1. Learning from the Asian focus on excellence

    December 30, 2016 by ahmed


    Originally posted on Thrive+ by Ravi Fernando

    The past year saw an increased focus on Excellence both in Australia and overseas. The pace of economic and social change continues to accelerate. Innovation is now a necessity for all organisations – no one is immune. Staying static is no longer an option.There is an increasing recognition among policy makers and business leaders that to innovate effectively an organisation must first focus on Excellence and this often means the adoption of Excellence Models to guide behaviour. Asia is at the forefront of this focus on Excellence with substantial investment in Excellence Programs.

    The Thai Experience

    I visited Bangkok in February and was honoured to meet some of the leaders in their Excellence Program. In Thailand, the primary focus of the government is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public sector management which is in turn expected to guide the country’s economic development. Excellence Models are at the heart of the Public Sector Development Strategic Plan with the Public Sector Management Quality Awards (PMQA) framework driving the widespread adoption of Excellence concepts throughout public sector agencies. All state enterprises are assessed through the State Enterprise Performance Appraisal (SEPA) program each year.

    SEPA represents a comprehensive process of external evaluation by independent assessors. Independent external evaluation – as provided by the SEPA – is used make discoveries in areas that need improvement. A detailed report is provided with feedback on an agency’s strengths and opportunities for improvement. The feedback is where the process offers the greatest return on investment to organisations. SEPA is seen to be delivering significant performance improvement in Thailand with notable results being particularly evident in the Health sector. The Thai government is strengthening the requirement to adopt Excellence with funding being increasingly tied to achievement through SEPA and similar sector specific programs.

    The Middle East

    In October, I was invited to provide a keynote presentation at the King Abdulaziz Quality Award (KAQA) Forum in Riyadh. The KAQA was established by virtue of the royal decree with a view to motivating the production and service sectors to apply the foundations and techniques of total quality to raise performance, activate continuous improvement of internal processes and achieve stakeholder satisfaction. The KAQA represents focused efforts by the Saudi government to transform the economy, engage the full potential of the population and create a broader economic base to deliver sustainability.

    During the Forum, I met the leaders of similar Excellence Programs from many countries in the Middle East. Arguably, the more mature Excellence Programs in the region can be found in Dubai and Abu Dhabi where a strong emphasis is placed on delivering Excellence in the public sector. The Dubai Government Excellence Program for example invites leading experts from around the world to join local teams in regular evaluations of all public sector agencies. Through dedicated focus and investment in Excellence, Dubai and Abu Dhabi have emerged as significant global economic hubs.

    The Asian Century

    The 21st Century is often referred to as the Asian century. The world’s most dynamic economies are now found in Asia. Arguably, the economic gravitas has already shifted away from the “western” economies to Asian economies. The heavy investment made by Asian countries into Excellence is unlikely to be a coincidence. This year, the Global Excellence Model (GEM) Council admitted two new members into its midst: the China Association for Quality and the Malaysia Productivity Council. This means that 50% of the GEM Council members are now from Asia, providing further evidence of the continental focus on Excellence.

    With a dedicated focus on the adoption of Excellence Models, Asian economies are delivering growth and innovation that are taking the whole world into a brand new phase of accelerated change. Western economies – including Australia – are increasingly being left behind with the focus on Excellence having declined over the last two decades.

    The Opportunity for Australia

    Australia has one of the most mature Excellence programs in the world with a proud history that dates back to 1987. The Program is represented by our own unique national Excellence Model – the Australian Business Excellence Framework (ABEF) – and the Australian Organisational Excellence Awards. The ABEF and the Awards originated from the necessity to develop a common framework for measuring and improving organisational performance, productivity and competitiveness. The Australian Awards criteria were originally developed in the form of principles and operational statements and were then formed into an integrated Excellence Model in 1996.

    We estimate that over 600 organisations – across all sectors – in Australia use the guidance of the ABEF to deliver success. However, there has been minimal government focus on the national Excellence Program since the late 1990s. Perhaps the continual growth and resilience of the Australian economy reduced the imperative to focus on Excellence.

    With many economic challenges now becoming apparent, the time to reinvigorate Excellence in Australia is upon us. This is evident in the increasing interest in Excellence and Innovation by all levels of government. Australia has a wonderful opportunity to leverage its mature and proven Excellence Program to deliver ongoing economic success. The investment of Asian governments in Excellence should be examples Australia should seek to emulate and learn from.

