Quality Awards

Quality Awards

Quality is an essential characteristic feature of any product, service or performance, which helps public and private companies to receive universal recognition. Quality is a notion stating whether something is good or not, whether product or service is up to the standard and meets certain requirements, whether it is worth or is not worth purchasing or using after all. Various types of awards are offered to individuals or enterprises, who might be leaders in certain kinds of business or just usual private entrepreneurs or companies, whose activity deserves it. Special organizations and committees at international, national and local levels have been created to grant quality awards for performance or products of various companies, who might operate locally or worldwide. Such awards provide the winners with certain benefits, which can be major incentives for applying for quality awards; however, applying for and participating in quality awards is also a major commitment for a company, which requires a considerable amount of time and financial resources. Not every company or an individual can apply for the quality reward due to the existence of certain criteria for the applicants. The most popular quality awards have been establish to appreciate goods that are most popular among the customers and meet all of their needs and preferences. Thus, quality awards appear to be an effective tool in researching and recognizing the best products all over the world.
The main goal of the current study is to speak about such a notion as “quality awards”, its origin and essential characteristic features. The paper will focus on existing quality awards, criteria which are necessary to apply for the quality awards and advantages and disadvantages of such awards. Specific study will be also devoted to quality awards existing in United Arabic Emirates.
Quality Awards and Their Features
Before getting into the heart of the matter concerning quality awards it is necessary to give the definition to the notion of “quality awards”. Quality awards are prizes or rewards granted to the companies with the highest quality of performance in certain aspects of business by organizations specially established to appreciate the work of such companies. Usually the above mentioned organizations have no interest in what particular company will win the award due to the interest in choosing the company with the best quality of goods and services. There are several types of awards, which can be presented to companies or individuals. The main goal of quality awards is to assess the performance of any applying company or individual against certain criteria. There are quality awards which estimate the result of company’s work, which can be done by estimating consumers’ satisfaction after using the product produced by a certain company. Others can assess the abidance of company’s output to its customers’ needs and requirements. Quality awards are always about competition between several applicants; however, there are some awards that are not competitive and include assessment and rewarding of an unlimited number of applicants that would be recognized as winners at the end of the award process. One of the first quality awards that appeared in the USA was the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award created in 1987 by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The Baldridge Foundation was then established to pursue several major objectives, including: to raise money to support and fund the program, “to oversee the investment of endowment funds; review Program accomplishments; disburse required funds to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); and review the plan and approve associated funds requirements for subsequent years to ensure a successful Award program” [a]. The Baldridge Programs is not the only one as there are other quality awards existing at international, national and regional levels. Some of the quality awards may be organized by the government, while others can be established by other companies, who are considered to be major manufacturers. International quality awards are represented by the European Quality Award, which was established by the European Foundation for Quality Management in 1992; The Deming Prize, which was established as early as 1951 and became an international award in 1984; Asia-Pacific Area Golden Quality Award and American International Quality Award. At the national level the following quality awards exist: The Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award in the USA; the UK Quality Award, which was organized by the initiative of British Quality Foundation in 1994; Singapore’s National Quality Award, which was established by Singapore Productivity Board also in 1994; and others. Regional quality awards are represented by Nothern Ireland Quality Award in the UK, Northwest of England quality award in the UK, Dubai Quality Award in the United Arab Emirates, and California Quality Award in the USA. The smallest quality awards are industry awards, which are offered to the companies operating in certain fields of industry.
