, Germany, Hungary, India, Iran, Ireland, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan, Philipines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE (Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai), UK and USA.

  4. Dubai Municipality Leading the Way in Government Initiatives

    January 23, 2016 by ahmed

    Dubai We Learn Logos

    The Dubai Government Excellence Programme’s (DGEP) Dubai We Learn” initiative consists of a range of organisational learning and benchmarking activities as described in a previous blog “Identifying and Applying Best Practices for Government”

    At the 2nd Progress Sharing Day held on 18 January 2016, 13 project teams from 13 government departments shared the progress of their benchmarking projects. To maximise the engagement and learning of the government entities the audience were invited to vote on which teams had made most progress.

    The team judged to have made most progress were from the Dubai Municipality with its project to “Improve Purchase Procedures and Channels”. Other government entities recognised for their progress were the Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Service for its project on “Development of Emirati Paramedic Leaders” and Mohamed Bin Rashid Enterprise for Housing for its project on “Improving Customer Experience” particularly through using SMART applications. Regardless of the voting, all teams demonstrated an exceptional dedication to their projects.


    All projects are using the TRADE Best Practice Benchmarking methodology with an expectation that most projects will be completed within a year (the projects began in October 2015). Currently most projects are in the “Research” stage of TRADE and making sure that they have a deep understanding of their processes, systems and performance before moving to the “Acquire” stage. The Acquire stage is where the teams will be identifying benchmarking partners and learning best practices.

    Dubai Municipality have made substantial strides in its procurement process in recent years including becoming the first government department in the Emirate to introduce web-based automation across its entire procurement cycle and achieving recognition at a number of international awards (CIPS Middle East Awards 2015 – Most Improved Procurement Operation ). The procurement department’s project for Dubai We Learn aims to reduce the average cycle time of processing purchase requisitions from 16 to 12 days or less. The team have studied in depth their current procurement system and performance using process analysis tools such as: workload analysis, value stream analysis, influence – interest matrix, customers segmentation, fishbone diagram, process flowchart analysis and waste analysis. As a result of this analysis a number of areas for improvement were identified such as ensuring that technical specifications are correctly detailed and how to quickly evaluate potential suppliers for technical purchases, and how to automate these processes. The next stage of their project will be to identify relevant organisations to learn from.

    At the Progress Sharing Day the performance of all the teams was commended by the Executive Council of Dubai and Dubai Government Excellence Programme (DGEP). His Excellency Abdulla Al Shaibani – Secretary General of the Executive Council of Dubai and Dr. Ahmed Al Nuseirat – General Coordinator of Dubai Government Excellence Programme, both delivered speeches and encouraged the teams to maintain their momentum.

    Are you implementing a best practice in any area related to the 13 projects below? If so, we would like to hear from you. Please email ahmed@bpir.com for more details.

    Government Entity Project title
    Dubai Cooperation for Ambulance Services Development of Emirati Paramedic’s Leaders
    Dubai Courts Personal Status Smart Certifications Services
    Dubai Culture Developing National Human Resources for Museums
    Dubai Electricity & Water Authority Shams Dubai Initiative
    Dubai Land Department Towards Happy Employees
    Dubai Municipality Improving Purchase Procedures and Channels
    Dubai Police Head Quarter Smart Police Officer
    Dubai Statistics Center Innovative Statistics
    General Directorate of Residency & Foreigners Affairs Dubai Developing a World-Class Customer Service Design Process
    Knowledge & Human Development Authority People Happiness
    Mohamed Bin Rashid Enterprise for Housing Improving Customer Experience
    Public Prosecution Judicial Knowledge Management
    Road and Transport Authority RTA’s Knowledge Repository Gateway

    For more information about this initiative download the attached article and sign-up up to COER’s newsletter to receive the latest updates.


  5. Life-Changing Benchmarking: How Does Your Organization Compare?

    January 16, 2016 by ahmed


    Originally posted on Blogrige by Dawn Marie Bailey

    Executives who have applied the Baldrige Criteria to their own work and used Baldrige feedback reports for assessment and planning have often spoken about how new insights led them to continuous improvement and the very beneficial results achieved both for their organizations and the people they serve. The manufacturing sector is no exception.

    In a recent Industry Week article, “How Do You Know You Are Winning?”, author Bill Baker writes that his life changed after his company Texas Instruments (TI) received its first Baldrige feedback report. The CEO had asked, “What did we learn and what were the opportunities/shortcomings that we need to fix.” With leaders assigned to each opportunity, the course of Baker’s career quickly went in a new direction.

