ARTHUR ANDERSEN BEST PRACTICE IN SERVICE EXCELLENCE AWARDS 1997

  • John Luxton
Associate Minister of International Trade

CENTRA HOTEL, AUCKLAND

I am very pleased to be involved with the 1997 Best Practice in Service Excellence Awards sponsored by Arthur Andersen and Management Magazine. The purpose of tonight's function is to celebrate the achievements of companies and business organisations which have consistently demonstrated an integrated approach to service excellence. These awards and the process of selecting tonight's ``Champions of Service'' are an important way of raising the profile of best practice within the service sector, and also within the broader business community. Globalisation, technology and communication are bringing change at pace. Our country's border cannot prevent the free flow of capital, skills or technology into or out of our society. Growth is important and this Government has a programme committed to fostering it. The best approach is to make the New Zealand business environment internationally competitive and stable. We need to attract and retain capital, skills and technology from the rest of the world so we can get the growth that we need to increase our standard of living, job growth and to pay for our social goals.

Quality and Best Practice are important. The role of ``best practice'' in enhancing business performance has been the focus of growing attention in recent years. The role of best service practice, in particular, has been strongly linked to business success. Research has revealed time and time again that businesses which are highly customer orientated and focused on delivering value based on customer preferences perform significantly better than less customer oriented companies. Whether we admit it or not, we're all in the service business and most of us have two sets of customers: the consumer and the people within our own organisation to whom we need to sell to or satisfy. The way we treat those inside customers influences the way they treat the end user of our organisations services. There are countless theories about good service. Some people make it sound like rocket science, but it is really very simple: service is about relationships. It's about connecting with human beings - understanding their concerns, challenges, interests and needs - and offering something of value to assist them. A recent book I came across called "Sacred Cows Make the Best Burgers" puts it this way, "We were created to be perfect at service, blessed with the right equipment in the right proportions: two eyes, two ears, and one mouth. But if you are in a hurry it is as if you have half a dozen mouths and no ears or eyes. There is no time to listen and respond. There is no opportunity to clarify, restate and summarise. Good communication takes time. Standing in someone else's shoes takes time." Achieving best practice in service delivery is more important today than ever. In an environment of rapidly changing customer preferences and fierce competition, understanding customer needs and fulfilling them, through an organisational-wide ``desire to delight '' is now recognised as a crucial component of a firm's competitive advantage. If we have a personal experience of bad service we take our spending dollars elsewhere. And of corse we also tell ten people who tell ten people who tell ten people about our bad service.

The service sector has grown as a proportion of GDP from around 41% in 1977/78 to around 44% in 1995/96 and is forecast to reach 46.5% by March 2001. This rapid growth of the service sector underpins the importance of service excellence.

However, scince it relates to the intangible component of all products, the importance of best practice in service excellence is not limited to the service industry. The criteria used to judge these awards, that is, the customer service indicators of Corporate Focus, Market Understanding, Process Alignment and Shared Values are all applicable to other sectors within the economy- including government. All organisations within the economy can benefit by benchmarking their performance with the performance of tonight's ``Champions of Service.'' The importance of service excellence and the need for an integrated customer focus across sectors has recently been reinforced by the preliminary results of a best practice survey of manufacturers conducted by the Ministry of Commerce. Preliminary results from this study, which follows on from a 1994 Best Manufacturing Practice survey conducted in Australia and New Zealand, illustrate that New Zealand manufacturers too have taken up the service excellence challenge. Results from the survey suggest that manufacturers are well on the way toward developing processes and practices that afford them a deep understanding of the current and future requirements of their customers. Of the seven practices surveyed which included leadership, employee and supplier practices, ``customer focus'' is the most highly developed practice in all industries within the manufacturing sector. The Government has a strong interest in understanding the underlying capabilities that characterise New Zealand's most progressive and innovative businesses. Programs such as ExcelleNZ World Competitive Service, which are offered by the Ministry of Commerce, are an integral part of the Government's strategy to foster principles of business excellence, best practice and total quality management amongst all New Zealand businesses.

The Government's interest in business capability issues is based on its commitment to providing a policy environment that fosters enterprise and innovation and a desire to reduce any barriers that firms encounter on the path to capability improvements especially as a result of Central or Local Government interventions. That is where Government has to focus on providing the right environment. A stable economy, a legislative environment that provides certainty and a bureaucracy that also realises that it is in the service industry. Government like you is in the service business.

Changes are occurring quite rapidly in some areas. In the Commerce Ministry for example the Companies Office is now on line and information is instantly available. The Patents Office has reduced turnaround from 2 years to 5 days. The LINZ Land Transfer Process is changing from 20 days to change a title to 1-2 days and ultimately a direct transaction. All are aiming at service excellence.

The Government recognises that NZ's international competitive advantage is reliant on NZ firms pushing best practice boundaries. We need to be internationally competitive to get the growth to raise New Zealand's standards of living and pay for our social objectives.

