Business Excellence

Business Excellence is often described as outstanding practices in managing the organization and achieving results, all based on a set of fundamental concepts or values. These practices have evolved into models for how a world class organization should operate. These models have been developed and continue to evolve through extensive study of the practice and values of the world’s highest performing organizations. Since the 1990s there has been a general decline in award applications. However there has been an increasing trend for organizations to apply these models and integrate the principles and practice with their day-to-day operations thereby achieving the benefits business excellence brings.[1]

Business Excellence Tools[2]
Business Excellence tools are explained in 3 categories. First be clear on the desired outcome for your business and then choose carefully for most value.

Business Excellence Models[3]
Business excellence models are frameworks that when applied within an organization can help to focus thought and action in a more systematic and structured way that should lead to increased performance. The models are holistic in that they focus upon all areas and dimensions of an organization, and in particular, factors that drive performance. These models are internationally recognized as both providing a framework to assist the adoption of business excellence principles, and an effective way of measuring how thoroughly this adoption has been incorporated.

Several business excellence models exist world-wide. While variations exist, these models are all remarkably similar. The most common include;

  • Baldrige (MBNQA) – Used in over 25 countries including US and NZ
  • European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) – Used throughout Europe
  • Singapore Quality Award Model – Singapore
  • Japan Quality Award Model – Japan
  • Canadian Business Excellence Model – Canada
  • Australian Business Excellence Framework (ABEF) – Australia

Business Excellence Frameworks[4]
A Business Excellence Framework is an integrated leadership and management system that describes the elements essential to sustainable organizational excellence. An organization can use a Business Excellence Framework to:

  • Achieve stronger financial performance
  • Create visionary and inspirational leadership
  • Drive innovation in products and services
  • Focus on customer service and satisfaction
  • Increase market penetration and revenue
  • Create effective business planning processes
  • Raise productivity and reduce operating cost
  • Engage teams in the process of improvement and increase staff satisfaction
  • Improve decision-making capabilities and increase capacity to manage change.
  • Be recognized for your achievements in excellence and best practice in the Australian Business Excellence Awards.
  • Demonstrate to key stakeholders that the organization has a structured and systematic approach to improving and achieving best practices and excellence.

Business Excellence Framework
source: Ramesh Kandadai

Business Excellence Awards
In general, business excellence models have been developed by national bodies as a basis for award programs. For most of these bodies, the awards themselves are secondary in importance to the wide-spread take up of the concepts of business excellence, which ultimately lead to improved national economic performance. Often awards programs operate at a local, regional and national level to recognize and celebrate the achievement of all levels of organizational maturity. It is through these award programs that an organization can be assessed and justifiably claim to operate at World Class levels of performance. Awards are usually only given to those organizations that have been assessed as “excellent” through a rigorous awards process using independent teams of evaluators to assess award applicants. It was recently estimated that there are at least 76 countries operating a business excellence award program at a national level.

See Also

Business Excellence refers to the systematic use of quality management principles and tools in business operations to improve performance and achieve sustainable competitive advantage. The related terms often encompass aspects of strategy, operations, customer satisfaction, employee engagement, and continuous improvement. Here are ten terms that are closely related to Business Excellence:

  • Quality Management - The discipline of managing all activities and tasks needed to maintain a desired level of excellence. This includes the determination of a quality policy, creating and implementing quality planning and assurance, and quality control and quality improvement.
  • Continuous Improvement (Kaizen Philosophy) - A long-term approach to work that systematically seeks to achieve small, incremental changes in processes in order to improve efficiency and quality.
  • Lean Management - An approach to running an organization that supports the concept of continuous improvement, a long-term approach to work that systematically seeks to achieve small, incremental changes in processes in order to improve efficiency and quality.
  • Six Sigma - A set of techniques and tools for process improvement. It seeks to improve the quality of the output of a process by identifying and removing the causes of defects and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes.
  • Customer Satisfaction - A measure of how products and services supplied by a company meet or surpass customer expectation. It is seen as a key performance indicator within business.
  • Operational Excellence - The execution of the business strategy more consistently and reliably than the competition, with lower operational risk, lower operating costs, and increased revenues relative to its competitor.
  • Strategic Planning - An organization's process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy.
  • Employee Engagement - The extent to which employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organization, and put discretionary effort into their work.
  • Innovation Management - The process of managing an organization's innovation procedure, starting at the initial stage of ideation, to its final stage of successful implementation. It encompasses the decisions, activities, and practices of devising and implementing an innovation strategy.
  • Sustainability - The ability to maintain or improve systems and processes in a business to prevent depletion of natural resources, to ensure long-term ecological balance, and to contribute to the environmental and social welfare.


  1. Definition of Business Excellence
  2. Business Excellence Tools for SMEs
  3. Business Excellence Models BusinessExcellenceTools
  4. What are the uses of Business Excellence Framework? SAI Global

Further Reading