In 2010, as part of being a member of the Integrated Leadership group, Joe Hernandez (our CEO) was invited to hear a presentation by their keynote speaker, Robert Palmer, on Business Excellence (BE). Robert’s passion and enthusiasm encouraged Joe to invite him to visit our company and share his knowledge with our team. During his visit, he trained our Leadership Group in key BE principles and empowered us with the knowledge to take Precision to the next level.
During this time, Precision was navigating through troubled waters with high debt levels, manufacturing moving offshore to China, aging equipment and processes. Despite this, Joe personally believed we needed to change the way we ran our business to make it through the next decade.
Joe was convinced that the BE principles contained in the Australian Business Excellence Framework (ABEF) was the way forward. The principles served as the catalyst, but two lingering questions remained in his mind:
- Did we have enough petrol in our tank to see us through this?
- How long would it take to see benefits from implementing these principles?
What did we do
The first step was to assign a BE champion at Precision. This role fell to our then quality manager, Marcella Hernandez, who took it upon herself to learn everything about ABEF.
During the first year of our journey, we began to look at our organisational processes through a system view lens. This helped us start (and achieve) a few key milestones. We:
- conducted our first ever Staff Engagement survey,
- held regular item-based self-assessments, and
- introduced the Fish! philosophy into our culture to change the conversation within the organisation
In the second year, we focussed on culture development and values. We also introduced ‘working on’ & ‘working in’ the system, which saw our first Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) project. Every year after that, we increased the reach of BE principles throughout the organisation including our branch in Hong Kong. The business was getting stronger year by year and our recovery was well and truly underway.
In 2015, we applied to be evaluated by Business Excellence Australia (BEA) to get an external perspective on our progress. Much to our surprise, we won the silver award!
Five years after winning silver (in 2020), Precision’s Leadership Group decided to complete a thorough self-assessment of the 16 ABEF categories (we performed our last self-assessment in 2018). This challenging task took us 6 months and hundreds of zoom meetings to complete as we were right in the middle of the global pandemic and lockdowns in Victoria. Completing this exercise gave us a better understanding of how much we’ve achieved as an organisation since the BE presentation back in 2010.
The self-assessment resulted in a set of Opportunities For Improvements (OFIs), which was assigned to different departments within the organisation. A majority of these OFIs were completed in 2021, with the outstanding ones to be completed later this year.
In 2021, we re-applied to BEA for an evaluation. Interestingly, our self-assessment and BEA evaluation scores were similar for all 16 items, which reassured us that we understood the ABEF well within our organisation. We aimed for stars and won the gold award last year!
“We went from a struggling organisation to a thriving one thanks to the hard work of our entire staff. I have witnessed the benefits of implementing the BE principles within my organisation – they are exponential!”Joe Hernandez (CEO)