Spring Singapore launches guide to business excellence for SMEs

Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may find it easier to improve their business operations with the launch of a new guide by government enterprise agency Spring Singapore.

The four-page guide, a follow-up to a more comprehensive workbook launched last year, outlines the reasons and steps for business excellence and introduces government schemes that SMEs can tap on.

Launched at the Business Excellence Award Winners Sharing Conference on Thursday, it is the latest in a line of initiatives by Spring to mark the 20th anniversary of its business excellence framework, which has been used by over 700 SMEs since it started in 1994.

The framework includes a three-step procedure where businesses identify their own problems, work with assessors at Spring, and implement improvements based on recommendations from a feedback report generated by Spring.

Spring's assistant chief executive Choy Sauw Kook said in her opening address that the guide aims to encourage SMEs to use the framework.

"All organisations...can use the business excellence framework to address their challenges, raise productivity, and boost organizational performance," she said.

The conference was attended by over 450 business owners and professionals. Speakers included the principal of Nanyang Girls' High School, Mdm Heng Boey Hong, and Building and Construction Authority chief executive Dr John Keung. Both organisations won the Singapore Quality Award last year.

They discussed topics ranging from innovation and sustainability to service excellence and productivity.

Officiating the conference was Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport Josephine Teo, who highlighted a common trait amongst business excellence winners. She said they have "a certain ambition to achieve beyond their present results, to do more".

However she noted that change forced by circumstances, such as a tight labour market, is not enough. "For true transformation, we need to change because we want to...otherwise it will only be on the surface," she said.

"innovation has to be embedded in the way we do things...and underpin our whole economy."