1. South African Quality Institutes Quality Education News

    August 4, 2020 by BPIR.com Limited

    South African Quality Institute (SAQI) http://www.saqi.co.za is the national body that co-ordinates the Quality effort in South Africa. Quality Education News is a quarterly publication issued by the South African Qulaity Institute (SAQI) in the intrest of promoting educational excellence, SAQI publications are excellent source of information to keep up with the latest quality issues in South Africa.

    • During pandemics should there be marks and grades? by Richard Hayward
    • The KISS principle
    • How do we reduce their anxiety, fear and panic?
    • Upsides during lockdowns

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  2. Kudos to My Kolleagues

    by BPIR.com Limited

    Originally posted on Blogrige by Harry Hertz

    OK, I took a little poetic license with the second “K” in the title; it looked nice! I can brag about the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program (BPEP) staff (including its leadership) because I am not part of the survey group below; I retired from Baldrige Performance Excellence Program (BPEP) employment in 2013.

    Employee Engagement
    The federal government conducts an annual survey of all federal employees. The results are in for 2019 and BPEP might well have set the benchmark for the government. I have to apologize because I cannot say that with certainty; all the comparative data I have are averages. (I feel the pain of all Baldrige Excellence Framework users who seek top quartile and top decile comparisons.) The survey had 71 questions. Results are reported by indices that aggregate by topic across survey categories, by overall category responses, and by individual engagement drivers.

    Let me share some results:


    Does it make sense to internalize the Baldrige Excellence Framework and make it the way you work? I would have to reply with a resounding “yes.” The most striking difference among the three groups is that BPEP uses the Baldrige Excellence Framework to guide its operations and decision making. While I can’t speak to the whole federal government, I do know that both NIST and BPEP strive to select the right people with the traits and baseline skills needed to fill their jobs. That might be part of the explanation why both NIST and BPEP exceed government-wide performance.

    Customer Engagement
    There are many studies that demonstrate a correlation between employee engagement and customer engagement. Let me share some customer results for BPEP’s customer engagement. I will first share some recent Net Promoter Scores (for comparison the NPS for Tesla is 97, Starbucks is 77, and USAA is 65):

    • Baldrige Executive Fellows Program 100
      Likelihood to recommend the Baldrige Excellence Framework 86
    • Baldrige Quest for Excellence Conference 59 (93% rated it valuable/very valuable)

    And here are some data from the survey of Baldrige Award applicants (over the life of the Program) on per cent of applicants who agreed that the use of Baldrige improved their:
    outcomes/results 100

    • revenue/market growth 96
    • customer satisfaction/engagement 100
    • workforce satisfaction/engagement/retention 100
    • community support/relationships 91

    Building Employee Engagement
    While there are detailed questions in the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, let me share some basic workforce engagement questions from the Baldrige Excellence Builder, an introductory set of criteria questions. Considering these questions could help your organization achieve results like my colleagues (no k this time) have achieved:

    • How do you recruit, hire, and onboard new workforce members?
    • How do you organize and manage your workforce?
    • How do you determine the key drivers of workforce engagement?
    • How do you foster an organizational culture that is characterized by open communication, high performance, and an engaged workforce?
    • How do you manage career development for your workforce and your future leaders?

    And it all starts with the leadership:

    • How do senior leaders’ personal actions demonstrate their commitment to legal and ethical behavior?
    • How do senior leaders communicate with and engage the entire workforce, key partners, and key customers?
    • How do senior leaders create an environment for success now and in the future?
    • How do senior leaders create a focus on action that will achieve the organization’s mission?

    Finally, let me take the discussion to a “higher plane” and relate the challenges of workforce engagement to some of the Baldrige Core Values:

    Visionary Leadership
    Your organization’s senior leaders should set a vision for the organization, create a customer focus, demonstrate clear and visible organizational values and ethics, and set high expectations for the workforce

    Valuing People
    A successful organization values its workforce members and the other people who have a stake in the organization.

    Societal Contributions
    Your organization’s leaders should stress contributions to the public and the consideration of societal well-being and benefit.

    Ethics and Transparency
    Your organization should stress ethical behavior by all workforce members in all stakeholder transactions and interactions. Senior leaders should be role models of ethical behavior, including transparency.

    Obviously, no organization is perfect in all these considerations, including BPEP. However, honestly addressing them may be your next step toward higher performance. Again, my congrats to the wonderful Baldrige team!