    For further information about Excellence on the global stage, please feel free to contact Ravi by emailing RaviF@thriveplus.com.au

  2. A successful first year for Dubai We Learn

    December 14, 2016 by ahmed

    This first year of “Dubai We Learn – Knowledge Sharing and Innovation Initiative” came to an end in October 2016. This initiative, for government entities in Dubai, has seen the Dubai Government Excellence Program (DGEP) and COER working closely together to deliver a range of knowledge sharing and organisational learning activities designed to fast-track organisational improvement and stimulate innovation.

    On 5 October 2016, the first wave of 13 benchmarking projects were concluded. Each project team gave a presentation and submitted a benchmarking report which was assessed by an expert panel. Three of the teams achieved a 7 Star recognition according to the new assessment system with all teams achieving certification at the Benchmarking Proficiency Level (an admirable achievement within one year). Initial results from the 7 Star projects are highlighted in the table below.

    dwl 7 stars

    COER’s TRADE Best Practice Benchmarking Methodology and BPIR.com were the key tools supporting the projects.


    dwl02dwl01The photo to the left shows Dr Ahmad Al Nuseirat, Coordinator-General, DGEP (2nd to the left), Dr Zeyad Mohammad El Kahlout, Quality and Excellence Advisor, DGEP (far left), Dr Robin Mann, Director, COER (centre) with His Excellency Abdulla Abdul Rahman Al Shaibani – Secretary General of the Executive Council of Dubai (far right). All of these people, along with Ahmed Abbas, Senior Benchmarking Researcher, COER, (photo above with Dr. Omer Al Sakaf who was the Team Leader for the Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Service’s project) played a vital role in the success of the program.


    dwl03The expert panel consisted of Arndt Husar, Deputy Director, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Global Centre for Public Service Excellence, Singapore (left side of photo), Professor Dotun Adebanjo, University of Greenwich, London (right side of photo), and Dr Robin Mann.

    An overview of the 7 Stars stars Dubai We Learn projects

    The 7 Stars projects are described below. Information on the other projects is shown here.

    Dubai Municipality


    The project aim was to increase the percentage of processed purchase requisitions from 74% to 85% within a target of 20 days, thereby improving the overall throughput of the purchasing channels.

    The team conducted an in-depth study of their current procurement system and performance using process analysis tools such as workload analysis, value stream analysis, an influence-interest matrix, customer segmentation, fishbone diagram, process flowchart analysis and waste analysis. As a result of this analysis, a number of areas for improvement were identified. These included the ensuring of correctly detailed technical specifications, how to quickly evaluate potential suppliers for technical purchases, and how to automate these processes.

    During the Acquire stage, the team collected more than 55 improvement ideas gained from the learning from benchmarking partners and the team’s own ideas. The team integrated these ideas and practices into a total of 5 main best practices for implementation. One of the best practices relating to contracts was parked under a new benchmarking project so that its feasibility could be further investigated.

    The actual outcome of the project exceeded expectations; from 85% of purchase requisitions to be completed within 20 days as the original aim, to an actual performance of 97% of purchase requisitions completed within 12.2 days. Finally, at the Evaluate stage of the project, Dubai Municipality calculated their savings to be in excess of US$600,000 per year.

    Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA)


    The aim of the KHDA project was to identify and implement best practices to increase people happiness. Prior to this project, KHDA was in the top 15% of organisations for employee happiness, based on an independent international measure. It was therefore a challenging task to improve its already very strong position.

    During the Research stage of TRADE, the team reviewed its current performance and challenges associated with people happiness. Specific areas to focus on during the benchmarking exercise were determined by the lowest scoring attributes in a Happiness @ Work Survey. This resulted in focusing on more specific areas such as employee well-being and work-life balance.

    One of the unique features of how KHDA utilises its resources is the way it leverages off planned business trips to obtain benchmarking information. For example, when some of the senior management team travelled to the United States to attend a conference the benchmarking team took advantage of this opportunity. They scheduled a number of benchmarking visits for their senior managers to acquire best practices on people happiness. As a result, the benchmarking team acquired many best practices through site visits both internationally and locally, in addition to obtaining best practices through internet research.

