|Overview of Theory
a business tool has blossomed in the Eighties. Industrialists
tend to favour and uphold benchmarking in operational matters
and are in constant search for industrial leaders' efficiency
standards. The pursuance of operational level efficiency and
paying the less-than-required attention to strategic level
adjustment may result in a mismatch amongst the key management
systems in the company.
Qualitative Best Practice Benchmarking is an approach that
can transfer critical success factors across organizational
boundaries, industrial boundaries, national boundaries and
culture boundaries. The key concept is that the best practice
will be adjusted and adapted to the specific organizational
context, industrial context, national context and cultural
context of the recipient organizations. The recipient organizations
are therefore not straight jacketing the practices and efficiency
standards of other organizations. Besides the technical competence,
organizational strategies and leadership mind-set predominate
in this type of transfer.
In this series of case study, the Total Quality Management
framework developed by the European Foundation for Quality
Management (EFQM, 1996) is used as the theoretical framework
for selecting, analysing and reporting the Best Practices.
The EFQM Model advocates to isolate two groups of factors
in an organization; one called "Enablers" and the
other "Results". The Enablers are the factors that
cause superior business achievements and they are Leadership,
People Management, Policy and Strategy, Resources and Processes.
The Results are People Satisfaction, Customer Satisfaction,
Impact on Society and Business Results.
Leadership is the driving force for all the other Enablers
and it involves the behaviour of all management staff. Leadership
excellence comprises behaviour in six areas: initiating and
guiding quality movements, cultivating and sustaining quality
culture, recognizing and reinforcing positive behaviour, appropriate
and timely resources allocation, continuous information exchange
with customers and suppliers, and finally, the promotion and
dissemination of quality knowledge outside the organization.
People Management is another enabler that contributes to organizational
achievements and it comprises human resource planning, human
resource acquisition and maintenance, performance management,
employee commitment and empowerment, and communication channels
Under Policy and Strategy, the key concern is the quality
of the organizational objectives at all levels and the way
they are being achieved. It involves excellence in the three
key processes: Strategy Formulation, Strategy Operationalization,
and Strategy Renewal.
As far as Resource is concerned, the focus goes beyond the
usual financial and material aspect and is extended to information
resources, technology resources and customer and supplier
The final Enabler is Process. In short, Process represents
all value adding activities taken up by the organization.
It is where inputs are converted to outputs. It is important
to identify the processes that are critical to the success
of the organization, how they are managed, how they are updated
and improved, how innovative and creative are the process
improvements, and how benefits of the processes are evaluated.
A particular term "Best Practice" has been used
through this project and it is worth clarifying what exact
is meant by this term.
It is commonly held that "best" is a moving target
in modern society and it is contextual-specific or situational-specific.
The approach to defining "Best Practice" in the
present study follows that of Chevron's multi-level definition.
In the vocabulary adopted in this study, there are "good
ideas", "good practice" and "best practice"
and they are delineated by the following definitions:
(a) Good Ideas: unproven, but make sense;
(b) Good Practice: proven by one organization; and
(c) Best Practice: proven by many organizations.
Best Practice Companies
|The 30 companies
studied and reported in this project have all been externally
recognized as successful and outstanding organizations, majority
of which have won the Hong Kong Top Ten Brandnames Awards
of the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong in
the past four years.
|As regards the
study method, the team of consultants conducted for each company
a two-stage audit; starting with an organizational viability
and management system effectiveness audit, and followed by
an in-depth Enabler Analysis. The first stage provides the
information to pinpoint the particular functional best practice
that is critical for the success of the company and the second
stage focuses on the particular functional best practice,
uncovering the critical success enablers for benchmarking