Excellent customer service – 2012 PQA awardee DOST-IX credo (part 1) PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 09:26

When the national news came out last week that the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Region-IX based in Zamboanga City was awarded the prestigious national Philippine Quality Award (PQA) Recognition for Commitment to Quality Management, the office of DOST-IX Regional Director Dr. Brenda Nazareth-Manzano was swamped with congratulations. 

DOST-IX is among the four (4) recipients in the 14th PQA Award national ceremony held last January 20, 2012 at the Rizal Ceremonial Hall, Malacañang Palace. His Excellency Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III proudly handed the PQA trophy to the awardees.

The Philippine Quality Award (PQA) is the country’s highest level of recognition given to government and private organizations for performance excellence. It is equivalent to the very prestigious Baldrige National Quality Program (BNQP) of the U.S. and other National Quality Awards worldwide. And this award sets a global standard to help Philippine businesses / organizations achieve world-class performance excellence. It serves as a template for competitiveness based on the principles of Total Quality Management (TQM).

The other three (3) awardees this year are the DOST’s Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC) in Bicutan ( government sector category), and  two (2) private organizations - Automotive Airconditioning Technology Philippines Inc. (Laguna) and the  NYK-TDG EBusiness Corp. (Taguig City) as the private sector recipients of the PQA’s Recognition for Proficiency in Quality Management.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is the award manager (in-charge) that coordinates with the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) for public sector and the Philippine Society for Quality for private sector as the award administrators in choosing the awardees.  With their strict criteria, meticulous judging and actual inspections, it takes months before the final result is released. To date it has honored 30 government agencies and private institutions nationwide since 1997.

And when I found out from Dr. Manzano, that DOST-IX is the first national government agency in Mindanao to receive the PQA award, I was elated. I thought there were already other previous government awardees in Mindanao and Visayas. Since PQA started, I learned, only four (4) government offices had received PQA award so far.  These are the NEDA Region-1, NSO Central Office, and the local government units of Makati and Marikina.   We should all be proud of DOST-IX.  Felicitations too to all their personnel for their talents, commitment, and teamwork made them achieved the PQA award with high grades. 

I sought an intensive interview with Dr. Manzano last weekend to find out how her office was able to get this challenging and inspiring award. I also wanted to find out the impact of this award to our region aside from the honor and prestige it brought to us. What I loved among her answers is when she said that her office delights in serving the public with excellent customer service.

Here’s my first part of the 2-part interview session she tagged “ DOST-IX Journey towards Performance Excellence”:

Pep Talk:  What made your office pursue performance excellence?

Dr. Manzano: The pursuit of performance excellence was not an option. It was the only way forward if we had to serve better. For a small organization like ours, with limited resources, we had to continually improve our processes in order to be more effective in delivering our services to a wide range of customers. We cannot “always do what you have always done for fear that we get what you have always gotten.”

We are also inspired by the fact that government service can and should be efficient, timely and cost-effective. We have no business advising our customers, the entrepreneurs and MSMEs, to improve their productivity if we cannot show the way.

Pep Talk: How did it all started?

Dr. Manzano: In early 2010, there was this project “Organizational Transformation of DOST Agencies Towards Performance Excellence” spearheaded by the DOST-Metals Industry Research and Development Center (also a recipient in the 14th cycle of PQA) together with the Philippine Council for Industry and Energy Research and Development. DOST-IX was selected as the pilot regional office to implement the project.

At the regional level, we created an Ad Hoc Committee, called “Business Excellence and Service Transformation (B.E.S.T.) Team”. The team, which is composed of senior leaders and key personnel of DOST-IX, embarked on a battery of capability building activities facilitated by DAP and MIRDC. We were introduced to the PQA framework, conducted observation visits to high performing organizations (previous PQA awardees). It was a long journey which led to developing capabilities to perform meaningful total quality management assessment, deployment, alignment and continual improvement.

Pep Talk: How were your office assessed? What were the criteria used?

Dr. Manzano: First, we went through an Eligibility Determination process.  After receiving the notice that we were eligible to apply for the award, we worked ourselves to the bone in preparing the 50-page Application Report.

Our application report was reviewed by a board of judges composed of high level business executives, and quality leaders from industry, academe and government. Having attained a score that warranted a site visit, we were further assessed by a Team of Assessors composed of four specially trained business and quality practitioners from the industry and government.

The PQA criteria are adapted from the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA) criteria of the United States. The criteria consist of seven (7) categories: (1) leadership; (2) strategic planning; (3) customer and public focus; (4) measurement, analysis and knowledge management; (5) workforce focus; (6) process management, and (7) results.

The value we gained from this whole exercise was the external perspective of our organizational performance based on the review made by the assessors. The Feedback Report prepared by the assessors outlined our strengths and areas for improvement.

(To be continued tomorrow - what's in for the region with this PQA award)


Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 January 2012 09:37