Business Performance Improvement Models

What is The BPIR Model?
The BPIR Model is based on business research and business best practice - worldwide, Organizations today operate in an environment of increased competitiveness and change. Successful organizations are those that are effective at change, either through creating new markets or meeting new goals for existing products. Yet many companies are ineffective at change and hampered by poor control of their product development operations.

Many companies are unable to accurately estimate, control and improve specific product or contract profit margins, product ship dates, or product quality. Companies know that they need to improve, but with inadequate data they often find themselves unable to prioritize problems, leading to excessive improvement initiatives performed in an unfocused manner.

Companies are left either spending very little money on improvement because they're unsure how to best allocate the money, or are spending a lot of money very ineffectively on numerous improvement efforts going in 20 different directions.

What are the common challenges associated with a business excellence approach?
There are two main challenges that are faced by those using business excellence models, both of these are addressed by the services of the BPIR. The following two paragraphs outline these issues.

The first challenge encountered involves the fact that the criteria in the models contain hundreds of questions requiring responses on how or what is done in particular areas of focus. These questions are designed to apply to a generic organisation (although there are three versions of the Baldrige Model which are specific to Business, Education, and Health industries), as such they can be difficult to interpret to specific circumstances without spending a reasonably large amount of time reading around the model - something that many organisations with a short term focus find hard to justify. This challenge has given rise to much work for consultants on the subject.

The second and main challenge encountered when using business excellence models is that none of the models provide solutions. Although understanding the criteria and responding with the organisation's practices or results should bring enlightenment relating to what the organisation should be considering, there is no specific advice given on how to improve performance. It is left up to the user to find ways to improve in the areas identified.

How can the BPIR help?
In response to the first challenge above, the BPIR provides a service that very simply uses the powerful focus of the models to complement the valuable experience and practices of organisations around the world. What this does is to help clarify the basic meaning of the criteria; BPIR team members who have been trained variously as Baldrige and/or EFQM assessors, link individual snippets of information to the lowermost parts of the business excellence models, and in some cases to individual parts of a question/area to address.

This ensures that the range of case study or survey information produced through searches based upon the models on the website are examples of the kind of practices the models refer to.

In terms of the main challenge, that of lack of guidance on how to improve, the BPIR effectively provides a whole range of solutions to select from in the form of measures, improvement activities, and best practices.

The database provides the user with information so that they can make more informed decisions relating to what best practice to implement, which organisations to contact for benchmarking partners, what areas to improve (based on the performance measurement data we provide), and what tools or techniques have been used successfully in similar areas by other organisations etc...

Therefore the BPIR helps organisations to confirm where they have opportunities (through providing performance measures and benchmarking data), and how to take the next step after having identified opportunities (through providing examples of appropriate peformance improvement activities).

What is the track record of business excellence use?
In the US, Baldrige award winners are celebrated with national recognition as world-class organisations, but more than this, performance of these organisations is tracked by an internationally recognised measure of performance; share price. A fictitious Baldrige Index has been set up to compare the share price performance of Baldrige award winners with the US Standard and Poor's 500 index.

The Baldrige Index consists of publicly traded US companies that have received the US Baldrige National Quality Award during the years 1988 to 2000. For the seventh year in a row the Baldrige Index outperformed the US Standard & Poor's 500, this time by almost four to one (National Institute of Standards and Technology, 2001a).

There is plenty of evidence to support the belief that organisations managed in a "business excellence way" do achieve significant benefits. The EFQM (2001) state that between 70-90% of users of their model achieve positive impact on business results through use of the criteria. In 2000, the website home of the Australian Business Excellence Framework AGC named the following as some of the benefits that Australian-based award winners and finalists have achieved as researched by Hausner (1999)

1)   20% productivity increase in one year

2)   247% sale increase over two years

3)   600% increase in profit per employee in four years

4)   100% profit increase over two years

5)   66% reduction in lost time due to injuries in one year

6)   80% reduction in profit defect rates over two years

7)   11% improvement in employee satisfaction in one year.

Other evidence comes from the numerous case studies, research studies, and texts that highlight the benefits of an approach involving self-assessments against business excellence models (for example, Zairi, 1994; Total Research, 1996; Blazey, 1999; and Hendricks and Singhal, 1999).

