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The search for excellence: Results of the application of IQNet BPE model

Quality Austria has been a dedicated member of IQNet for a very long time. Therefore, we gathered a lot of experience with the Ordinary Surveillance Audit, which takes place every three years.
In January 2015 Quality Austria underwent the latest IQNet Ordinary Surveillance Audit but this time it was combined with a Best Practice Evaluation (BPE). Whereas the audit is mandatory for all IQNet members, the BPE is voluntary.
So, why did we decide to apply for the evaluation? For Quality Austria it was a clear and logic decision: we regard the evaluation as the next logic step in our “search for excellence”. We are dedicated to delivering excellence in all our services and products. Excellence is a part of our daily business.
The BPE is a simple tool for supporting an organisation’s improvement in a structured way and thus for improving its excellence. It is a comprehensive way for planning improvements and measuring progress.
The purpose of the BPE was clear. We wanted to identify our strengths as well as areas for improvement, to increase skills through learning, sharing and benchmarking and to evaluate our performance regarding the 10 BPE elements. The 10 elements cover almost all relevant areas of an organisation (quality of business planning and control, focus on customers and interested parties, management of product portfolio, qualification of auditors, management of business processes, use of improvement tools, use of partnerships, financial results and non-financial results).
Of course, our main motivation was related to our own excellence model focus. Quality Austria is national partner of EFQM, we deliver the assessor training, conduct assessments and issue the national quality award, which is based on the EFQM Excellence Model. However, we have not only gathered experience in assessing our customers but we also underwent assessments ourselves. In 2012 we conducted our first self-assessment against the EFQM model. In 2013 we had our first external assessment and achieved the recognition EFQM Recognised for Excellence.
This experience supported us decisively during the preparation for the evaluation as we had already created detailed reports for our excellence assessments. Therefore, when it came to write the report as preparation for the BPE we could use plenty of information from those preceding reports. Our report was divided into two parts. The first part covered the key information about our organisation (facts, data, product portfolio, process model, strategy etc.). The second part covered the information concerning the 10 elements.
With this thorough preparation, it was rather easy to undergo the evaluation in January. The result that we achieved makes us very proud. We received very high ratings in all elements; the best results were achieved in the elements “use of improvement tools”, “use of partnerships” and “quality of business planning and control”.
We strongly recommend living the excellence approach in general and of course, we recommend each organisation to apply for the Best Practice Evaluation. You will benefit from the advantages on a long-term scale for sure.

Michaela Reisner

Operations Management Excellence (EFQM)

QA Quality Austria
Zelinkagasse 10/3
1010 Wien