  3. True Objective: To Drive Performance in Everything

    July 25, 2020 by BPIR.com Limited

    Originally posted on Blogrige by Dawn Bailey

    What does the continued success of a 150-year-old, multisector, multinational organization headquartered in India have to do with the Baldrige Excellence Framework?

    In the early 1990s, the then-chairman of the Tata Group, Ratan Tata, created the Tata Business Excellence Model (TBEM). TBEM is based on the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence (part of the Baldrige Excellence Framework), and since 1995, the holding group has conducted internal assessments, like the Baldrige Award process, for its more than 100 companies operating in ten industries: information technology, steel, automotive, consumer and retail, infrastructure, financial services, aerospace and defense, tourism and travel, telecom and media, and trading and investments.

    According to Ratan Tata, “The true objective of setting these criteria, however, was never meant to be merely to use them as an assessment for an award but, more importantly, to utilize them for an institutionalized approach to drive performance and attain higher levels of efficiency in everything that a corporate entity does.”

    Blogrige authors have written about Tata’s success with TBEM before in “’Making an Elephant Dance’: How the Baldrige Criteria Helped Transform a Global Conglomerate,” “Rediscover an Organization’s Potential with the ‘Baldrige Criteria’s Power,’” and “Tata’s Baldrige Advantage: A Multinational’s Model for Performance Excellence.

    This success and the company’s use of TBEM continues today.

    S. Padmanabhan Shares Some Insights on Using the TBEM

    According to S. Padmanabhan (Paddy), who runs the Tata Business Excellence Program, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) recently was awarded “Iconic Company of the Decade” by India Business Leader Awards, named number one for customer satisfaction by its United Kingdom clients, and named number-one top employer by USA 2020.

    Within the Tata group, TCS has been a benchmark leader using TBEM, surpassing a 750-point (combined process and results scoring bands) milestone in its Baldrige-based 2019 assessments. As a comparison, see the 2019–2020 Scoring Band Descriptors (Word) that are part of the Baldrige Excellence Framework.

    I touched base with Paddy to see how the TBEM assessment process is working today and how this Baldrige-based model has brought value to the Tata companies.

    What is the purpose of TBEM?

    The purpose of the model was to have a consistent way “to face up to the significant economic changes being experienced in India specifically and the strong need to compete and excel among the world players,” according to a company presentation. “An institutionalized approach was the need of the hour to bring the hundred+ Tata entities together and become a globally recognized brand through world-class products and services.”

    How does the TBEM Baldrige-based assessment work?

    For the Baldrige-based, TBEM assessment, every Tata company that is a signatory to a brand agreement has to comply with achieving a total score in process and results items of 500 points within four years of signing the agreement.

    According to a company presentation, “Achieving 500 points was [once] considered a difficult task. . . . Within a few years of this being institutionalized, many companies started achieving this milestone.”

    Companies that score more than 650 come for assessments once every three years, companies with a score of 500 to 650 once every two years, and those below 500 every year. Tata companies are considered industry leaders with scores of 651 to 750, benchmark leaders with scores of 751 to 850, and world-class leaders with scores over 851, said Paddy.

    He added, “This serves the purpose for companies to continue to strive for excellence, as it is a never-ending journey, and even for achievers in the 650+ band, it is important to sustain their performance at high levels.”

    Paddy shared a quote from the chief executive officer of a Tata 650+ company,

    Some of the key benefits that our company has derived from using TBEM are focus on continuous improvement, process orientation, informed decision making, total picture, and measured risk taking. . . . Benefits have all paid dividends by changing the overall culture of the company. It has changed the organization from being merely impulsive and intuitive to being more informed and process oriented.

    According to a company presentation, for the mature Tata companies, “the assessment is a mirror. It gives them an opportunity to benchmark their processes and results and finally recognition and awards at a group level. . . . For newer companies, TBEM is a platform to learn from other Tata companies and improve processes and outcomes.”

    Said Paddy, all the five companies in the 650+ band have achieved significant success in their respective industries. “In many ways, the excellence has become a way of life and that is the biggest outcome and embodies the original philosophy of the then-group chairman in introducing TBEM for all Tata companies.”

    The TBEM assessment process is entirely conducted by Tata employees, and many companies encourage employees to conduct assessments as a part of their professional development, said Paddy.

    “For our employees, it is an aspirational leadership development platform. They get exposure to different industries and companies and an opportunity to interact with the leadership of companies. It is also a great networking opportunity,” he added.

    How have you shared learning/best practices across the company?

