Companies go back to old economy values

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 November, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 November, 2001, 12:00am

As the 'old' economy roars back into fashion after being eclipsed by the 'new' technology sector in recent years, more businesses are beginning to turn back their clocks and re-focus on the fundamental business principles that foster good products and services.

In an ironic twist, one management cornerstone that seemingly got lost in the technology stampede is being dusted off to help old-economy companies compete in the new era.

Quality - a business concept that demonstrates excellence in all areas of industrial performance - is suddenly hip again, thanks to its utility in helping companies re-invent themselves for the road ahead.

Speaking about the entrants in the Quality category of this year's Hong Kong Awards For Industry, Eugene Fung Kin-yip, assistant director-general of the Trade and Industry Department, says new trends are emerging.

Referring to participants in the quality category, Mr Fung says most of companies are 'conventional rather than hi-tech'.

'By applying quality and innovation, conventional companies can perform well and rise to compete in the knowledge-based economy,' he says. The response from a wide range of industries is a sign that recognition and awareness of quality is widespread in the manufacturing sector.

Thirty-one companies took part in this year's award, a record number in the scheme's 12-year history. In the quality category, 21 manufacturing firms participated, each with less than 100 employees. Four of the participating companies received a Trade and Industry Department Quality Award, and four received a Certificate of Merit in Quality.

Electronic controls producer Computime emerged as overall winner. The company has its head office and design centre in Hong Kong, and its production and smaller design facilities in Shenzhen.

The adjudicators were impressed by the company's proven success in achieving continuous quality improvement through leadership and management, application of quality management tools, and customer satisfaction.

'The company culture predominates, from top management to frontline staff,' Mr Fung says. 'Every employee realises the importance of quality, and they all share the responsibility.'

The Hong Kong Award for Industry is seen as one of the most prestigious in the industrial sector. Winners are cited as examples in quality management.

Aside from highlighting the winners' successful practices and strategies, the award scheme has a broader objective - to 'promote a wider appreciation of the importance of quality among Hong Kong manufacturers by recognising and rewarding those who are practising effective quality management in their manufacturing process, and whose products are manufactured to a high standard of quality'.

Citing Computime for its product excellence, the judges also noted the company's efforts to improve customer relations through a real-time sales support office.

The awards assessment criteria are based on those of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award of the United States.

The judging panel comprised representatives from industry, academia, the Consumer Council, and the Trade and Industry Department.