Innovation pays off

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 July, 2012, 12:00am

Quality means many different things to different people, but to the Hong Kong Management Association (HKMA) board of examiners, the yardstick for defining quality is summed up across seven criteria.

Companies shortlisted in the HKMA Quality Award programme are evaluated on leadership; strategic planning; customer focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce focus; operations focus; and results.

'We look at the way award entrants use innovation and different strategies that tie into their overall vision and mission planning that also help to sharpen their competitive edge,' says Professor Matthew Yuen Ming-fai, chairman of the board of examiners for the 2012 HKMA Quality Award.

This year's top honour goes to McDonald's Restaurants (Hong Kong), recipient of the gold award. Bypassing silver, the HKMA named two bronze award winners, Chun Wo Development Holdings and The Link Management. It also presented a certificate of merit to City Super Group and a special award for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to Chief Holdings (HK).

'Maintaining a Total Quality Management (TQM) process requires innovation to improve company performance in keeping with changing society expectations and market environments,' says Yuen, head of the department of mechanical engineering at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Based on the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in the United States, the HKMA Quality Award is designed to give recognition to companies that have demonstrated a strong commitment to quality.

McDonald's Restaurants (Hong Kong) was hailed for its performance across all the key criteria. 'The company has shown how it can be innovative with its strategies by introducing new product lines, while maintaining profitability,' Yuen says, adding that the launch of McDonald's McCafe as a standalone operation in Taikoo Shing is an example of moving into a new market.

McDonald's also impressed the judges with the level of monitoring of its key performance index, maintaining the quality of food products without increasing the price, and introducing new products tailored to Hong Kong preferences.

'The stringent monitoring systems that McDonald's use ensures that the company maintains quality at a very high level,' Yuen says. 'When we looked at the overall performance and results, it tallied with the company's strategic plan.'

Fellow examiner Ivy Leung, director of intellectual capital and quality at Langham Place, Mongkok, says the gold and bronze winners have shown how quality can be integrated within an organisation. 'For any company to be successful, it is vital that quality is understood and delivered at every level,' she says.

Jonathan Lui Hing-ming, deputy director of the research and development department at Glorious Sun Enterprises, believes that happy staff translates into happy customers, which generate profits. 'We saw positive examples of the way the winning entrants provide communication and training designed for the specific needs of each company,' he says.

The board of examiners decided that no company satisfied the criteria for the silver award.

Bronze-award winner, The Link Management (The Link), made an impression through its commitment to quality initiatives.

The examiners highlighted upgrades to shopping centre facilities managed by the organisation and the establishment of an academy to help local small business operators to improve efficiency.

'We see examples of The Link's mission and core values being turned into positive action,' Yuen says.

Eric Chow, head of corporate treasury and financing at Hong Kong and China Gas, notes how The Link made an effort to learn more about its tenants' aspirations. Fellow bronze-award recipient, Chun Wo Development Holdings, caught the examiners' eye through its efforts to make the construction industry safer and more attractive for younger people.

'Chun Wo has been growing rapidly but still manages to maintain a TQM system in a proactive manner,' Yuen says.

He adds that the winning companies, including certificate of merit recipient City Super Group, understand the need for measurement and processes that drive innovation to motivate change.

'Quality is about meeting the needs and expectations of customers. When customers come into contact with the winning companies, they can sense the quality atmosphere,' he says.

Brokerage firm Chief Holdings (HK), recipient of the special award for SMEs, also impressed with its commitment to daily third-party customer audits.

'The financial industry is moving very fast with the introduction of new regulations, so it is important that Chief Holdings operates with a high level of ethics and commitment to corporate governance,' Yuen says. 'One of the reasons that Chief Holdings has been able to grow its customer list and expand into the mainland is through its commitment to the principles of TQM.'

Gold Award

McDonald's Restaurants (Hong Kong)

Silver Award


Bronze Award

Chun Wo Development Holdings

The Link Management

Certificate of Merit

City Super Group

Special Award for SMEs

Chief Holdings (HK)