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Reflection On Asia Pacific Quality Organisation’s Recent Success

Last year, NTPC celebrated 20 years of sustaining Business Excellence and ranks among a few of the APO member countries who have managed to sustain their Business Excellence journey for the last 20 years. Fiji and Singapore have the longest Business Excellence histories.
16 Feb 2019 12:05
Reflection On Asia Pacific Quality Organisation’s Recent Success
On the right is Bob Mitchell.

Business Excellence is about strengthening the management systems and processes of an organisation.

This is in a holistic and integrated manner to improve performance, increase productivity and growth, and create value for stakeholders.

Business Excellence is much more than having a quality system in place.

It is about achieving excellence in everything that an organisation does (including leadership, strategy, customer focus, information management, people and processes) and most importantly achieving superior business results.

In general, business excellence models have been developed by national bodies as a basis for award programmes.

For most of these bodies, the awards themselves are secondary in importance to the wide-spread take up of the concepts of business excellence.

This ultimately lead to improved national economic performance.

By far the majority of organisations that use these models do so for self-assessment, by which they can identify improvement opportunities, areas of strength.

They can use the model as a framework for future organisational development and continuous performance improvement

The Fiji Business Excellence Awards (FBEA) was introduced to promote business excellence in the country by providing a Framework or Criteria for assessment.

This is based on similar principles as other business excellence or quality awards used in other parts of the world.

Fiji’s milestone achievement

The Fiji National University’s National Training and Productivity Centre (NTPC), through the Department of Quality awards is tasked with promoting business excellence and productivity in Fiji.

The FNU now is home to the National Training and Productivity Centre, which is the National Productivity Organisation for the country.

The Fiji Business Excellence Awards or FBEA as it is commonly known was formerly known as the Fiji Quality Awards and was borne out of the 1995 Round Table Conference where representatives of the Unions, Employers and Government met to draw up a Roadmap for Fiji’s Productivity Movement.

It was here that the idea of implementing a BE Framework for Fiji was adopted into the Productivity Charter of 1995 and later in 2005.

Last year, NTPC celebrated 20 years of sustaining Business Excellence and ranks among a few of the APO member countries who have managed to sustain their Business Excellence journey for the last 20 years. Fiji and Singapore have the longest Business Excellence histories.

Since the Fiji Business Excellence Awards inception, approximately 254 awards have been presented to around 123 applicants over the last 20 years.

These organisations have benefitted immensely from their participation in the awards process.

They have continued to use the awards framework as an Organisational Self-Assessment tool for recognition.

24th Global Excellence Congress

The Global Organisational Excellence Congress which was held in Abu Dhabi on December 10-12, 2018 was a success.

The congress was organized by the Abu Dhabi International Centre for Organisational Excellence (of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry), Asia Pacific Quality Organisation (APQO), Global Benchmarking Network (GBN) and the Centre for Organisational Excellence Research (COER) (developers of the BPIR.com best practice resource).

Prior to the congress the Asia Pacific Quality Organisation (APQO) and Global Benchmarking Network’s (GBN) annual general meeting were held at the same venue.

These meetings brought together international experts from respective member countries for APQO and GBN to discuss and shape the future of quality and benchmarking.

His excellency Mohamed Helal Al Mheiri – Director General of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry, UAE welcomed all conference delegates who were from all corners of the world.

This was from as far away as Chile including the Pacific region, New Zealand, Tonga and Fiji.

There were more than 1000 delegates representing some 34 countries who had attended this conference and some notable speakers for this conference were; James Harrington, Past Chairman of the ASQ, chairman and chief executive officer of the Harrington Institute.

He is also the US (author of over 40 books covering all aspects of quality management and still going strong at 90-years-old with his recent work on innovation).

Harnek Singh, president, Asia Pacific Quality Organisation, Singapore Professor Mohamed Zairi, Executive chairman European Centre for Best Practice Ayed T. AlAmri, President – Saudi Quality Council, Ashish Khanna Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Managing Director and CEO, Tata Power Solar – India.

The panel discussion forum included experts on business excellence from various countries such as Singapore, Europe, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and India, Australia and New Zealand and the key discussion focused on the Role of Excellence Models in Nation Building.

About the Asia Pacific Quality Organisation (APQO)

The Asia Pacific Quality Organisation APQO is an autonomous, non-political, non-stock, non-profit, membership association with the purpose of promoting excellence in the practice of Quality domiciled in an Asia-Pacific region fixed by its Core Council.

Asia Pacific includes countries in Asia and those located near the Pacific Rim.

Fiji has been an active member for APQO since 2017 and has effectively contributed in the following areas; Council meetings, provided Assessors for the Global Performance Excellence Awards(GPEA), providing an Assessor in the Team ACE Competitions including assisting Fijian organisation in applying for recognition at the Global Performance Excellence Awards (GPEA).

