Excellence is defined as being outstanding or extremely good. A business is defined as an organization or enterprising entity engaged in commercial, industrial, or professional activities.
The combination of those two leads us to the derivation that the path Business Excellence (BE) is a path taken by businesses on a journey towards implementing and following outstanding business practices in the discharge of their duty. But it is much more than just having an outstanding quality process in place. It means achieving excellence in whatever the company does, from leadership to sales, and from procurement to end deliverables, all the while achieving superior business results.
The modern-day understanding about BE is that it applies not just to one or two core areas, but all the areas of a business undertaking. What does this mean?
It means very simply that it is not enough to just look into customers or owners but to make sure that all the stakeholders are taken care of. Stakeholders are members of every group involved with a business in any way without whose support the business would cease to exist. Anyone who is impacted by the business is a stakeholder of the business, thus it includes, customers, employees, suppliers, society, government, environment, shareholders, lenders and investors. A truly excellent business is one which caters to everyone’s needs and leaves them no room for complaint.
So, is there a framework which helps organisations to achieve BE?
The answer is yes. We have something called Business Excellence Models (BEMs) which guide us towards achieving BE.
These models were first known as Total Quality Management (TQM) models. Today they are referred to as BEMs to signify the importance of excellence in every aspect of the business, not just process and product quality.
So how exactly do these models work?
BPMs help organisations to diagnose and assess their strengths and areas for improvement and guide the business managers on what to do next. It provides senior management with a holistic method with which to manage the business. In the Middle East, Europe and Africa (EMEA Region) most of the companies and Governments use the EFQM Model (European Foundation for Quality Management). One may be inclined to ask, why do we need these models? And who would be able to make the most of it?
Research shows that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) obtain benefits more quickly than large organisations as they can move quickly and make changes to how a business is run. I have listed a few benefits of BEMs below:
- BEMs help organizations to understand how well all the different functions, units, processes, systems are working together to produce the desired business results and successful customer outcomes. This helps managers and employees to understand their business better and make better decisions.
- BEMs help managers and employees to have a common viewpoint on the health of their organization and the key issues that are faced. This enables managers and employees to unite together to tackle the issues and move the organization forward with the congruence of purpose.
- BE helps organizations to address various business challenges. ‘Strategic Planning’ helps to address changes in the business environment such as the financial crisis. ‘Workforce focus’ helps to address human resources, cultural and social issues. ‘Operations focus’ helps to address multiple legal requirements and international standards. ‘Leadership’ helps to address accountability, corporate governance, environmental and societal issues.
Assessments for the many awards that exist for businesses around the world use BPMs to score the contestants. Hence, BPMs help to not only improve but also to evaluate the progress of businesses towards BE.
I would also like to point out that BE is a journey and not the destination. It is pertinent to note the famous quote of the Ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Mohamad bin Rashid, “In the race for excellence, there is no finish line”.
I would like to end by suggesting that if you are interested in pursuing BE, then don’t forget to use the BPMs available to evaluate and identify methods of improvement. Further, in case you believe you need external help on your BE journey, please do not hesitate to contact Leap Business Excellence and we will be very delighted to help. Our goal is to help set SMEs on the “path of excellence”.