Originally posted on SPRING Singapore

1- Four organisations have clinched top honours for their commitment towards the business excellence journey, achieving outstanding business performance. The winners are two local home-grown brands and two public sector agencies. They will receive their trophies from Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) at the Business Excellence Awards Ceremony on 14 October.

2- The Immigration & Checkpoints Authority of Singapore (ICA) and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) have been 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. Jumbo Group of Restaurants Pte Ltd has been awarded the People Excellence Award (PEA), while Sheng Siong Group Ltd was conferred the Innovation Excellence Award (IEA), in recognition of their exceptional performance in the respective categories.

3- All four winners share a visionary leadership committed to innovation, people development and customer-centric excellence, which has resulted in greater productivity and business growth. They will join the ranks of 100 past Business Excellence Award winners that have distinguished themselves in the various aspects of excellence.

4- “As we celebrate the achievements of the winning organisations, we are encouraged to see over 1,500 organisations embarking on this Business Excellence journey. Amidst the uncertain global economic environment, it becomes even more crucial for organisations to strengthen their business fundamentals and be future-ready to take on any challenges that come their way. Organisations must strive towards excellence to be globally competitive. This can be achieved through continuous learning, innovation, investing in people, and sound management practices,” said Professor Cham Tao Soon, Chairman, SQA Governing Council.

2015 Business Excellence Award Winners

5- The first SQA SC winner, the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA), has been continuously innovating, leveraging technology to develop and deploy robust border security and identification processes and systems. With an emphasis on creating win-win partnerships for better Customer Experience, ICA involves both internal stakeholders (officers and work units) and external partners (suppliers, academia and customers) to co-create high performance innovation projects. These include the Application for Passports on-line (APPLES), Enhanced Immigration Automated Clearance System (eIACS), iCollect and Biometric Identification of Motorbikers 2 (BIKES 2). As the world’s firsts, these innovation projects testify to the strong innovation culture in the organisation. ICA has also set a global benchmark for border management excellence, and was awarded the inaugural “Excellence in Border Management Award” by BORDERPOL last year.

6- The second SQA SC winner, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) is one of the leanest emergency organisations internationally. Despite this, it has demonstrated a strong innovation culture, leveraging technology and state-of-the-art equipment to strengthen its emergency response capabilities. This includes developing solutions internally, such as the Light Fire Attack Vehicle, 4th Generation Red Rhino (LF4G) and the Responders’ Performance Module. The SCDF also believes in equipping its officers with diverse skills to respond to emergencies. For example, SCDF’s 995 Operations Centre Specialists are trained to coach callers in administering CPR for cardiac arrest before SCDF arrives. Beyond national shores, SCDF has also participated in numerous overseas rescue missions. SCDF’s Operation Lionheart Contingent has obtained the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) External Classification as a Heavy Urban Search Rescue (USAR) Team, being the first in Asia to attain this classification in 2008, and later recertified in 2013.

7- Winner of the People Excellence Award, JUMBO Group of Restaurants, puts people at the heart of its business. Adopting a people-centric philosophy, it believes that by focusing on its employees’ well-being first, they in turn will take good care of their customers. The company places strong emphasis on delivering superior customer experience and service excellence. This is validated by the increase in number of compliments received from 79% in 2012 to 84% in 2014. Given the manpower challenges in the food services sector, the company has introduced a wide-range of innovative, progressive people practices to enhance its hiring and retention practices. JUMBO distinguishes itself from its competitors by providing bonus payouts and CPF contributions to attract casual workers. This group of workers forms a significant 22% of JUMBO’s existing workforce. The leadership’s ability and commitment to identify talented employees and internally groom them for higher positions through its in-house FAST Track Programme has also helped JUMBO stay ahead of the curve.