Take it from me, these are the X-Perts However, the hardest evidence to support the value of using business excellence comes from the sheer number of organisations and CEO's that demonstrate their faith in these models by using them and/or obtaining copies of the model criteria:

   ¨ In the US over 150,000 copies of the criteria are distributed each year (NIST, 2001b).

   ¨ In NZ sales of booklets on the Baldrige Criteria were at the highest totals in 2000 (over 7,000 sold) since the Criteria was brought to New Zealand in 1992 (NZBEF, 2000).

   ¨ According to the EFQM (2001), their Excellence Model is used by over 20,000 organisations (of these at least 10,000 are SMEs) across Europe, by 60% of Europe's 25 largest companies, and by 9 of the 13 European companies in the FT's 50 World's Most Respected Companies.

   ¨ In the UK it was reported that even in 1996, 35% of companies in the United Kingdom were found to be using or intending to use the EFQM Excellence Model as a guide to self-assessment (Hyde, 1996).

   ¨ In a recent research visit to Japan by members of COER (Mann & Nishide, 2001) (read the article ) there was evidence of a substantial interest in the Baldrige model (greater interest than in the Deming Prize) with over 3,000 evaluators trained since 1996 specifically to support the demand for assessments of organisational performance against the Baldrige-based Japan Quality Award.

List of award winning organisations
Find benchmarking partners that are guaranteed to use high performing practices. Contains a growing database of the largest collection of award winning/high performing organisations from around the world that we know of (approx. 2,500 entries at present), this information is a must for organisations that are looking for best practice benchmarking partners.

Full access to 600 business periodicals
Keep up to date with current happenings and ideas, an invaluable resource for business environment scans and more focused study. Read your favourite journals, or carry out your own research.…Full on-line access (the same content you would get in a subscription) to current/past contents of over 600 business journals/periodicals covering most generic aspects of business - that's over 100,000 articles! Examples:

  • Management Today - Consulting to Management
  • HR Magazine Human Resource Management Journal
  • Director The Service Industries Journal
  • Fortune Financial Management
  • Supply Management Works Management
  • Marketing Management Services
  • Competitive analysis
  • Use the BPIR's databases to build up a picture of your competitors' performance,
    their use of management or improvement techniques, how these helped or hindered their competitive position, and study the business environment in which this was carried out. With such a huge range and depth of data you may be able to do all of this from within the resource.

    Self-assessment service
    Identify your organisation's areas of strength and opportunities for improvement through the robust self-assessment process that is used annually and with great effect by members of the New Zealand Benchmarking Club. Discounted self-assessment service using a proven tool that's design was based on an in-depth analysis of over 20 Baldrige Model and European Business Excellence Model self-assessment questionnaires.

    Review of active web-sites
    If you need information or specific services that we do not offer then look here first. Contains a growing database of other web-sites operating in the general area of business performance improvement. Names, links, details of free/pay-for offerings, and viewpoint/perspective analysis are displayed.

    Research registers
    Make sure you know about new findings and trends as they are discovered. Find out what is being researched, where it is being carried out, and by whom. Access to a world-wide directory of research - including complete research and research underway, business and academic. Categories include: Advanced Automation, Corporate Communication, Internet, Technologies & E-Commerce, Marketing & Logistics, Training & Development, (The) Built Environment, Environmental Management, Library & Information Services, and Quality.

    Partner product benefit
    Take advantage of big discounts on selected products and services provided by our partners. If we see a product or service that has particular value, we try to persuade our partners to offer substantial discount to BPIR members. Currently members can get around 70% discount on the excellent manufacturer-based Benchmarking Tool Kit (an on-line database) by Industry Week magazine - purchase an Individual BPIR membership and access to the Tool Kit and you will still only be paying around 60% of the normal Tool Kit price - in total.

    Input from centres of expertise
    Be confident that information in the BPIR has come from a variety of acknowledged centres of expertise. These include the Centre for Business Performance, Emerald, the Global Benchmarking Network, and the BPIR's own research centre; the Centre for Organisational Excellence Research. - Other links