A key vector that has helped Tata companies grow and establish themselves on the global stage as business leaders in their respective fields is the strong business excellence movement in the group.
One of the initiatives in the business excellence movement is a framework known as the Tata Business Excellence Model (TBEM), which has been adapted from the renowned Malcolm Baldrige archetype. The essence of this framework is a proactive attitude rather than a reactive one. It is about changing the business and running it effectively and efficiently. The TBEM assessment covers seven core aspects of business operations: leadership; strategic planning; customer focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce focus; process management and outcomes of financial and non-financial parameters; and business results.
The model works under the aegis of Tata Quality Management Services (TQMS), an in-house organisation mandated to help different Tata companies achieve their business excellence and improvement goals.
In recent years, the TBEM framework has been adapted to include new business and societal initiatives such as governance, safety, climate change and innovation.
The other core elements of the Tata business excellence movement are the Tata Code of Conduct (TCoC), a mandatory pan-Tata policy that defines how Tata employees can conduct themselves, and the Management of Business Ethics, a programme that helps Tata companies drive ethics and values in the organisation.
As a result, the business excellence processes have come to characterise the Tata way of enhancing and conducting its business endeavours, and to a great extent, have helped define the Tata brand.
The TBEM movement in Tata has a built-in reward and recognition mechanism wherein companies that have achieved a score of 600 on the TBEM framework are felicitated with the JRD QV Award.
TQMS aims to offer value to group companies in enhancing their performance and global competitiveness. It collaborates with Tata companies, through long- and short-term initiatives, on the following key areas: TBEM assessment, TBEM training, improvement services, climate change, innovation, corporate governance and ethics, safety and education excellence.
Through TBEM, TQMS helps Tata companies gain insights on their strengths and their opportunities for improvement. This is managed through an annual process of 'applications and assessments'. Each company writes an application wherein it describes, in the context of the TBEM matrix, what it does and how it does it. This submission is then gauged by trained assessors, who study the application, visit the company and interact with its people. The assessors map out the strengths and improvement opportunities existing in the company before providing their feedback to its leadership team.
Implicit in the TQMS approach is the belief that its wide-ranging methodology will enable Tata companies to become exemplars — on business as well as ethical parameters — in their respective spheres.
The TBEM matrix is used for the organisational self-assessment of Tata companies, recognition and awards, and for providing feedback to applicants. In addition, TBEM plays three important supportive roles in strengthening the competitiveness of Tata companies:
The TBEM methodology comprises a set of questions that applicant Tata companies have to answer. Its main objectives are to enhance value for all stakeholders and contribute to marketplace success; maximise enterprise-wide effectiveness and capabilities; and deliver organisational and personal learning.
The core values and concepts of TBEM are embodied in seven categories: leadership; strategic planning; customer focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce focus; process management and outcomes of financial and non-financial parameters; and business results.
The TBEM system focuses on certain key areas of business performance: customer-focused results; product and service results; financial and market results; human resource results; organisational effectiveness results; governance and social responsibility results.
Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata, or JRD, as he was popularly known in business circles, guided the destiny of India’s largest business house for well over half a century. Over the years that he was at the helm of affairs of the group, JRD Tata helped establish many new enterprises.
He was always conscious about the importance of quality, and ensured that this quality consciousness prevailed in all the organisations that belonged to the Tata group. He was proud that the companies within the group were known, domestically and internationally, for the quality of their products and services.
As a tribute to his quest for perfection in every sphere of activity, the JRD Tata Quality Value Award was instituted in his memory.
The JRD QV Award is modelled on the lines of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, integrating beneficial attributes from other national quality awards. The award recognises a company within the Tata group, which excels in quality management and has achieved the highest levels of quality.
This is an annual award presented to the winning company on July 29 each year, the birth anniversary of JRD Tata.
The objectives of the award are:
Each company writes an application in which it describes what job it does and how it does the job in the context of the criteria set by TBEM. This application is then evaluated and studied by trained TBEM assessors who analyse the processes and systems prevalent in the company being assessed. The assessors visit the company and interact with its office bearers across all levels and departments. They draw out the strengths and improvement opportunities, and then provide feedback to the leadership team. An in-built scoring mechanism enables the company to track its progress over time, and ensure that it keeps improving.
Criteria for recognition: