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Organisations vie for official World Class status

Media Release
Organisations vie for official World Class status in New Zealand’s top business performance awards   
The New Zealand Fire Service, Western Bay of Plenty District Council and the Royal New Zealand Navy are in the running for the 2009 New Zealand Business Excellence Awards, the toughest and most prestigious business awards in the country. The presentations will be made by the Governor-General, the Hon Sir Anand Satyanand at a gala luncheon in Auckland on Friday 20th November.
The awards are administered by the New Zealand Business Excellence Foundation. Foundation CEO, Mike Watson, says “Being awarded a Gold gives the winner official World Class status. These awards are unique in that they are based on an international criteria and scoring system and a rigorous 4 stage assessment process. They are the only awards in New Zealand which are fully aligned to the internationally respected US Baldrige criteria. Only 2 Gold level Awards have been presented in New Zealand in the past 13 years.”
Business Excellence was formally introduced to the New Zealand Fire Service in 2001. Since then it has been the focus of consistent and dedicated effort by many people across the organisation towards achieving the goal of being a truly world class comprehensive emergency management agency.

The Fire Service last entered the Business Excellence awards in 2005, and at that time secured a Bronze award. Russell Wood, Director Strategic Projects says "The goal in 2009 is to significantly improve on our previous result and to receive a quality Feedback Report that will enable us to agree and prioritise those areas requiring improvement. The outcome of this assessment will drive our improvement plans over the next two to three years. It will reaffirm senior leadership commitment to Business Excellence, as a means to ensure the NZ Fire Service continues to be the very best it can be.”

This is the fourth NZBEA evaluation for the Royal New Zealand Navy since the commencement of its business excellence journey over a decade ago.

Director Naval Excellence, Cdr Karl Woodhead says “It has taken considerable organisational courage and commitment to expose the Navy’s leadership, processes, and people to such a rigorous internationally recognised performance criteria, with the results available for all to see. The three awards achieved so far – two Bronze and one Silver – reflect the Navy’s continuous improvement and cultural change over that time, and have enabled the Navy to track progress towards its vision of becoming the best small-nation Navy in the world.  A Gold award – literally translating to ‘world class’ – would mean realisation of that vision.”

Competing alongside the two big state services is the Western Bay of Plenty District Council. Glenn Snelgrove, CEO says recognition by the New Zealand Business Excellence Foundation would validate his organisation's integrated approach to operations management. 

"The business excellence journey has been about ensuring every system, process and activity of our business directly aligns with meeting the needs of our customers.  For this approach to be endorsed as international best practice means we'll be well placed to meet the ongoing challenges associated with serving one of New Zealand's fastest growing areas."

Presented alongside the Business Excellence Awards will be a distinct second tier of awards, the NZ Business Achievement Awards. These are an abridged but still tough version of the Business Excellence Awards. In the running for the Business Achievement Awards are Saint Clair Family Estate and Recreational Services Limited.

Saint Clair Family Estate is internationally recognised as a leading New Zealand wine producer.  Their quality wines are served in some of the finest establishments around the world and have acquired over 80 trophies over the last eight years. 

Neal Ibbotson, Managing Director says, “A top New Zealand Business Achievement award reflects quality, not only within Saint Clair wines but throughout the entire Saint Clair business. Entering in the awards has required a complete team effort over a long period of time. To be able to grow in size whilst remaining focused on maintaining and improving our business as well as the quality of the wines is an amazing team achievement.” 

Recreational Services Ltd has a successful history of award submissions, as it has sought external validation against best-practice benchmarks.
 “However”, Director, Keitha Turner says “whilst we are proud of these successes, we felt that attaining an NZ Business Achievement Award would provide a more comprehensive recognition of performance levels across our business as a whole. The level of effort that has gone into this award was immense and should not be under-estimated.”
Established in 1992 the New Zealand Business Excellence Foundation is a not-for-profit Incorporated Society, set up by private and public enterprise to help improve the overall performance of New Zealand organisations.
The 2009 New Zealand Business Excellence Awards Gala Luncheon takes place at the National Maritime Museum in Auckland, 11.45 – 3.30 on Friday 20th November. Some tables are still available.

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