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Building bridges across global business excellence communities

Enterprise Singapore plays an active role in international organisations that promote business excellence around the world.

An Asian Productivity Organization Center of Excellence workshop to develop a Business Excellence consultant manual.

AS part of its mission to help local companies develop their capabilities, Enterprise Singapore (ESG) participates in international efforts to promote business excellence. For instance, the government agency is a founding member of the Global Excellence Model (GEM) Council.

Established in 2000, the GEM Council explores opportunities for collaboration and shares knowledge on business excellence. It is made up of countries or regions with well-established business excellence initiatives, including Singapore, Australia, Europe, India, Japan, Latin America, Mexico and the United States.

As the administrator of the Business Excellence (BE) Awards, ESG's affiliation with the GEM Council ensures that Singapore's BE Framework is aligned to the similar initiatives around the world to ensure that it maintains a rigorous assessment and certification process. The GEM Council meets annually to discuss trends and issues that impact excellence models.

Among other benefits, being part of this platform opens up global opportunities for ESG to network and strengthen its BE Framework. "For GEM Council, the members convene annually to share their knowledge and experience in the development and management of the Business Excellence Framework and initiative. This allows us to keep pace with international developments and ensures that our BE Framework is updated on the latest management trends and practices," said Patrick Lim, director, Business and Service Excellence, ESG.


ESG was also appointed by the Asian Productivity Organization (APO) to act as a Center of Excellence (COE) for business excellence in 2009. The APO is a regional intergovernmental organisation whose mission is to contribute to the socioeconomic development of Asia and the Pacific through enhancing productivity. Singapore was the first COE appointed by the APO.

In this role, ESG helps APO member economies to strengthen their business excellence initiatives through the sharing of expertise.

It also helps to develop the capabilities of business excellence assessors and practitioners in member countries, as well as supports them in developing business excellence and quality award frameworks.

Organisations in Singapore benefit from ESG's COE status as they are able to access valuable resources, networks and platforms to improve their business performance and learn about international best practices.

In addition, they gain global recognition as Singapore's Business Excellence initiative becomes a recognised brand in the region. Reflecting this, ESG has over the years received numerous requests for Singapore-based organisations, from both the public and private sectors, to go overseas to share their business excellence journey.

"The recognition by the Asian Productivity Organization to act as a Centre of Excellence is a strong testimony of Singapore's efforts and achievements in business excellence. This enables our BE certified or BE award winning organisations to gain greater international recognition. Hence, the BE's Mark of Excellence would help position these organisations as preferred partners in business or trade between APO member countries, or to gain access into regional markets," said Mr Lim.

Through both the GEM Council and APO, ESG is able to improve Singapore's BE initiative and also strengthen the knowledge and capabilities of its own volunteer assessors and community.

Added Mr Lim: "Enterprise Singapore's involvement in the GEM Council and APO COE helps to increase the brand equity of Singapore's BE initiative, as well as reinforces Singapore's reputation as a thought leader in the global BE arena."

Global Excellence Model (GEM) Council

Enterprise Singapore is a founding member of the GEM Council, which was established in 2000 to share knowledge and facilitate collaborations around business excellence models. The first meeting of the council took place in October 2000 with GEM founding members AQC (Australia), BNQP (USA), EFQM (Europe), JQA (Japan), SAEF (S Africa; defunct in 2005) and SQA (Singapore).

The GEM Council meets annually at the premises of one of its members.

Some of the key activities of the GEM Council include:

  • Maintaining a leading position on excellence models
  • Sensing business trends and external factors which impact excellence models
  • Creating a global fraternity in the field of excellence
  • Exploring opportunities for new products and activities
  • Coordinating and sharing specific excellence award activities
  • Agreeing on consistent public communications on organisational excellence.

The Asian Productivity Organization

The Asian Productivity Organization (APO) is an intergovernmental organisation committed to improving productivity in the Asia-Pacific region. Established in 1961, the APO contributes to the sustainable socioeconomic development of the region through policy advisory services, acting as a think tank, and undertaking smart initiatives in the industry, agriculture, service, and public sectors.

The APO assists member economies in formulating national strategies for enhanced productivity and through a range of institutional capacity-building efforts, including research and centres of excellence (COEs) in member countries. ESG was also appointed as APO's first COE in 2009. APO membership is open to countries that are members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

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