Whilst Fiji’s membership with APQO has seen significant benefits in terms of recognition at the Global Excellence Awards and participation by the Gold winning team from the National Convention on Quality at the Team ACE Competitions. Other key benefits include;

What is the Global Performance Excellence Awards?

The Global Performance Excellence Awards (GPEA) (introduced in 2000 as IAPQA) is the only formal international recognition of performance or business excellence.

The programme is administered by the APQO.

In 2010, the name of this prestigious global award was changed from IAPQA to GPEA to reflect the evolution in the field of quality from a focus on product and service quality to a strategic focus encompassing overall organisational performance termed performance/organisational/business excellence.

The GPEA endeavors to bridge the cultural geographic and economic system gap of National Quality Awards (NQA).

Last year, GPEA recognised 30 role model organisations from 10 Asia and Pacific Rim Countries for achieving significant milestones on their business excellence journey.

These organisations had demonstrated commendable to world class performance required of the three categories of the APQO GPEA.

The GPEA which is primarily Baldrige or EFQM based provides a holistic approach to managing organisational success thru embracing of validated best practices.

The only organisation from Fiji that has been recognised for World Class Performance was Vodafone Fiji in 2017.

Today, GPEA is a strategic enabling tool for global performance excellence.

It helps to strengthen the strategies and performance of organisations both public, private and NGOs in order to succeed in the fast-evolving global market place.

The GPEA process promotes and strengthen awareness in performance excellence as an increasingly important tool in competitiveness towards global business success and sustainability.

Adopting best practices within a country or region are extremely important for raising organisational performance levels, the customer experience, and the standard of living.

This results in improving each countries or regions economic and business activity and driving GDP performance.

The GPEA process, includes an assessment by an international panel of experienced assessors, provides an excellent opportunity for winners of National Quality Awards to benchmark and better understand their opportunities for improvement and performance based on the Business Excellence Model.

GPEA Assessors

Assessors are an important part of the GPEA Award process who commit their knowledge, skills, and time to assess GPEA applicants.

They are predominantly experienced persons from across all sectors of the APQO member economies, including manufacturing, service, small business, health care, education, government, and non-profit.

These experts make a major contribution to the APQO’s vision, mission and efforts to recognize and promote performance/business excellence, and they benefit from the opportunity of networking and educational experience.

In 2018, Fiji had provided 5 Assessors for the Global Performance Excellence Awards of which 3 were from FNU and two from Private Sector. GPEA Assessors have the unique opportunity to explore examples of best practices, innovation, planning strategies, and approaches to engage customers and the workforce, which builds their professional acumen.

They also harness an ability to read an organisation, understand complex organisational issues and offer viable solutions.

These team of experts acquire are well positioned to help in the transfer of learning to their own organization and country.

Team ACE Competitions

The Team ACE Competition criteria is set on a stringent eight category items and key focuses are on areas of Impact on Productivity/ Value Creation, Sustainability/Standardisation, Innovation, Transformation Impact on organisation’s goals/objectives.

APQO had invited teams who were winners in their respective countries national team excellence / IQC/ QCC / team projects competition and provides opportunity for international recognition amongst the best of best via the APQO International ACE Team Awards. Champion teams that are aligned co-operate to achieve a common objective of an organisation are an important building block of organisational excellence.

An aligned team can motivate individuals to exceed all expectations and deliver many benefits to the organisation.

There are many types of teams (Lean, Improvement, Quality Circle, 6 Sigma, Kaizen, Innovation, and Value Creation to name some). Regardless of the type of team or the team based methodology adopted team’s projects are usually focused on problem solving and process improvement resulting in improved cycle time, reduced cost, better quality or service performance, new product/service.

I was very humbled to be selected to be part of the International Team ACE Competitions Judging Panels.

This was my second time to participate as a Lead Assessor in the 2nd APQO International Team ACE Competitions.

This was a great achievement for Fiji as we have been recognised for our contributions at such esteemed competition where experts from the member countries are selected based on their knowledge and experience in the field of quality.

A total of 44 teams from the Asia Pacific rim member countries participated at the 2018 APQO International Team ACE Competitions and were recognised in various categories.

ACE is a highly participative and interactive team excellence competition designed to recognise teams that demonstrate common values and goals imparting a powerful sense of shared purpose where they combine talents and skills to achieve new levels of performance.

Finally, I must acknowledge the support from the FNU Vice Chancellor Professor Nigel Healey and the Director for NTPC Isimeli Tagicakiverata for their unwavering support towards my trip to attend the APQO Conference

  • Bob Mitchell is the Manager Quality Awards National Training and Productivity Centre, Fiji National University.


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