Everybody's a winner

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 September, 2011, 12:00am


The MTR Corporation has won gold - the top honour in the HKMA Quality Award 2011. The award is in its 20th year. The other top picks are Manulife (International), Sino Land and IDS Logistics (Hong Kong).

The awards, organised by the Hong Kong Management Association (HKMA), recognises organisations that have achieved outstanding standards in total quality management (TQM), says Dr David Sun, chairman of the 2011 award committee.

'In Hong Kong's drive to transform into a knowledge-based economy, local companies cannot rest on their laurels. To achieve TQM and further sharpen their competitive edge, they need to be focused on continuous and sustainable improvement,' Sun says.

The criteria, based on the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in the United States, cover key areas in TQM adoption, such as leadership, strategic planning, workforce and customer focus, and measurement, analysis and knowledge management.

Shortlisted applicants were required to undergo several stages of rigorous assessment, including a 30-minute presentation and a site visit conducted by examiners. Finalists were then invited to attend a question-and-answer session.

According to Professor Matthew Yuen, chairman of the board of examiners, gold award winner MTR has achieved more than just harmonising two distinct corporate cultures following its merger with the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation.

'It has also diversified its operation, including management of railway operations abroad. It is a good example of the fact that a Hong Kong company excelling in TQM [can] compete with established international companies and win major management contracts,' adds Yuen, head of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology's department of mechanical engineering.

'The top executives have strived to set up examples in the pursuit of the company's new VMV [vision, mission and values] after the merger,' says examiner Ivy Leung, director of intellectual capital and quality at Langham Place. 'Through consultations, MTR has succeeded in engaging all employees in developing the new VMV so that staff identify with them.'

Meanwhile, silver award winner Manulife has also done a great job adapting its VMV to the local culture. The examiners noted how it has upheld reliability and trustworthiness, says examiner Katherine Lau, general manager for corporate quality and sustainability at Fuji Xerox (Hong Kong).

'As a service provider, it has launched many customer-oriented services based on a clear understanding of their requirements and needs. Manulife has also succeeded in building team spirit among its staff so that all are dedicated to providing top-quality services to their customers. The company has provided comprehensive training for its agents and established a special assistance service centre tailored to their needs,' Lau says.

Yuen says bronze award winner Sino Land, meanwhile, has nurtured excellent team spirit through constant communication across all staff levels. 'For example, it has succeeded in mobilising staff from various divisions in helping with sales of new residential projects,' Yuen says. 'By adopting TQM and creating a unique buyer experience, Sino has exceeded customer's expectations.'

Leung says Sino has embraced innovation and developed an 'iPromise' online campaign to collect new ideas and suggestions from staff for service and product improvement.

Another bronze award winner, IDS - a 'business stream' within LF Logistics of Li & Fung - has well-planned long-term business development strategies, Yuen says. 'Its management is adept at communication with staff. It also regularly organises seminars and training for the middle management.'

The winners of the Special Award for SMEs are Hip Shing Hong Group of Companies and Milton Exhibits.

The management of Hip Shing Hong, a property developer and investor, has taken the lead in identifying the needs of its customers and developing products and services tailored to meet these needs, says examiner Eric Chow, acting head for corporate treasury and financing, Hong Kong and China Gas.

Meanwhile, Milton Exhibits was cited for excelling in leveraging collaboration with well-established event organisers, Yuen notes. 'It has introduced niche products that complement services provided by these large companies. Milton Exhibits has a well-developed IT platform facilitating efficient communications with its clients.'

To round off this year's top picks, AIA Pension and Trustee was awarded a Certificate of Merit.

Another examiner, Jonathan Lui Hing-ming - deputy director for research and development at Glorious Sun Enterprises - says more local companies have adopted TQM to enhance their competitiveness in Hong Kong's fast-changing and increasingly complicated business environment.

Lewis Ho, another examiner, notes that many of the award contestants have done well in their adoption of TQM. 'They also gave us a strong impression of improved operations after adopting TQM when we conducted site visits at their companies,' says Ho, the chief electrical and mechanical engineer at Hong Kong's Electrical and Mechanical Services Department.

Participation in the quality award helps companies further enhance team spirit, says Sun.

'All staff [must] embrace TQM because examiners talk to staff as well as management and observe their operations during site visits,' he adds.

'The award also helps deepen staff's understanding of the commitment by top leadership to the sustainable and continuous improvement of their corporations,' Sun continues.

HKMA officials say they have succeeded in attracting small and medium-sized enterprises to enter the award by introducing an SME category for them several years ago.

'We have attracted companies from a diverse range of sectors to participate over the years,' Sun notes. 'Our plan is to encourage more companies that have not yet participated to enter. We would also like to attract the participation of mainland Chinese companies that have operations in Hong Kong.'



MTR Corporation


Manulife (International)


IDS Logistics (Hong Kong)

Sino Land


Hip Shing Hong Group

Milton Exhibits


AIA Pension and Trustee David Sun