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Quality and excellence awards are crucial for the development of national economies through raising the quality standards and determining the best practices within the industrial, commercial, and social sectors. The Middle East quality awards are held separately for each sector; however, they are based on the same evaluation principles and similar assessment criteria. Government of Dubai elaborated the quality award for all businesses based on the European model. The main concept is ongoing development of organizational models in accordance with the standards that demonstrate a strong interdependency between a company’s performance and its results. All businesses have free access to the competition that proved to be a story of success.
Quality and excellence awards are the nation-wide competitions for determining the best organizations that operate in accordance with the quality standards established for various businesses. Categories of the quality and excellence awards are determined by the government in accordance with the structure of the national economy and strategic priorities. Thus, the awards are given in such sectors as education, health care, tourism, culture and sports, trade and services, transport infrastructure, finances and banking, construction and architecture, power and heavy engineering, oil, gas, and coal industries, and many other. The competitions are usually categorized for small, medium, and large-size business considering the company’s amount of production, investments, and number of employees. Assessment criteria stimulate development of the workforce, customer services, safety and environmental sustainability, social responsibility, organizational operation and production capacities of businesses. Finally, the awards encourage sharing successful strategies and practices in innovative leadership and professional development (World Quality Congress and Awards n.d.). In accordance with the report of Asian Productivity Organization “Impact of Business Excellence/Quality Awards on Enterprises,” 90% companies managed to proceed from “average” to “above average” position by improving their business excellence scoring. 83% of companies consider the contribution of the excellence award as an “important” motivation for developing the competitive advantages (Mann 2011).
MEED Quality Awards for projects in association with Ernst and Young reward best practices in the Middle East Countries that are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). GCC businesses compete in such industrial categories as the best oil and gas industry, power and water desalination, construction, leisure and tourism, social sphere and transport infrastructure. The regional competition aims at attracting investments into the region ensuring its development and providing an integrated approach to strengthening the business environment. Thus, approximately one trillion U.S. dollars is expected to be invested in the GCC construction projects until 2020; the industry stakeholders put big efforts to ensure the highest standards of quality (MEED 2012). Middle East Event Awards recognize excellence in the exhibition performances, such as sales and promotional campaigns, hosting venues, meetings and conferences, festivals, launch of corporate product or service, music, cultural and sporting events. The organization runs its ceremony as a grand event for the Middle East business elite (Middle East Event Awards 2013). MEP Middle East Awards 2013 is held to acknowledge the best technologies and practices in the mechanical electrical and plumbing sector all over the UAE. The award sets standards and assesses the ecology friendly designs and installations in the construction landscape (MEP Middle East Awards 2013). The Hotelier Middle East Awards 2013, in turn, promotes “its own collection of regional hotel brands offering international services with an Arabic touch” (The Hotelier Middle East Awards 2013). Middle East Architect Awards 2013 is a competition for projects in such sectors as residential and institutional buildings, hospitality and leisure construction, commercial and cultural amenities (Middle East Architect Awards 2013). Finally, the BCI Middle East Awards recognizes the most valuable contribution in business continuity made by organizations and individuals. It encourages efficient consultancy and management, effective recovery cases and welcomes successful newcomers (The BCI Middle East Awards 2013).
The main aim of the Dubai quality award, introduced in 1994, is determining the winners in the competition, but searching for successful organizational models in various sectors and providing benchmark for the excellence. The award is patronized by the state government of Dubai and coordinated by the Department of economic development. The main goal of the award is to unite all business initiatives and use them as a driving force for the development of Dubai economy in accordance with the governmental strategy. The Dubai quality award was created for private and public sectors on the principles used by the Excellence Model of the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM). Its main concerns are activities focused on sustainable improvement resulting in long-lasting favorable tendencies rather than on motivation for winning the prize. Categories of the award are not separate nominations but the “degree” of the excellence recognition. For example, winners in the lowest category “The Dubai Quality Appreciation Programme (DQAP)” are awarded for their initial attempts to proceed in the award. This program is mainly designed for small and medium-sized enterprises; nevertheless, some large organization or their divisions are also allowed. The “first stage” of excellence is the requirement to apply for the category “The Dubai Quality Award (DQA).” This award is given to enterprises that have demonstrated steady organizational development. Only winners may apply for the Dubai Quality Award: Gold Category (GOLD) to gain recognition in sustainable development. All Dubai organizations are encouraged to reapply every two or three year (Dubai Quality Award n.d).