    Paddy said that Tata conducts learning missions to companies within the group and outside the group. Such learning is added to a knowledge portal that has more than 650+ practices covering all areas to address of the TBEM criteria from 50+ Tata companies, and it is available to all companies. In addition, every Wednesday, a webinar by a subject-matter expert is used to share expertise and knowledge; on May 13, 2020, Tata conducted its 250th webinar. Once every two months, a chief executive officer or a C-level executive of a Tata company conducts the webinar.

    Paddy said Tata also signed up for enterprise membership with APQC and organizational membership with ASQ for sharing and learning best practices and benchmarking global companies.

    What results have Tata companies achieved using the TBEM (Baldrige-based framework) as the basis for excellence efforts?

    According to Paddy, Tata companies have progressed despite the changing nature of business, the environment, and the market. He said, based on TBEM assessment scores, the group now has one Tata company as a benchmark leader, four as industry leaders, and twenty-four as emerging industry leaders.

    Group revenue was at $113 billion in FY2019, up from $110 billion in FY2018.

    “Our companies are becoming mature and striving to benchmark with the world’s best and aim for world-class performance in the chosen metrics,” he said. “This gives us an inspiration to go beyond what we can think of achieving now. . . . The journey is our destination.”

    Next steps for the TBEM assessments, according to a company presentation, are to customize engagements with Tata companies to suit an individual company’s context; to ensure data maturity in terms of availability, integrity, reliability, and accessibility; and to continue to explore best practices in the areas of data analytics, artificial intelligence, and the internet of things.

    Why do you think excellence matters in today’s economy?

    “Excellence as we understand it is not a destination at a point in time but a never-ending journey,” said Paddy. “An excellence framework like TBEM helps companies continuously introspect and hence increase the pace of change internally.”

    He added that the excellence framework helps companies focus on all key stakeholders and not just shareholders. “The emphasis on customers, workforce, society, and suppliers—apart from the shareholders—ensures balanced strategy, which does not get skewed by short-term focus on quarterly performances and enables companies to think long-term. In today’s times, this focus on the long-term and a balanced stakeholder focus are very crucial for the long-term success of companies.”


  4. The benefits of analyzing your competitors

    July 12, 2020 by BPIR.com Limited

    Nowadays, staying relevant in your industry is impossible without keeping track of and gaining an insight into the practices of your competitors. This explains why companies are increasingly outsourcing experts in the field to conduct competitive analyses on a routine basis and gather all the essential information about the situation on the market.

    While people generally think that competitive analysis is a major expense and a highly complex and time-consuming process, the truth is considerably different. Analyzing your competitors is an investment indeed, but you get exceptional value for the time and financial means you invest. Not only can you learn a lot by exploring your competitors’ business strategies, but you can also avoid making some serious mistakes your competitors have made.

    Some helpful hints on how to undertake competitiveness analysis are provided below.

    Prior to conducting the analysis
    Before you start with competitive analysis, it is of key importance to understand who precisely your competitors are and how you are going to compete with them. Define your brand clearly and visualize how you want it to fit into the market. Be confident about what you are offering and be clear with the features of your brand.

    What should you observe when analyzing your competitors?
    When conducting competitive analysis, one can track various parameters. Most often, these include products and services, pricing, staffing strategies, development speed, social media traffic and customer feedback, and promotion schedules. By collecting all this data, it is very easy to understand your competitive landscape, realize your strengths and weaknesses, and finally use the favorable opportunities to expand and improve your business while you avoid all the potential threats.

    A better understanding of the relevant market
    If you can be objective and completely unbiased while analyzing what both you and your competition can offer to current and prospective clients, you can easily detect the parts of your business that have to be changed to better adapt to the relevant market and the clients’ requirements. Competitive analysis is your chance to walk in a customer’s shoes and analyze your own and your competitors’ products and services from their perspective. You will be surprised by the findings most business owners obtain from doing this.

    Keyword building SEO strategy
    The great technological development in recent years has switched focus to the online sphere. Now more than ever you can use the full potential of the Internet to conduct research of your competitors’ websites, content, and social media and discover which keywords help them gain a high ranking. Then, you can use their keywords or create variations. Also, one of the viable solutions is to use the same keywords but with other, slightly different content. To help amateurs cope with digital marketing smoothly and hassle-free, numerous companies offering premium-quality digital marketing services have emerged.

    Recognizing a chance for a merger
    One of the benefits of analyzing your competitors is certainly an opportunity to recognize a chance for a merger. An analysis of this type helps business owners understand which products or services their customers need and what they have to offer. However, sometimes, an evident lack of resources presents a serious obstacle on the way. So, to increase customer satisfaction, business owners merge with their competitors to reach their goals.

