Look Who’s Using Baldrige: A Focus on Southeast Asia

Posted by Dawn Marie Bailey

From left to right, Thailand Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, TQA Assessor Voravuth Bill Chengsupanimit, TQA Assessor Dr. Chaiyutha Lertpachin, and TQA National Committee Chairman Sompop Amatayakul during the annual TQA ceremony at Government House

Recently, I had the pleasure of a virtual conversation with the lead assessor of the Thailand Quality Award (TQA) program. Within Thailand, Bill Voravuth Chengsupanimit has also served as a Public Management Quality Award (PMQA) and a State Enterprise Performance Appraisal (SEPA) assessor. What’s common about all of these programs, as well as the award programs in Singapore and Vietnam? They are all Baldrige-based.

When did Baldrige start in this region, how?

The Singapore Quality Award (SQA) was launched in 1994 and is based on the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence and the EFQM Excellence Model. The SQA is controlled by the government’s Standards, Productivity, and Innovation Board. More than 50 organizations have won the SQA since 1995.

In Thailand, upon signing an agreement between the Foundation of Thailand Productivity Institute and the National Science and Technology Development Agency, on September 5, 1996, the Thailand Quality Award (TQA) was initiated. The resulting TQA technical and decision-making processes are identical to the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

Since TQA’s inception, only four organizations have scored above 650 points to qualify for the TQA, out of hundreds of applicants. However, more than 50 organizations have achieved the Thailand Quality Class status by scoring more than 350 points.

Do you have evidence that Thai organizations have implemented Baldrige?

We have testimonials from leading conglomerates and industry leaders in the country praising how the Baldrige framework transformed their organizations. We see results therefore we believe in Baldrige!

We have over 150 government agencies, including all armed forces; 50+ state enterprises in the energy, banking, communication, transportation, aviation, and utility sector; and countless business enterprises adopting the Baldrige framework, with all speaking ADLI (approach-deployment-learning-integration). How is that for deployment?

What made Thailand choose the Baldrige Criteria?

It is our government’s wish to jumpstart and pursue performance excellence to enhance sustainability in all sectors through a common excellence framework with unified values. In Thailand, all government agencies must pass the fundamental level of the PMQA program by 2014. (The PMQA is the 2006 version of the Baldrige Criteria). Fundamental level is equivalent to about 250-350 points and is compulsory.

How does the assessment work? What has been the result?

All state enterprises are assessed through the SEPA program each year. (SEPA is the 2008 version of the Baldrige Criteria.) Thai International, our national airline, and PTT, our national energy company who made the Fortune 100 list last year, report their annual performances through the SEPA/Baldrige Criteria started two years ago. PTT claims that its success is due to enrollment in Baldrige-based programs. Two of their divisions won the prestigious TQA.

What about in the education and health care sectors?

Although enrolling in the PMQA is voluntarily for state universities, six Thai state universities passed the fundamental level of the PMQA last year and ten more are ready for certification this year. A program for certifying state secondary schools based on Baldrige will be implemented next year. Also, our Ministry of Education just implemented the EdPEX criteria, also 99% Baldrige-based, as a platform to assess performance of all tertiary education institutions in the Kingdom. All government fundings to them will be based on maturity level accomplished.

All hospitals in Thailand must be certified under the Health Accreditation (HA) program, which is also Baldrige-based with industry-specific processes.

What about other countries in the region?

The TQA is closely associated with our Singapore counterpart. Although not compulsory, the Singapore government encourages all of its agencies to apply to the SQA program. As of this year, Singapore’s Customs, Inland Revenue, Land Transport, Urban Redevelopment, and Water Authority, as well as their Police, Prison, Court, and Civil Defense Force, have all been SQA winners.

Their results are even more profound than in Thailand as they started their program more than 15 years ago. Just look at their country competitiveness ranking in IMD and the World Economic Forum (WEF), as well as their education ranking in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). YES, it is world-class indeed! I rest my case for Baldrige.

In addition, the Vietnam Quality Award’s official site shows that its award is Baldrige-based, with exactly the same six process categories and one result category. They have had thousands if not tens of thousands of applications over the years, as they have around 100 winners each year in the different categories. (See Harry Hertz’s blog on the Vietnamese National Quality Award.)

You have said, “We are forever indebted to the Baldrige Program,” why?

As they say, “No one could be a prophet in his own country.” Dejavù Dr. Deming and Dr. Shewhart. Despite the OFIs that a number of gurus have pointed out, the Baldrige Program is simply the best, as it has a universal appeal. Tell me something that a capitalist, a socialist, and a communist can agree on. It’s Baldrige! For us here in Thailand, we truly believe Baldrige can align and integrate us all!

To learn more about how the Baldrige Criteria framework has been implemented in other countries, consider the international plenary at this year’s 25th Annual Quest for Excellence Conference. And/or share your stories here of how Baldrige has been implemented around the world.

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One Response to Look Who’s Using Baldrige: A Focus on Southeast Asia

  1. Berty Waworuntu says:

    For your information; Indonesia has adopted MBNQA since 2004 and the Indonesia Quality Award starts from the year 2005 until now

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