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Updating a roadmap for excellence

The Business Excellence Framework is being refreshed to address an evolving commercial landscape.

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Ms Choy Sauw Kook, Spring's assistant chief executive (quality & excellence), said that the BE framework aims to help organisations assess the stage they are at on the excellence journey and what they can do to achieve a higher level of performance.

SIX Singapore organisations were honoured last week for their superior performance and commitment to excellence under Spring Singapore's Business Excellence (BE) framework. The framework provides organisations with a roadmap to achieving outstanding results. Participants are measured against international benchmarks in order to obtain external perspectives of the organisations' strengths and areas for improvement.

The winners received their trophies from S Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) at the Business Excellence Awards Ceremony on Oct 27. The awards are administered by the SQA Governing Council and managed by Spring.

Hwa Chong Institution was conferred the Singapore Quality Award with Special Commendation (SQA SC). It is the highest accolade recognising organisations that have achieved the pinnacle of business excellence.

Meanwhile, the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and DBS Bank were awarded the Singapore Quality Award (SQA), while the National Library Board (NLB) and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) received the Innovation Excellence Award (I-Award).

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Another government agency, Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), was the sole recipient of the People Excellence Award (PE Award).

According to Spring, all six winners demonstrated outstanding management practices, with a visionary leadership committed to innovation, people development and excellence in customer service. "They are now reaping the rewards of greater productivity and business growth as a result of the investment they have put in," the agency said in a statement.

In response to receiving the I-Award, a spokesman for NLB said: "NLB's business excellence journey has helped us to thoroughly examine our processes and benchmark our achievements against that of top innovative organisations. In addition, it helps us to obtain external perspectives of NLB's strengths and uncover areas for improvement."

These companies will join the ranks of 106 past Business Excellence Awards winners that have distinguished themselves in the various aspects of business excellence.

"As Singapore progresses into the next phase of economic development, business excellence plays a greater role in helping organisations strengthen business fundamentals so that they can remain agile and seize growth opportunities," said Cham Tao Soon, chairman of the SQA Governing Council.

Choy Sauw Kook, Spring's assistant chief executive (quality & excellence), said that the BE framework aims to help organisations assess the stage they are at on the excellence journey and what they can do to achieve a higher level of performance. "This is because the BE framework includes business fundamentals spanning leadership, customers, strategy, people, processes, knowledge, learning, innovation and sustaining outstanding results; all of which are critical drivers for business excellence," she said.

A RELEVANT FRAMEWORK

Since its launch over 20 years ago, more than 1,700 organisations have embarked on the business excellence journey. In the past three years alone, the number of SMEs benefitting from the BE initiative has increased by more than 60 per cent.

As the business landscape evolves, Spring regularly updates the BE initiative to ensure its continued relevance and robustness. This year, the BE framework will be enhanced with greater focus on people development and innovation capabilities. By using the refreshed framework, organisations will be better able to attract and retain talent, and remain nimble in the face of a challenging environment.

"The BE framework is reviewed regularly to keep it up to date with fast-changing business trends and economic landscape. This ensures that organisations can keep pace with new business fundamentals in their effort to seize new opportunities, thereby ensuring its relevance in today's business environment," said Ms Choy. "The review of the BE framework will place greater focus on people development and innovation capabilities. We are doing this review as management trends are changing; hence we need to help companies address the changes taking place in the business ecosystem."

Under the current system, companies can apply for the Singapore Quality Class (SQC), which covers business fundamentals for excellence, or pursue any of the three niche frameworks for people, innovation and service directly. Following the review however, the four frameworks will be streamlined into one. From next year, organisations will have to get SQC-certified as a base foundation, before choosing to pursue one of the niche frameworks.

"The SQC will also be repositioned as a single mark of excellence for organisations which embark on the BE journey. Under this single BE certification identity, SQC will continue to serve as a trust factor for organisations, allowing them to instil confidence in their stakeholders and customers, and distinguish themselves from their competitors," said Ms Choy.

The enhanced BE framework and repositioning of the SQC will take effect for BE certification applications received from the first quarter of 2017 and the BE Awards cycle in 2017. To help organisations during this transition period, Spring will be extending additional support to assessors and organisations applying in 2017. New logos for the SQC have also been unveiled as part of the changes.

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