National Quality Award - Comprehensive Gauge of Enterprises

10:31:55 AM | 7/6/2019

The Ceremony of the National Quality Award 2018 is set to take place in June 2019. Vietnam Business Forum has an interview with Mr. Tran Van Vinh, Director General of the Directorate for Standards, Metrology and Quality, the Ministry of Science and Technology. Le Hien reports.

Could you please tell us about the meaning of the National Quality Award to businesses?

All companies seek profit on the basis of satisfying the highest needs of customers and parties with related interests and rights (such as society, community, investors and authorities, etc.). Thus, they should always improve their operations to enhance competitiveness on a key principle of raising the quality of products, goods and services. To do this, they can apply various tools and methods such as ISO 9000, TQM, KAIZEN and 5S. From these management systems and improvement tools, world-leading quality managers have integrated them into a model with improvement criteria mandatory to operations of an organization or enterprise such as the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBA) of the United States and the Asia - Pacific Global Performance Excellence Award (GPEA) of the Asia Pacific Quality Organization. The National Quality Award of Vietnam is also based on approaches, evaluation criteria and methods of these awards. Therefore, the award can be considered a model towards operational excellence of enterprises.

In addition to being honored by the Prime Minister, candidate companies also have access to modern self-assessment model tools, which can help them complete their management systems by successfully applying and maintaining models, tools, advanced management systems and best practices in a comprehensive and methodical way adopted by many advanced countries. Joining the National Quality Award is an opportunity for them to comprehensively review activities, recognize strengths and weaknesses, thereby helping them quantify their capabilities and degrees of meeting requirements of customers and other stakeholders to have operational improvement solutions.

The National Quality Award is based on seven evaluation criteria. Could you give more details on these seven criteria and what are the most important factors for businesses to approach and fulfil?

The National Quality Award is adapted from the model and seven criteria of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award of the United States. This is essentially a self-improvement model for businesses to achieve quality management excellence. The criteria are based on modern management principles and methods such as leadership vision, customer-centered, improved knowledge of organizations and individuals, increased value of stakeholders, focus on the future, management for innovation, event-based management, social responsibility, focus on results and value generation, and system-based management purpose.

The criteria of the National Quality Award are the values that shape behaviors of organizations and enterprises towards highly effective operations and the foundation for integrating requirements of operating the entire process with operating results of organizations and businesses.

The National Quality Award criteria are also the basis to guide organizations and enterprises to consider and evaluate their operational efficiency. These criteria have three important roles in improving their competitiveness: Helping improve the operating capacity, reality and outcome of organizations; facilitating information on and sharing of best practices among different types of organizations; and being used as a working tool for the perception and management of operations as well as planning and implementation.

In order to motivate them to work towards operational excellence, the seven criteria of the National Quality Award are designed to help them use a holistic approach to operational management.

In practice, quality awards, which are already beyond the framework of quality contests, become an effective tool for improving business competitiveness based on active self-improvement and benchmarking in comparison with competitors, and application of best practices.

The National Quality Award includes seven criteria such as role of business leaders; operational strategy; customer and market-centered policy; knowledge measurement, analysis and management; human resource management and development; process management; and operating results. From one to six are process chain/operation criteria. Criterion 7 is the result criterion. The scoring system of seven criteria is mainly based on results.

What are limitations of Vietnamese businesses relative to foreign firms when they apply these criteria?

The evaluation process reveals some limitations of Vietnamese businesses in self-assessing their operating models based on the seven National Quality Award criteria: Quality perception of the leadership is behind the reality. Many businesses only pay attention to profits while forgetting their customers' benefits; only care about business growth targets while ignoring quality indicators; and only take notice of quality after being claimed by customers. Quality management is inconsistent and overlapping among different units. Training is made light on fears of paying more costs for this.

In addition, production technology and equipment of Vietnamese enterprises are not advanced, thus failing to perform high-tech features, consuming more energy and resources while turning out low-quality but high-cost products which are less competitive in the region and the world. Many businesses have to retrain their employees and this obviously affects productivity and quality. Some businesses really do not understand the meaning and benefits of applying advanced management systems.

However, in fact, many Vietnamese companies are aware of the importance of applying quality management systems, innovative tools and good practices, especially standards of seven National Quality Award criteria, to management. Some companies have completed their systems and approached world standards like Binh Minh Plastic, Tan A Dai Thanh, Traphaco, Viglacera and Khanh Hoa Salangane Nest Company, etc.

What does this award mean to consumers?

When a business is awarded the National Quality Award by the Prime Minister, it is certified to have outstanding achievements in improving productivity and product and service quality, improving competitiveness and operational efficiency, and standing ready to integrate with regional and world economies. Awardees, equipped with internationally standardized self-assessment tools, can further improve their management systems by adopting and maintaining successful models, advanced management systems and best practices to provide consumers with products and services of stable, higher quality.

In other words, consumers can be completely assured when using products and services labelled the National Quality Award logo.

Thank you very much!