Quality, as known by most organizations, changed rapidly in the 1980s. Because of the flourishing Japanese concerted efforts, industries in the U.S started discovering competitive advantages brought about by quality, as well as by the way the lack of it could occasion business end. Customers demanded quality (Valentine, 2012). Competitors responded to this demand and businesses turned to Total Quality Management (TQM) to bolster their overall performance. Initiatives of performance improvement and customers’ expectations increased, and this made quality evolve to organization-wide effort from product-specific focus, from distinct manufacturing function towards strategic business idea. The expanding quality function was accompanied with the new-fangled practices regarding continuous improvement.
The early 1990s and later 1980s saw many countries formulate programs that sought to recognize inventive and effective quality practices. Japan started honoring excellence practices long in the 1950s. Award programs went through the continuous improvements both in administration and in design. Organizations across the world pursued TQM, and industries recognized that such awards offered tools and models for implementing benchmarking, best practices, quality strategy, performing self-assessments, and eventually, and achieving improvements. Award criterions for established and successful programs are improving reflecting quality arena changes. Regional and national award criteria involve strategic content.
Malcolm Baldrige Award recognizes American organizations in education, non-profit, healthcare, and business sectors for excellent performance. It is the single official performance recognition of both private and public American organizations awarded by the U.S. President in order to bolster competitiveness and TQM practices for the U.S firms (Besterfield, 2003). It is administered by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which strived in the definition of quality performance through the development of core principles of quality management, such as learning and continuous improvement, employee satisfaction, future planning, leadership, business results, citizenship, leadership, market and customer focus, customer-driven quality, and company responsibility. Baldrige administrators are convinced that such core principles constitute a performance excellence framework (Seymour, 1996).
The Baldrige model consists of leadership triad – market and customer focus, leadership, and strategic planning categories, and results into triad – business results, process management, and human resources categories. It provides a model, which demonstrates quality management improvement. This model is refined yearly with chief improvements implemented biennially. This award aims at promoting performance excellence awareness. It also helps in sharing of performance strategies and the benefits accruing from them. For an organization to receive this award, it must ensure continuous improvement, especially in the delivery of goods and/or services. Furthermore, it must demonstrate effective and efficient operations, as well as provide a way, through which engagement and response to customers, as well as other stakeholders, is conducted, since no specific services or products are given the award.
Fourteen main European companies established European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) after recognizing the significance of goods quality performance in 1988. European Commission endorsed the formation of EFQM. By 1991, this body formed European Quality Award. This program was designed to honor stupendous European businesses. It was a regional plan, which encompasses 16 countries, such as Slovenia, Portugal, Russia, Czech Republic, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Italy, Hungary, Austria, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Turkey, unlike the other awards (Vokurka, Stading, and Brazeal, 2000).
The European Quality award is similar to Malcolm Baldrige award. However, its criterion is comprised of results and enablers. Quality improvement enablers consist of strategy and policy, processes and resources, and people management and leadership. When enablers are implemented effectively, they affect business results, society, customer satisfaction, and people satisfaction categories (Kobjoll, 2000). This award assists and stimulates European organizations to improve employee and customer satisfaction, business results, and effect on the society. It aims at supporting the European managers’ concerted efforts of initiating TQM and attaining a global cutting edge. Leadership is anchored on promotion and support of TQM and inspiration. People management helps to harness employees’ full potential. It aims at financial success, stakeholder satisfaction, objective achievement, and effect on the society.
The Canadian Industry Ministry established Canada Awards for Business Excellence back in 1984. It reflected the Malcolm Baldrige Award concept. This award was then released five years later in 1989. The Canada National Quality Institute uses this award in honoring continuous TQM and quality improvements in the Canadian organizations. This award relies upon a continuous improvement guide called The Roadmap to Excellence in place of a framework-linking award criterion. It aims at ensuring that it fulfills its obligations, especially to the society and stakeholders. People’s involvement and continuous learning are equally given premium (Laszlo, 1999).
Canadian organizations use the Canadian Business Excellence Framework as a management tool for measuring organizational excellence, as well as an adjudication of Canada Excellence Awards. This framework involves seven categories. These are leadership, planning, customer focus, people focus, business performance, suppliers’ partner focus, and process management. It aims at long-term excellence and improvement. Involvement leadership with primary focus especially on market place, customers, and other stakeholders are given premium. Teamwork and cooperation permeate this framework with particular emphasis on process management that is prevention-based. Decision-making adopts a factual approach.
It provides an Australian Quality Council certified model recognized by Australian Commonwealth Government. Australian Quality Council is the topmost organization charged with the responsibility of quality management. It was established in 1993, as a merger of TQM Institute, Enterprise Australia, Quality Society of Australia, and Quality Awards (Flood, 1994). Six more organizations joined later further heartening Australian industries’ quality performance. The objective of this award program revolves around developing and deploying contemporary and comprehensive best practices and quality principles body. SAI Global administers this award. It helps to focus on values, as well as sustainable outcomes and results. Organizations are able to behave in an environmentally, socially, and ethically responsible manner. Performance is improved through the use of knowledge, information, and data in order to comprehend variability, as well as bolster operational and strategic decision-making.
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Quality performance is measured in seven distinct categories; they are: market and customer focus, leadership, knowledge and information, people, innovation and improvement, process management, and sustainability and success. This framework is anchored in eight excellence principles. Leading by example is given emphasis in order to provide vivid direction, sustain goals achievement, and construct organizational alignment (Porter, Tanner, 2004). It provides an avenue to understand what customers and markets value in driving organizational strategy in order to design and implement continuous system improvement. It aims at valuing and developing people’s capability, releasing resourcefulness, skills, and creativity in changing and improving the organization. It helps to develop adaptability, responsiveness, and agility that are anchored on a continua learning, innovation, and improvement culture. The Australian excellence framework has bolstered emphasis on important multicultural management (Vokurka, Stading, and Brazeal, 2000).
Singapore Quality Award (SQA) is a framework that is used as the basis in assessing organizations in Singapore. It aims at setting the highest quality standards, as well as business excellence. This awards aims at establishing Singapore as a country, which is committed towards world-class and beneficial business excellence. SPRING Singapore administers this framework. Furthermore, this framework has seven categories: leadership, planning, information, people, processes, customers, and results. This excellence structure is premised upon the certain concepts and core values, such as customer-driven quality, agility, innovation focus, valuing partners and people, customer-driven quality, visionary leadership, results orientation, systems perspective, societal responsibility, knowledge-driven system, and systems perspective (Brown, Patrickson, 2003).
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The Malcolm Baldrige award bolsters its quality model through continuously analyzing the applicants’ feedback and then making the requisite adjustments. The change history involving Malcolm Baldrige award exemplifies the significance of business results rating. When it was established initially, it did not attach substantial weight towards business results. TQM does not guarantee better profits. Today, market and customer focus, and business results account for half of Malcolm Baldrige award’s model weighting. In spite of changes in management approaches, customer expectations, and economic pressures, quality awards persist in providing the organizations with contemporary and comprehensive quality practices and principles. With the regional and national quality awards being periodically updated and reviewed, they will continue evolving and maturing.
As these award processes evolve, an organizational performance and quality assessment model will emerge. This model is not every problem panacea. Competitive advantage is an individual business infrastructure and it cannot be achieved through replication of quality award models. Instead, such award programs should be used as a basis for encouraging and assessing TQM within the world marketplace. This essay has demonstrated that, indeed, results are significant in the implementation of quality endeavors.
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