Full steam ahead for earlier winner

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 June, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 June, 2004, 12:00am

Business for shipping group surging on the back of accolade

Winning the Hong Kong Management Association's (HKMA) Quality Award can do more than boost employee morale. It can also be good for business, according to the head of last year's overall winner, the Eurasia Group of Companies.

'Business has grown quite a bit since we won the award,' president and group managing director Rajaish Bajpaee said.

'We have almost doubled the size of our fleet since winning the award. I wouldn't entirely attribute that to the award since during this time the shipping market has improved. It's difficult to say how much is because of the award and how much is because of the general upturn in the market. But there has certainly been a significant impact.'

Mr Bajpaee said the company's performance last year was more than an accomplishment for one firm. 'From an industry standpoint, it was a proud moment. [It proved that] shipping, which is traditionally looked on as not so forward-looking, is capable of competing with all the other industries and coming out the best. In a sense, this was not an award for Eurasia, but for an entire industry.

Quality was a top-down process, Mr Bajpaee said.

'[Every] company's performance is based on the same resources: its people, its systems, and its tools and technology. These are all glued together by the leadership, which brings [these factors] together to create a deliverable output that the customer is satisfied with.'

Customer feedback is taken seriously by the firm. 'We scientifically monitor customer feedback and, based on that feedback, we take corrective action to modify our business processes.'

The awards are based on the Malcolm Baldrige Total Quality Management (TQM) model, using seven basic criteria: leadership, strategic planning, customer and market focus, information and analysis, human resources focus, process management and business resources.

'All must demonstrate better business results otherwise it is a meaningless academic exercise. In each area, our company was judged the best.'

Since winning the award, the company has not rested on its laurels.

'It was just a recognition that we have implemented TQM in the correct way and that we are achieving the desired result. Our idea going into this was not really to win the award, but to find out from external experts how well we were implementing TQM. We were, of course, pleasantly surprised when we won the award.'

Mr Bajpaee described the process as a team effort. 'Everyone in the organisation is proud that we have achieved such high recognition. Our customers are happy that they are dealing with a company judged the best in terms of TQM and our suppliers - our internal customers - are likewise happy to be dealing with us and associating with us.'