Events such as these that raise the profile of best practice concepts are an important part of this process. I congratulate the recipients of tonight's awards and wish all of the participants the best in their continued quest to achieve and extend best practice in service excellence. Well done. ThankyouCENTRA HOTEL, AUCKLAND

I am very pleased to be involved with the 1997 Best Practice in Service Excellence Awards sponsored by Arthur Andersen and Management Magazine. The purpose of tonight's function is to celebrate the achievements of companies and business organisations which have consistently demonstrated an integrated approach to service excellence. These awards and the process of selecting tonight's ``Champions of Service'' are an important way of raising the profile of best practice within the service sector, and also within the broader business community. Globalisation, technology and communication are bringing change at pace. Our country's border cannot prevent the free flow of capital, skills or technology into or out of our society. Growth is important and this Government has a programme committed to fostering it. The best approach is to make the New Zealand business environment internationally competitive and stable. We need to attract and retain capital, skills and technology from the rest of the world so we can get the growth that we need to increase our standard of living, job growth and to pay for our social goals.

Quality and Best Practice are important. The role of ``best practice'' in enhancing business performance has been the focus of growing attention in recent years. The role of best service practice, in particular, has been strongly linked to business success. Research has revealed time and time again that businesses which are highly customer orientated and focused on delivering value based on customer preferences perform significantly better than less customer oriented companies. Whether we admit it or not, we're all in the service business and most of us have two sets of customers: the consumer and the people within our own organisation to whom we need to sell to or satisfy. The way we treat those inside customers influences the way they treat the end user of our organisations services. There are countless theories about good service. Some people make it sound like rocket science, but it is really very simple: service is about relationships. It's about connecting with human beings - understanding their concerns, challenges, interests and needs - and offering something of value to assist them. A recent book I came across called "Sacred Cows Make the Best Burgers" puts it this way, "We were created to be perfect at service, blessed with the right equipment in the right proportions: two eyes, two ears, and one mouth. But if you are in a hurry it is as if you have half a dozen mouths and no ears or eyes. There is no time to listen and respond. There is no opportunity to clarify, restate and summarise. Good communication takes time. Standing in someone else's shoes takes time." Achieving best practice in service delivery is more important today than ever. In an environment of rapidly changing customer preferences and fierce competition, understanding customer needs and fulfilling them, through an organisational-wide ``desire to delight '' is now recognised as a crucial component of a firm's competitive advantage. If we have a personal experience of bad service we take our spending dollars elsewhere. And of corse we also tell ten people who tell ten people who tell ten people about our bad service.

The service sector has grown as a proportion of GDP from around 41% in 1977/78 to around 44% in 1995/96 and is forecast to reach 46.5% by March 2001. This rapid growth of the service sector underpins the importance of service excellence.

However, scince it relates to the intangible component of all products, the importance of best practice in service excellence is not limited to the service industry. The criteria used to judge these awards, that is, the customer service indicators of Corporate Focus, Market Understanding, Process Alignment and Shared Values are all applicable to other sectors within the economy- including government. All organisations within the economy can benefit by benchmarking their performance with the performance of tonight's ``Champions of Service.'' The importance of service excellence and the need for an integrated customer focus across sectors has recently been reinforced by the preliminary results of a best practice survey of manufacturers conducted by the Ministry of Commerce. Preliminary results from this study, which follows on from a 1994 Best Manufacturing Practice survey conducted in Australia and New Zealand, illustrate that New Zealand manufacturers too have taken up the service excellence challenge. Results from the survey suggest that manufacturers are well on the way toward developing processes and practices that afford them a deep understanding of the current and future requirements of their customers. Of the seven practices surveyed which included leadership, employee and supplier practices, ``customer focus'' is the most highly developed practice in all industries within the manufacturing sector. The Government has a strong interest in understanding the underlying capabilities that characterise New Zealand's most progressive and innovative businesses. Programs such as ExcelleNZ World Competitive Service, which are offered by the Ministry of Commerce, are an integral part of the Government's strategy to foster principles of business excellence, best practice and total quality management amongst all New Zealand businesses.

The Government's interest in business capability issues is based on its commitment to providing a policy environment that fosters enterprise and innovation and a desire to reduce any barriers that firms encounter on the path to capability improvements especially as a result of Central or Local Government interventions. That is where Government has to focus on providing the right environment. A stable economy, a legislative environment that provides certainty and a bureaucracy that also realises that it is in the service industry. Government like you is in the service business.

Changes are occurring quite rapidly in some areas. In the Commerce Ministry for example the Companies Office is now on line and information is instantly available. The Patents Office has reduced turnaround from 2 years to 5 days. The LINZ Land Transfer Process is changing from 20 days to change a title to 1-2 days and ultimately a direct transaction. All are aiming at service excellence.

The Government recognises that NZ's international competitive advantage is reliant on NZ firms pushing best practice boundaries. We need to be internationally competitive to get the growth to raise New Zealand's standards of living and pay for our social objectives.