    Some of the practices targeted the improvement of the work environment such as the renovation of the 5th floor of their building. The photos show the new design with the work desks/areas intermingled with the sports apparatus and the presentation/meeting room designed to encourage openness and harmony. Renovation of the 5th floor was already planned before the benchmarking study began but the study enabled enhancements to be made.


    Other practices targeted improving employees’ well-being, such as encouraging employees to participate in fitness classes and external sports activates such as the “Walk for Education 2016”, “Race for Good”, “Good Move Dubai”, “Spartan”, and the “Vertical Marathon”. There were also practices targeting transparency such as “Open board meetings” where the monthly board meetings become open to all employees with the meeting agenda shared in advance. Another practice being piloted is a move from a traditional management hierarchy to “holocracy”, a new peer-to-peer “operating system” that increases transparency, accountability, and organisational agility. The benchmarking team also, within the one year time frame, introduced the “School of Hearts” to measure student happiness at schools in Dubai. The survey reached out to more than 40 schools and 9,000 students.

    Dubai Statistics Center (DSC)


    The aim of DSC’s project was to identify best practices in Innovation to enable DSC to develop and implement a strategy for innovation to improve its processes and services.

    DSC started its project by undertaking a number of innovation self-assessments (three of the four were from the www.BPIR.com). DSC found the self-assessment titled “Innovation Maturity (organisation-wide)” the most comprehensive and useful. The self-assessments enabled DSC to identify both its current level of innovation maturity and specific improvement needs. The specific improvement needs were innovation strategies, innovation measurement, innovation labs, suggestion schemes and innovative statistical information delivery.

    During the search for potential benchmarking partners, DSC used the identified areas of improvement as the criteria for selecting benchmarking partners. For example, DSC searched for organisations with an innovation strategy that resulted in an innovative culture.

    DSC conducted benchmarking visits to four organisations locally and obtained many best practices through internet research. They were able to identify nearly 60 improvement ideas. In the Deploy stage they were able to implement a number of best practices in readiness for certification to the innovation management standard TS 16555-1. The suggestion scheme was improved and awareness initiatives enhanced. DSC gained international recognition for its improvement in its innovation capabilities by winning the Most Innovative Company of the Year in the Middle East and Africa at the International Business Awards.

    Future activity

    Due to the success of Dubai We Learn, a 2nd wave of benchmarking projects will start in early 2017. Dubai government entities may join the 2nd wave of projects through contacting Dr. Zeyad Mohammad El Kahlout, Quality and Excellence Advisor, Dubai Government Excellence Program, The General Secretariat of the Executive Council of Dubai, Zeyad.ElKahlout@tec.gov.ae.

  3. Winner of the 5th Global Benchmarking Award

    December 12, 2016 by ahmed



    Winner, runner-ups, and the judges

    Winner, runner-ups with GBN members and judges

    The Global Benchmarking Network (GBN) launched the Global Benchmarking Award in 2012 to recognise those organisations that had integrated benchmarking into their organisation’s strategy and processes in order to continuously learn and innovate.

    The winners have been Watson Real Estate (New Zealand) in 2012, Knowledge and Human Development Authority (United Arab Emirates) in 2013, OCBC Bank (Singapore) in 2014, and the Medical City (Philippines) in 2015. For videos on these award winning organisations click here.

    The 5th Global Benchmarking Award was held at the 10th International Benchmarking Conference, 8th December 2016, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China. Judges were Dawn Ringrose from Canada, Mark Modena from UK and Holger Kohl from Germany.

    The winner is:
    – Al Jazeera International Catering (JIC) , UAE

    – Nanjing Metro Operation Company Limited, China
    – SVKM’S NMIMS (Deemed to be University), India

    Event photos will be uploaded to Award website soon.

  4. Benchmark Memo: December 2016

    December 9, 2016 by ahmed
    Greetings to our members,

    Read our Standard Benchmark Memo (for all members) or our SPRING Singapore Benchmark Memo (for members from Singapore) This month’s content includes:

    • Best Practice Events
    • BPIR News
    • 5th International Best Practice Competition – Call for entries
    • 10th International Benchmarking Conference and 5th Global Benchmarking Award
    • BPIR Tip of the Month: Business Excellence Models
    • Featured Article: Getting the most out of an industry trade group as a Benchmarking tool
    • Voice of the customer provides many insights

    Best Regards,

    Neil Crawford BPIR.com

  5. BPIR Newsletter: December 2016

    by ahmed

    Our Holidays season deal, use 30DEC2016 promo code and save 30% on new membership

    Seasons Greetings from the BPIR team!
    Welcome to December’s edition of the BPIR Newsletter. sharing with you best practices, improvement tools, and events.

