SINGAPORE - Singapore is known as the Lion City, but the maned animal also has a positive connotation in the corporate world - that of business excellence.
Companies and organisations that have robust management systems and practices, among other good practices, can be conferred the Business Excellence recognition, which comes in the form of a lion head.
Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said on Tuesday (Oct 16) that he wished every company would have the "lion logo" as a sign that companies are delivering trustworthy and quality goods and services.
"We need to help each and every company in Singapore to achieve this brand of quality, brand of trust... If we walk down any shopping aisle and see this lion logo, it speaks to everyone in the world. This is a brand of trust and this brand commands a premium," said Mr Chan.
The certification, which has been in place since 1994, is given by Enterprise Singapore. Organisations are also assessed on factors such as their leadership, corporate governance and social responsibility, how it deals with both customers and its own employees and how it uses creative or innovative ideas.
More than 2,000 companies and organisations have been given the mark of excellence.
Speaking at the 24th Business Excellence Awards Ceremony at Resorts World Sentosa Convention Centre, Mr Chan said that Singapore may be small but the country can compete on the basis of trust and quality.
"I've always said, in many different forums, that Singapore cannot compete on the basis of price or size of our population, but we can always compete on the quality of our ideas, creativity of our people, innovation of our teams and the brand of trust that we can inspire in others."
Mr Chan added: "It takes each and every one of us tremendous effort to uphold this brand of trust, brand of quality for Singapore products to shine on the world stage. But it only takes one of us, a black sheep among us, to destroy that brand."
Four organisations received Business Excellence awards at this year's ceremony, which is organised by Singapore Quality Award Governing Council and Enterprise Singapore. They are the Housing Board, Institute of Technical Education (ITE), National Library Board (NLB) and engineering consultancy Beca Carter Hollings & Ferner (Southeast Asia).
HDB was recognised for being a builder of homes and communities, while also using technological innovations to build sustainable and smart towns. ITE also uses innovative ways to help prepare students for the future, such as augmented reality or virtual reality to simulate real-world work environments.
To build reading communities, NLB also uses technology, such as the mobile application that allows users to carry out library transactions on their phone. There is also a mobile bookdrop and shelf-reading robot to enhance the book return and shelving processes.
Mrs Elaine Ng, chief executive officer of NLB, said: "Business Excellence is part of the National Library Board's DNA because we are always thinking of creative ways to bring the joy of reading and learning to those who use our libraries and archives. Our journey does not end here, and this award spurs us to do more to connect people and communities."
Mr Lee Ang Seng, managing director (Singapore and Myanmar) for Beca Carter Hollings & Ferner (Southeast Asia), said that the company achieved the award because of its people-centric practices that focus on developing competent engineers. It has an emerging leaders programme to help employees develop soft skills besides their technical expertise. The engineers are also trained to handle digital technologies, such as virtual reality tools.
Professor Cham Tao Soon, chairman of the Singapore Quality Award Governing Council, said the concept of business excellence has helped many small and medium-sized enterprises over the years, particularly in helping them drive change, professionalise their management practices and put in place structured systems and processes.
Enterprise Singapore also provides coaching sessions to help SMEs gain a better understanding of the business excellence requirements and improve their internal processes.