    Identifying a market gap
    Competitive analysis can help you to easily spot a market gap. What does that exactly mean? By analyzing the competition, it is possible to detect the services and products that they provide but are not offered by your business. The sooner you spot the necessary changes you need to introduce, the better you will cope with the harsh competition on the market.

    You can learn from competitors’ mistakes
    Gaining your customers’ trust and earning a high reputation is directly related to the quality of the customer service you provide. Exploring the mistakes your competitors make through competitive analysis enables you to detect bad marketing strategies and reasons for negative customer feedback. Then, it is possible to recognize and introduce the necessary changes in your practices to achieve better results, stand out among competitors, keep your current customers, and gain some new clients on a regular basis.

    A safe road to a unique brand
    Though it is not the only factor that matters, competitive analysis can significantly help in creating a unique brand on the market. By analyzing your competitors, your aim should not be to replicate those that are successful, but to build on their successful practices and make yourself different enough to be able to stand out.

    What is it that you can offer to the target audience that will make you different from myriads of similar business owners operating in the same market? If you succeed in answering this question, you are on the right track to beat the harsh competition and gain a considerable number of satisfied customers who will prefer the unique products or services you offer.

    Final thoughts
    These are just some of the benefits of analyzing your competitors. If you conduct this analysis periodically, there will be no difficulties in tracking and following the latest trends on the market, quickly adapting to them, and always detecting changes in the needs, requirements, and preferences of your current and prospective clients.


    Author’s bio
    Carla Wilson is a freelance writer working for marketing companies such as Digital Dot New York. She has gained valuable experience in the field of marketing and hopes to pursue her career in that direction. Carla is also a mother of two and an owner of two small dogs.


  5. The E and C Question: Who Comes First – Employee or the Customer?

    July 2, 2020 by BPIR.com Limited

    So how genuine, are you really about ‘Customer First’?

    Is it Customer First or Employee First?

    These are questions that probably bother and confuse us.

    In this piece, let’s talk about customer first. If one is truly serious about it, is it just about developing customer insights, surveys, research, customer value mapping and so on? Or is there something more?

    Have you asked yourselves, “Does this activity benefit our customers? And if not, can you stop doing it?” At times, this calls for ‘Sacrificing’ something that you would have earlier ‘valued’ or perhaps something that is actually making money for the company.

    But if you don’t feel like you can make every sacrifice required yet, then let’s not talk about ‘Customer First’. Let’s not talk about treating our employees with maturity, dignity and honesty, when they can see quite clearly, that you are not serious about placing Customers First. What’s worse is that leaders would be viewed as hypocritical. The Corporate Values, displayed prominently in fancy frames, become meaningless.

    So are there companies that actually sacrifice profitability (and thereby, forfeit profits) at the cost of being true to their principle or motto of ‘Customer First’. Are there companies who truly ‘live their values’?

    Here’s an example from my own experience:

    Over these last few weeks, most companies have struggled to cope with COVID-19 pandemic related pressures, and e-commerce companies have just about begun operations. I placed an order with Amazon. Everything went well and my order got confirmed. But, a few days later, I received a call from Amazon to apologize that they cannot deliver the order and that the item ordered was unavailable and restocking was not expected in the near future.

    My expectation was that they would simply apologize for the inconvenience, offer the refund, and close the transaction.

    However, this was different. This caller, obviously an employee of Amazon:

    1. Was empowered to take a decision
    2. Had a basis for what he went on to offer i.e. there was a process and a policy in place
    3. Had a well-understood procedure to follow.

    The employee informed me that since it was their error, for which they are very apologetic, they would now send a replacement of a similar product. This product was being sent for the price of the original product, when it was actually Rs 2500 (around US$ 33) more expensive than the originally one. “Good service recovery”, I thought.

    This was a big sacrifice which was made to keep a loyal customer (me), truly loyal.

    To be honest, had they simply apologized and refunded the money, I would have been a bit disappointed, but given my past experiences with Amazon, I would have continued to place my orders and shown my Loyalty towards them. As a customer, I would have ‘sacrificed’ and perhaps overlooked the inconvenience, given that I am loyal to the Amazon Brand and Organization.

    I am sure we all have had similar experiences and stories to share.

    What is your view? Customer First or Employee First?


    PRASHANT HOSKOTÉ
    President and Lead L&S Custodian

    STRIKING IDEAS LLC
    email: prashant@striking-ideas.com
    website: striking-ideas.com
    the L&S platform loyaltyandsacrificehuddle.com