    I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Baker, now president/owner of Speed To Excellence and co-author of Lean for the Long Term, about his Baldrige experience and being a manufacturing executive.

    Baker began his career in the “wild and crazy world” of mechanical/manufacturing engineering in the Vietnam era, when missile programs, laser-guided bombs, satellites, night-vision equipment, and drones were just being built and perfected, some right at Baldrige Award winner TI under Baker’s direction.

    In the late 1980s, Jerry Ray Junkins, who eventually served as president, chairman, and CEO of TI, came to TI Defense Systems and Electronics Group (DSEG) praising the newly written criteria for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, said Baker. The environment was such that defense budgets were decreasing and competition was increasing, and an outside excellence criteria that could be used for learning and improving was something he saw as very valuable.

    Although the defense manufacturer was very creative and innovative in terms of new products, Baker said, the organization’s first Baldrige Award application, which did not even lead to a site visit, yielded some disappointment—at first. “We are in the defense industry. They don’t understand us. We’re better than they think we are,” Baker said was the feeling of his colleagues, but “the CEO held the line [saying] we have to use this as a learning experience. Get ready. Apply again.”

    Baker, then a manufacturing engineer on missile programs, was assigned to learn about benchmarking, an insight from the Baldrige examiners that the company was very good but did not have the comparison measurements to prove it. “If you do not have continuous improvement goals based on benchmarking and benchmarks, you do not know how you compare,” writes Baker.

    Benchmarking was a new concept at the time, and Baker and a few colleagues were tasked to figure it out, starting with a visit to Xerox and Robert Camp, a well-known leader and author on the topic in 1990.

    The TI folks quickly learned what the Baldrige examiners were trying to tell them: “You have to know how you compare to know if you’re any good,” said Baker.

    For its second Baldrige Award application, TI received a site visit, with examiners visiting most of its plants and the TI staff on walkie-talkies sharing what the examiners were asking about during interviews. This time the feedback report had a focus on sustainability and more trend data.

    “The feedback was that we were doing lots of good things, but we did not have a long enough track record,” said Baker. The examiners’ message was “show us that you are really going to stick with this.”

    Its third application in 1992 resulted in TI DSEG being the first defense company to win the Baldrige Award. Said Baker, by that application, “We were rolling on benchmarking. Everybody was doing it. You couldn’t put up a chart without benchmarks and goals to exceed the benchmarks.”

    On winning the Baldrige Award, Baker said, “We were happy that all of our work had borne fruit, but the best thing, of course, was becoming more competitive in the defense business. That was the benefit. [The Baldrige Criteria provided an] outside criteria where you don’t just evaluate yourself on how well you’re doing. You’ve got comparisons. You’ve got world-class goals as opposed to just the industry goals of the business owner.”

    According to Baker, TI DSEG used the Baldrige Criteria every year as part of its annual planning to help it prioritize areas of focus until the company was eventually bought by another defense contractor that also had the foresight to value external benchmarking/learning and internal knowledge sharing.

    The value of benchmarking and continuous improvement, as well as an outside criteria to offer an objective evaluation, is still of paramount importance today to the success and sustainability of U.S. organizations, and especially manufacturers, said Baker, who now serves as chair of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence’s Target magazine editorial board.

    “You can always look at yourself and say I’m the smartest one in the room, right?” said Baker. “But guess what, there’s only one person in the world that can say that. You can learn from everybody. . . . When I was doing benchmarking, people would say ‘Why are we benchmarking them?’ And I would say, because they’re the leader in their industry. And our job is to find out from them what we can use to get better.” Plant managers want to know how to get to market quicker, design quicker, work with suppliers, said Baker; benchmarking other companies is key to fast learning.

    In addition, said Baker, “The best learning is from somebody outside your industry. Other people try to do things in order to survive. You may be doing things just to compete.”

    The Baldrige Program offers several tools to help organizations benchmark world-class organizations, including Baldrige Asks, “How Do You Know?”, the posting of Baldrige Award winners’ application summaries, and the Baldrige Award application process itself that provides organizations with feedback from a team of examiners who often represent every sector of the U.S. economy.

    Writes Baker, “What are you doing to improve, and how do you know if you’re winning?”

    My suggestion, apply for the Baldrige Award and find out.