    Best Practice Events

    BPIR News

    • Cyber security risk management: what should we be talking about?….read more
    • A systems perspective to leadership and strategy….read more
    • 5 (budget) hacks for building amazing office culture….read more
    • Chapter on Organizational Excellence for the global encyclopedia….read more
    • Call to participate in the 1st Global Assessment on the current state of organizational excellence….read more
    • Celebrating 25 years of excellence in Scotland….read more
    • They know how to do it in Singapore….read more
    • The BestPrax Conclave….read more
    • Four U.S. organizations receive nation’s highest honor for performance excellence….read more
    • Another Baldrige ambassador takes the message overseas
      ….read more
    • Management systems interview with Ian Hendra….read more

    5th International Best Practice Competition – Call for entries

    The 5th International Best Practice Competition. will be held in Mumbai, India, 25/26th April 2017 courtesy of BestPrax Club.

    To submit your Best Practice please visit http://www.bestpracticecompetition.com/entry-form where you can download an entry form. The First Call for entries closes on 23 January. Last year there were 38 entries with 28 qualifying to the Competition Event.

    The winners of the International Best Practice Competition in 2015 were Al Jazeera International Catering LLC, UAE with a best practice titled ‘Our Planet – Our Responsibility‘. and Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services (DCAS), UAE, with a best practice titled ‘Cultural Sensitivity Gives Birth to a Maternity Care

    10th International Benchmarking Conference and 5th Global Benchmarking Award – 8 Dec 2016

    The Global Benchmarking Network (GBN) is pleased to announce the 10th International Benchmarking Conference (IBCON). This 2016 event is targeted for senior leaders in both the private and public sectors, with a distinct and unique focus on how to sustain performance excellence through benchmarking and best practices for the next 10 – 20 years or more

    The 5th Global Benchmarking Award will be held at the 10th International Benchmarking Conference, 8th December 2016, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China.

    This is an excellent opportunity to learn from world’s best practices of several companies

    BPIR Tip of the Month – Business Excellence Models

    This area of the web-site allows  users to navigate the databases through a choice of business excellence models (Malcolm Baldrige Model, EFQM Excellence Model, Singapore Quality Award Model, Canadian Framework for Business Excellence, and an overview generic model). Navigation via the models can be used to look at specific categories that correspond to areas within their organisation that have been identified as in need of improvement, or to specific areas of personal interest. Using the model categories to navigate will quickly and effectively lead the user to the information we have researched so far in relation to the areas in question.

    Click here to see a video clip on how to do it.

    Featured Publications

    BPIR provides full access to over 170 excellent business publications providing, in total, over 1,000,000 articles and reports. The cost of subscribing to any of these would cover your BPIR membership while allowing you to read, search, and print from 270 top publications! Here are a few of the titles from the “Banking and Finance” category (one of 23 categories):
    – Global Finance
    – Business Credit
    – The Secured Lender
    – Independent Banker
    – Communities & Banking
    – Journal of Financial Planning

    Voice of the customer provides many insights

    This article describe customer loyalty management by Healthy Directions, a natural health and supplements firm. The organisation began a `Voice of the Customer` programme by emailing a weekly product survey. The survey provided powerful feedback that guided loyalty strategy and encouraged repurchasing of products. It also enabled Health Directions to improve labelling on products to ensure that consumers understood when to take supplements and thereby improve product efficacy. Automated systems including text analytics were used to enhance the Voice of the Customer programmes and this led to many actionable day to day insights.The programme repidly became an inseperable part of Healthy Direction`s operations.

    Remember to
    Regularly check out the bpir.com for benchmarks, best practices and business excellence. We know you will find valuable knowledge and we always welcome your feedback, so if you have time, please email any comments about our services to feedback@bpir.com.
    If you are currently not a member of the BPIR, or wish to upgrade your membership then please review our membership offerings at JOIN NOW. you won’t be disappointed.

    Neil Crawford
    General Manager
    BPIR.com Ltd Business Performance Improvement Resource (BPIR)
    Centre for Organisational Excellence Research (COER)
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