Business Excellence is often described as outstanding practices in managing the organization and achieving results, all based on a set of fundamental concepts or values.
These practices have evolved into models for how a world class organization should operate. These models have been developed and continue to evolve through extensive study of the practice and values of the world’s highest performing organizations.
Since the 1990s there has been a general decline in award applications. However there has been an increasing trend for organizations to apply these models and integrate the principles and practice with their day-to-day operations thereby achieving the benefits business excellence brings. Find out more about who uses these models.
What are business excellence models?
Business excellence models are frameworks that when applied within an organization can help to focus thought and action in a more systematic and structured way that should lead to increased performance. The models are holistic in that they focus upon all areas and dimensions of an organization, and in particular, factors that drive performance. These models are internationally recognized as both providing a framework to assist the adoption of business excellence principles, and an effective way of measuring how thoroughly this adoption has been incorporated.
Several business excellence models exist world-wide. While variations exist, these models are all remarkably similar. The most common include;
Baldrige (MBNQA) – Used in over 25 countries including US and NZ
European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) – Used throughout Europe
Singapore Quality Award Model – Singapore
Japan Quality Award Model – Japan
Canadian Business Excellence Model – Canada
Australian Business Excellence Framework (ABEF) – Australia
The most popular and influential model in the western world is the one launched by the US government called the Malcolm Baldrige Award Model (also commonly known as the Baldrige model, the Baldrige criteria, or The Criteria for Performance Excellence). More than 25 countries base their frameworks upon the Baldrige criteria.
The Baldrige model consists of practices that are incorporated into six Approach categories plus a Results category consisting of –
Customer and Market Focus
Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management
The Baldrige Values include:
Organizational and Personal Learning
Valuing Employees and Partners
Focus on the Future
Managing for Innovation
Management by Fact
Focus on Results and Creating Value
The EFQM model consists of six process enablers and one results category:
Policy and Strategy
Partnerships and Resources
Key Performance Results
The fundamental concepts include:
Leadership and constancy of purpose
Management by processes and facts
People development and involvement
Continuous learning, innovation and improvement
In general, business excellence models have been developed by national bodies as a basis for award programs. For most of these bodies, the awards themselves are secondary in importance to the wide-spread take up of the concepts of business excellence, which ultimately lead to improved national economic performance.
Often awards programs operate at a local, regional and national level to recognize and celebrate the achievement of all levels of organizational maturity. It is through these award programs that an organization can be assessed and justifiably claim to operate at World Class levels of performance. Awards are usually only given to those organizations that have been assessed as “excellent” through a rigorous awards process using independent teams of evaluators to assess award applicants.
It was recently estimated that there are at least 76 countries operating a business excellence award program at a national level.
Who uses business excellence / models?
Organizations across the world are using these business excellence models as a basis for continuous performance improvement.
In the US nearly two million copies of the Malcolm Baldrige Model have been distributed since the award’s launch in 1988, and this does not include copies that are available in books, state and local award programs, or those downloaded from the web.
In Europe alone the European Foundation for Quality Management believes that at least 30,000 organizations are using the EFQM model. The EFQM’s figure was based on the number of EFQM members, the members of its national partners, and those organizations that they know are using the model in their business.