Quality has become a crucial factor in determining the success of companies. It's good for business and for this reason the HKMA's Quality Award encourages companies to show how important quality is to them. Dr David Sun, chairman of the 2010 HKMA Quality Award organising committee, says it has been recognised that successful companies that maintain quality management provide the best products and services to customers. This is why the HKMA launched the Quality Award in 1991. 'Quality is good for business,' Sun says. 'Quality management plays a significant role for companies trying to establish reputable brand names.' The HKMA Quality Award aims to bring public recognition to organisations with exceptional quality and an enduring commitment to quality management. 'The HKMA uses this award to identify companies that excel,' Sun says. 'This award shows the importance of quality management in a corporation and shows how high quality benefits business. Companies receiving the awards this year are mainly in the service industry. 'They have put in a lot of resources to optimise their quality through technology and customer relationship management, and understanding and fulfilling the needs of customers.' The HKMA Quality Award enhances co-operation between management teams of organisations, as they prepare their initial submission, final submission, presentation workshop, site visit, and finally a question and answer session by the panel of judges. Participants go through a detailed assessment of every perspective of the company by the board of examiners. Written submissions and presentations are not enough, as companies need to display their dedication to top-quality management during the site visit. Preparations need to be completed before the application process begins. 'Many companies that joined the competition are reputable companies with a long history,' Sun says. 'Achieving recognition in this competition enhances the brand names of the winners and strengthens their customers' confidence.' Training of employees is key since it is the most practical way to deliver the companies' values to every employee. 'Quality is very important,' Sun says. 'But the ability to execute quality management and produce high quality goods and services is the most important thing, and this relies on the company's ability to educate employees on management values and make sure they understand these values. 'By training employees to believe that products of the highest quality should be delivered to customers and enhancing their technical knowledge and helping them understand the product and the manufacturing process, the company will be able to carry out their strategic plans.' The HKMA Quality Award streamlines the quality process of small and medium-sized enterprises, and larger corporations, as the award is based on seven judging criteria set up according to the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in the United States. 'One of the most important criteria is process management,' Sun says. This is the focal point within the criteria for key work systems and work processes. It places a lot of focus on the importance of core competencies and how companies capitalise on them for success and organisational sustainability. It may be a lot of work for small and medium-sized enterprises. However, the HKMA secretariat has organised talks to brief companies on the requirements, the Malcolm Baldrige framework, the process of the competition, and sharing sessions with past winners and the board of examiners.