Events such as these that raise the profile of best practice concepts are an important part of this process. I congratulate the recipients of tonight's awards and wish all of the participants the best in their continued quest to achieve and extend best practice in service excellence. Well done. ThankyouCENTRA HOTEL, AUCKLAND

I am very pleased to be involved with the 1997 Best Practice in Service Excellence Awards sponsored by Arthur Andersen and Management Magazine. The purpose of tonight's function is to celebrate the achievements of companies and business organisations which have consistently demonstrated an integrated approach to service excellence. These awards and the process of selecting tonight's ``Champions of Service'' are an important way of raising the profile of best practice within the service sector, and also within the broader business community. Globalisation, technology and communication are bringing change at pace. Our country's border cannot prevent the free flow of capital, skills or technology into or out of our society. Growth is important and this Government has a programme committed to fostering it. The best approach is to make the New Zealand business environment internationally competitive and stable. We need to attract and retain capital, skills and technology from the rest of the world so we can get the growth that we need to increase our standard of living, job growth and to pay for our social goals.

Quality and Best Practice are important. The role of ``best practice'' in enhancing business performance has been the focus of growing attention in recent years. The role of best service practice, in particular, has been strongly linked to business success. Research has revealed time and time again that businesses which are highly customer orientated and focused on delivering value based on customer preferences perform significantly better than less customer oriented companies. Whether we admit it or not, we're all in the service business and most of us have two sets of customers: the consumer and the people within our own organisation to whom we need to sell to or satisfy. The way we treat those inside customers influences the way they treat the end user of our organisations services. There are countless theories about good service. Some people make it sound like rocket science, but it is really very simple: service is about relationships. It's about connecting with human beings - understanding their concerns, challenges, interests and needs - and offering something of value to assist them. A recent book I came across called "Sacred Cows Make the Best Burgers" puts it this way, "We were created to be perfect at service, blessed with the right equipment in the right proportions: two eyes, two ears, and one mouth. But if you are in a hurry it is as if you have half a dozen mouths and no ears or eyes. There is no time to listen and respond. There is no opportunity to clarify, restate and summarise. Good communication takes time. Standing in someone else's shoes takes time." Achieving best practice in service delivery is more important today than ever. In an environment of rapidly changing customer preferences and fierce competition, understanding customer needs and fulfilling them, through an organisational-wide ``desire to delight '' is now recognised as a crucial component of a firm's competitive advantage. If we have a personal experience of bad service we take our spending dollars elsewhere. And of corse we also tell ten people who tell ten people who tell ten people about our bad service.

The service sector has grown as a proportion of GDP from around 41% in 1977/78 to around 44% in 1995/96 and is forecast to reach 46.5% by March 2001. This rapid growth of the service sector underpins the importance of service excellence.

However, scince it relates to the intangible component of all products, the importance of best practice in service excellence is not limited to the service industry. The criteria used to judge these awards, that is, the customer service indicators of Corporate Focus, Market Understanding, Process Alignment and Shared Values are all applicable to other sectors within the economy- including government. All organisations within the economy can benefit by benchmarking their performance with the performance of tonight's ``Champions of Service.'' The importance of service excellence and the need for an integrated customer focus across sectors has recently been reinforced by the preliminary results of a best practice survey of manufacturers conducted by the Ministry of Commerce. Preliminary results from this study, which follows on from a 1994 Best Manufacturing Practice survey conducted in Australia and New Zealand, illustrate that New Zealand manufacturers too have taken up the service excellence challenge. Results from the survey suggest that manufacturers are well on the way toward developing processes and practices that afford them a deep understanding of the current and future requirements of their customers. Of the seven practices surveyed which included leadership, employee and supplier practices, ``customer focus'' is the most highly developed practice in all industries within the manufacturing sector. The Government has a strong interest in understanding the underlying capabilities that characterise New Zealand's most progressive and innovative businesses. Programs such as ExcelleNZ World Competitive Service, which are offered by the Ministry of Commerce, are an integral part of the Government's strategy to foster principles of business excellence, best practice and total quality management amongst all New Zealand businesses.

The Government's interest in business capability issues is based on its commitment to providing a policy environment that fosters enterprise and innovation and a desire to reduce any barriers that firms encounter on the path to capability improvements especially as a result of Central or Local Government interventions. That is where Government has to focus on providing the right environment. A stable economy, a legislative environment that provides certainty and a bureaucracy that also realises that it is in the service industry. Government like you is in the service business.

Changes are occurring quite rapidly in some areas. In the Commerce Ministry for example the Companies Office is now on line and information is instantly available. The Patents Office has reduced turnaround from 2 years to 5 days. The LINZ Land Transfer Process is changing from 20 days to change a title to 1-2 days and ultimately a direct transaction. All are aiming at service excellence.

The Government recognises that NZ's international competitive advantage is reliant on NZ firms pushing best practice boundaries. We need to be internationally competitive to get the growth to raise New Zealand's standards of living and pay for our social objectives.

Events such as these that raise the profile of best practice concepts are an important part of this process. I congratulate the recipients of tonight's awards and wish all of the participants the best in their continued quest to achieve and extend best practice in service excellence. Well done. Thankyou