Companies that wish to apply for Dubai Quality Award must fill in the application form that can be uploaded on the official website of Dubai government. The filled form must be returned to Dubai Quality Award Secretion along with the documents that prove the company’s compliance with the quality standards in their business sector. (How to Apply n.d.). Each application form is evaluated by the assessors; after that, the candidates are shortlisted for further inspection visits. Then the assessors recommend the winners to the Supreme Committee of the Award that makes the final decision. (Excellence Awards in Dubai n.d.). The application forms are evaluated in accordance with the Dubai Quality Award Model that is based on nine interdependent criteria. It comprises five “enables” criteria showing the performance of a company, and its four “results” criteria that have been demonstrated by the performance. The results can be obtained through resources and processes, people and partnerships, and leadership in the implementation of policy and strategy. The organizational model must be dynamic with innovations and learning capacity to improve the “enables” criteria. The criteria must satisfy the stakeholders’ needs and must be supported by the company’s policy and strategy. Moreover, they have to be flexible, innovative, and measurable, link the approaches, and focus on the sustainable activities. The results must be addressed to the appropriate stakeholders, give a holistic view, and demonstrate positive tendencies and sustained performance for the previous three-five years. All the results have to be based on clear targets and be easily measured. The overall assessment measures the company’s success in comparison with the competitors, industry averages, and the best performers in the class. RADAR methodology could be recommended for the applicants as efficient guidelines for determining the required results that would be a synergy with the strategy-making processes and cover the performance aspects, such as operational, financial, and stakeholders’ perception. The methodology can be used for planning, developing, and deploying approaches capable to obtain the results that would be relevant both for the present and future. RADAR monitors and analyses the results and learning activities, identifies and implements improvements if needed (Excellence Awards in Dubai n.d.).
Axiom Telecom is a multi-brand retailer and multi-channel distributor of mobile telecommunication devices and telecom services that was founded in 1997. In Dubai quality award 2011, it was recognized as a company that provides high-quality customer services and implements the global corporate practices known as “Axim Improvement Management System” program. These practices, involving employees from all organizational levels, create the environment for sustainable cultural growth and waste elimination. Axiom Telecom showed its improvement in the service delivery and unitization of the production resources that helped to minimize production costs and protect the ecosystem. Finally, Axiom Telecom managed to gain a 60% share of the handset market in the UAE that is a big success in the telecom industry. Abdul Aziz Mohammad Al Bannai, Chairman of Axiom Telecom, and his son Faisal Al Bannai, CEO, received the awarded from Deputy Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. At the ceremony, Abdul Aziz Mohammad Al Bannai said, “We are honored to receive the prestigious Dubai Quality Award. This recognition was made possible by our team's commitment to successfully deploy our company-wide lean business practices and our AIMS program that has proven instrumental in the successful growth of the organization.” (Axiom Telecom receives Dubai Quality Award 2012).
To sum up, quality and excellence awards are used by governments as an efficient tool for establishing the standards of quality in various sectors of the national economy, coordinating development processes through innovations and the best practices. The Middle East quality awards are categorized by main industrial sectors; they focus on the development within the industries. However, Dubai quality award has a different “pro-European” approach, aimed at the organizational development through innovations and the “performance-result” synergy. The awards are supported and coordinated by Dubai government; all businesses are encouraged to apply for the award and share the overall success.
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