Raising competitiveness in the business world has become an indisputable need of any company. Whereas some companies are more capable at organizing themselves, others need advice and training, especially in reaching international standards of quality, environmental protection, workplace safety, social responsibility, risk management and other fields.
The European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) and the European Organization for Quality (EOQ) are in charge of training experts, rating and promotion in Europe and the implementation of the best business practices.
The Serbian Quality Management and Business Excellence Association (SRMEK) became a member of the EFQM in late 2017 and an associate member of the EOQ in 2018, which has opened the possibility of carrying out training for management and the implementation of the business excellence model in Serbia as well.
The first seminar in Serbia concerning this topic, called “Explaining the Road to Business Excellence” was held by Dr Nenad Savic of Slovenia on October 5-6. In his interview with eKapija, Savic explains that, with the development and the use of the EFQM model of business excellence, Serbia can improve the competitiveness of its economy and confirm its status as a leader in the Balkans regional market and beyond.
eKapija: How would you explain what quality is and what business excellence is?
– The implementation of international standards in the fields of quality, environmental protection, workplace safety, social responsibility, risk management and others in business processes has become an indisputable need in numerous companies in Serbia and the world. The introduction of the business excellence model is a step more and a step beyond. It is a tendency to meet the needs and expectations of all interested parties within an organization.
eKapija: What is the most useful piece of advice you would give when it comes to achieving quality (business excellence)?
– It is necessary to raise the level of awareness and understanding of the process of achieving business excellence. I am convinced that a strong development of business excellence and the EFQM model of excellence in Serbia can make its economy considerably more competitive.
eKapija: What has the experience shown as to which companies are most interested in making further progress and why?
– There are several examples of European countries which have successfully implemented the EFQM model of business excellence. In all these cases, state support was crucial. The basic and most important thing is that there are 3 key interested parties: the Government, the Chamber of Commerce and the organization which is the national partner of the EFQM, making joint efforts under a common strategy and toward common goals.
If the state makes the first steps, it is usually the public sector and the companies working closely with it that get involved first. The interest and the incentives then continue to spread from there to small and medium enterprises.
eKapija: What are the steps that lead to successful management?
– Dedication to work and the company is the first one. The second one is education and training in the best institutions and by the best lecturers. Sharing experiences with others and comparing the results is the third step. One needs to be determined and work continuously.
eKapija: Do you think that there's an awareness in Serbia of the importance of taking part in practical activities and seminars to the end of achieving success?
– The awareness is there, but it is unfortunately at a very low level. Human potential is underutilized in Serbia, as it lacks training and motivation.
Through the participation of the company's experts in the EFQM seminars and the company's participation in grading by competent testers, big opportunities for learning from the best are available. The entire process considerably increases the motivation of everyone in the company, raises their awareness and dedication to achieving the highest goals, has an impact on achieving important results, raises the company's visibility in the marketing sense...
eKapija: What do local managers lack the most?
– Training and participation in international workshops and forums, certainly. Furthermore, it is crucial to compare and compete with similar organizations. Managers in Serbia do not recognize the company's mission clearly or define goals for themselves. Everything remains in the planning stage.
eKapija: Why is the self-rating of a company important and how is it achieved?
– Understanding the value and the process of efficient self-rating is the key topic of the training for the implementation of the EFQM model toward achieving business excellence. The self-rating of an organization teaches us to understand its processes, how to plan, how to set priorities, how to manage upgrades and how to start activities.
eKapija: In your opinion, what is the biggest obstacle to the development of management in Serbia?
– The state should use its mechanisms to initiate the processes in the leading companies. The rest will join.
eKapija: In which way does SRMEK help managers?
– The main idea and the vision is to train as many mangers to manage quality in organizations and to implement the business excellence model through training courses, seminars and public lectures. This would educate a new, young generation of leaders who would change the current state of things.
Training courses enable the development of managers who understand and shape a successful way to business excellence.