Speaking about advantages and disadvantages of taking part in quality awards it is necessary to emphasize that applying for quality award is not an easy process. However, it does result in a lot of benefits for the winners of the award. The first and most significant benefit is gaining publicity or being promoted by means of the quality award. Applying for the program every company sets the objectives it aims to reach as a result of the participation. Some companies take part in quality awards in order to improve the organization and the structure of the company as it involves a lot of preparations. Some companies are trying to attract more customers, while others are eliminating harmful environmental influence, reducing wastage, improving employee and managerial stuff in order to achieve better performance. Disadvantages include putting a lot of time, effort and money in the program. Indeed, preparation for the program may be very time-consuming and involve significant expenses, which might be unreasonable when a company is not able to win the award after having done so many preparations. However, the company should try to take part in any kind of quality awards having commercial reasons to do so.
Every organization which decides to establish quality award follows certain criteria allowing to estimate the performance of the applicants. For example, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award uses seven groups of criteria, including: leadership; strategic planning; customer and market focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; human resource focus; process management; and business results [c]. Thus, companies, who would like to apply for the program, will have to reconsider all of these aspects of the company in order to meet the requirements of the award committee. Following these criteria is helpful at gaining larger market share or improving profitability of the company. It has been proved that there is a “link between use of the Baldrige criteria and improved business performance” [c].
As for quality awards existing in the United Arab Emirates, it is impossible not to mention Dubai Quality Award, which is the “driving force behind quality and continuous improvement movement in Dubai” [d]. Dubai Quality Award was established in 1994 in accordance with the best international practices in the field of quality management. There has been created a universal award model by Dubai Quality Award allowing public, private, large and small companies to apply for it. Application and participation in Dubai Quality Award provides companies with certain advantages. It provides the companies with framework concerning how to improve their activity and encourages the usage of the best practices of Quality Management and Excellence. Dubai Quality Award has three different categories: The Dubai Quality Award Gold Category, which is granted to “organisations from all sectors of the economy that have been previous winners of the Dubai Quality Award (DQA), after demonstrating tangible sustained improvement over past performance” [5]; the Dubai Quality Award (DQA), “presented to enterprises in different sectors of the economy, such as manufacturing, services, tourism, construction, finance, professional, and trade” [5]; and The Dubai Quality Appreciation Programme (DQAP), which is granted to the companies in order to acknowledge companies’ hard work towards achieving best quality.
Several companies in the United Arab Emirates have been honoured with Dubai Quality Award. For example, Xerox Emirates has already won this award twice in 1996 and in 2004. It was “certified for the Quality Management System which supports the Service and Logistics Operations” [6]. Another company to win the award was Kanoo Power & Industrial Projects (Kanoo PIP). It is a part of The Kanoo Group. Kanoo PIP “has won the coveted Dubai Quality Appreciation Programme Award in the trade category for 2005” [7]. It is important to note that Kanoo group is the only one in the United Arab Emirates to receive the award in business excellence for six times (starting in 2000).
Conclusion
Having spoken about quality awards it is necessary to make a conclusion. It is obvious that quality awards possess certain advantages that are important not only to commercial companies, but also to consumers as they promote competition among the companies making them improve the quality of goods and the excellence of performance. Despite of the fact that quality awards are rather expensive and time-consuming, they assist companies in achieving not only the main goal of winning the award, but also the goal of improving the company in a whole.


Bibliography
1. The Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. 2001. http://www.quality.nist.gov/Foundation.htm Accessed October 1, 2006.
2. Quality Awards. http://www.iqa.org/information/d2-5.shtml Accessed October 1, 2006.
3. Criteria for Performance Excellence http://www.quality.nist.gov/Business_Criteria.htm Accessed October 1, 2006.
4. Quality Awards Information: Information on the Dubai Quality Award in English
http://www.dqg.org/qcentral/q_awards/q_awards.asp Accessed October 1, 2006.
5. Award Categories http://www.dqa.ae/DQA/gn/AboutTheAward/AwardCategories.htm Accessed October 1, 2006.
6. Xerox Emirates wins Dubai Quality Award
http://www.xeroxuae.com/new/dynamic/news_detailed.php?newsid=23 Accessed October 1, 2006.
7. Kanoo Wins Dubai Quality Appreciation Programme Award. 2006. http://www.newswiretoday.com/news/4280/ Accessed October 1, 2006.