8- Since its inception, the Innovation Excellence Award winner, Sheng Siong Group, has placed creation of value for customers at the heart of its innovation endeavours. Noting the difficulties faced by customers using conventional self-checkout machines at other retailers, Sheng Siong became the first supermarket to develop a hybrid self-checkout system. This allowed scanning of products to be done by the cashiers, while customers use the self-service kiosk to make payment by cash or electronic means. This has resulted in 33 man-hour savings per day, while replacing five traditionally-manned counters with three hybrid counters. The impetus to drive productivity has also seen Sheng Siong introducing several back-end process innovations such as the Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) technology. Adapted from the fishing industry, this technology keeps fish fresh for a longer time, from 2 to 7 days, and also improves productivity in the processing of fish, resulting in the reduction of manpower required by 50%.

Building Operational Excellence Capabilities within Manufacturing Industry

9- Recognising challenges faced by industries in this time of economic restructuring, coupled with intensifying regional competition, enterprise development agency SPRING Singapore has partnered industry players within the manufacturing and construction industries to raise their levels of efficiency and quality.

10- Within the manufacturing industry, SPRING has developed a diagnostic toolkit based on the Operational Excellence model. Endorsed by key industry partner, the Singapore Precision Engineering and Technology Association (SPETA), the diagnostic toolkit provides a developmental roadmap for SMEs to enhance their competencies and capabilities, and deliver consistent, sustainable performance. The toolkit embeds the fundamentals of business excellence and the stringent requirements MNCs and large organisations impose on their suppliers.

11- This came after a series of consultations with SMEs and MNCs to understand the key challenges and attributes larger organisations looked out for in their suppliers. Operational Excellence was identified as a key driver for overall business growth within the manufacturing industry, as it focused on managing the entire supply chain – from procurement, production, materials management to delivery. SMEs that adopt the Operational Excellence model would be in a more favourable position to be the supplier of choice for large organisations and MNCs.

12- A network of industry experts, honing years of manufacturing experience, has also been established to guide SMEs in diagnosing and strengthening their capabilities in operational excellence. A pilot will be conducted within the Precision Engineering sector, across 10 companies.

13- RUI, a precision engineering company, has benefitted from this pilot initiative, Mr Kelvin Lee, Director of RUI said, “The diagnostic exercise has helped us identify our operational gaps. We subsequently embarked on a 5S system and data analysis to improve our business processes and our productivity. This initiative has helped RUI reposition the company to retain its competitiveness and achieve greater business growth.”

Boosting Competitiveness through Integrated BE-ISO9001 Assessment

14- The construction industry, together with the rest of the Built Environment industry, is also undergoing rapid transformation. The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and industry players have placed strong emphasis on quality management practices within the Built Environment industry to ensure productivity, sustainability and to achieve health, safety and environmental standards. The adoption of standards such as ISO 9001 for quality management systems is a requirement by BCA for companies to be registered in the higher-tiered Contractors Registration System, which serves the procurement needs of government agencies, statutory boards and other public sector organisations.

15- In a boost to increase growth and competitiveness of the Built Environment enterprises, SPRING and BCA are embarking on an integrated assessment of both Business Excellence and ISO 9001 standards. The integrated assessment will provide companies a more comprehensive approach towards building their capabilities and developing sustainable long-term plans, ultimately working towards achieving a superior performance and surpassing industry benchmarks. This initiative will be piloted next year, after further consultations with the industry.

16- Mr Stephen Wong, Managing Director, Davis Langdon KPK, welcomed this initiative. “We look forward to embarking on the integrated BE and ISO 9001 assessment as it provides Davis Langdon KPK the opportunity to internally align our processes with a strategic view on addressing future challenges. While ISO 9001 has become an industry requirement, the BE framework has transformed the thinking of the company into one that is excellence-oriented.”

17- “We are encouraged to see more companies embarking on the business excellence journey and seeing the benefits translate down to their people and customers. SPRING Singapore will continue to work closely with the industry to understand their unique challenges and find solutions to increase the growth and competitiveness of enterprises. For the manufacturing industry, enterprises can now look forward to the new diagnostic toolkit to strengthen their capabilities and achieve operational excellence, “said Ms Choy Sauw Kook, SPRING’s Assistant Chief Executive (Quality & Excellence).

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