Oct 032013

WITH the Asean integration just two years away, the need for quality management is even more apparent for local entities to compete with their global counterparts.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) hopes to make local organizations aim for quality excellence by participating in the Philippine Quality Awards.

Patterned after the Baldridge Performance Excellence Program, the Philippine Quality Awards (PQA) is a set of criteria for assessing an organization’s performance and is the country’s highest level of recognition. The program guides organizations in achieving performance excellence.


DTI 7 Director Asteria Caberte said all organizations strive for quality but only few have succeeded in understanding what it takes to achieve it.

Phillip Jason Roque, trade and industry development specialist under the DTI’s Center for Industrial Competitiveness, explained that organizations that aim to better themselves apply for the PQA program and get criteria to conduct self-assessments and
are subject to external assessments.

Roque also enumerated the benefits of applying for the PQA, which include gaining an outsider’s perspective of an organization’s strengths and opportunities for improvement, achieving greater success and increasing employee involvement and organization capabilities and sharpening of organizational tools for achieving business success. If selected to receive the award or any recognition level, they will receive a PQA trophy in Malacañang from the President of the Philippines and they can use it for publicity.


More importantly, Roque said the feedback report from the assessors can guide an organization’s quality and productivity improvement efforts. “The award is secondary.

All you get is a trophy from the President. There is no monetary prize. The feedback is the most important as you can use it for strategic planning,” he told participants at the symposium yesterday.

The PQA was the flagship program of the National Action Agenda for Productivity under the administration of former president Fidel Ramos, back when the Philippines was being touted as the tiger economy of Asia. Although the NAAP roadmap is no longer in effect, the PQA is still being awarded to both public and private organizations.

Criteria include points on leadership; strategic planning; customer focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce focus; operations focus; and results.

Because the criteria are very thorough, organizers decided to adopt recognition levels to encourage more applications. Roque said that if organizations found it too difficult, they might be discouraged to sign up.

Recognition levels

There are four levels of recognition—commitment to quality management, proficiency in quality management, mastery in quality management and the Philippine Quality Award for performance excellence, which is the highest recognition.

There has been only one recipient of the top award so far and it was granted to United Laboratories Inc. in 2008. Since the program started, only 49 percent of the
applications were awarded or recognized, as the rest were unable for comply with criteria. About 73 percent of the applicants were from the private sector, 55 percent of which were in manufacturing.

They hope to see more applications from government agencies, saying competitiveness works when both private sector and government go hand in hand.

Roque admitted that one challenge they face in implementing the program is lack of PQA assessors. More than 500 prospective assessors have been trained but just 25 percent have actually served as assessors.

Considered the backbone of the PQA program, assessors spend between 500 and 600 hours assessing an application annually between the months of May and October. They are responsible for preparing the feedback report for the applicant organization. However, Roque admitted that the work is voluntary and those who have undergone training often beg off from assessing applicants due to their work commitments.

By promoting the PQA program throughout the country, they hope to attract more volunteer assessors and applicant organizations from other regions, as most of their applicants are based in Luzon.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 04, 2013.

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