Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for joining us today. Dubai Economy is indeed proud to honour the winners of the 2019 cycle of the Business Excellence Awards. This ceremony is also a reaffirmation of our commitment to continue the excellence journey in Dubai past all barriers, and realise the vision of the UAE to be among the best countries in the world. I take this opportunity to express our gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, for his benevolent patronage extended to this ceremony and continued support for the excellence initiatives of Dubai Economy.
The year 2019 saw Dubai taking major strides in adopting technologies, promoting innovation, empowering people and creating new partnerships. Then came COVID-19, and it gave Dubai an opportunity to demonstrate its business-friendliness, focus on public-private collaboration and resilience attained under a prudential leadership. In fact, the pandemic has seen Dubai emerging as a benchmark in health and safety standards worldwide.
Today, we are celebrating 26 years of the Business Excellence Awards, with three flagship awards - the Dubai Quality Awards, Dubai Human Development Awards, and the Dubai Service Excellence Scheme, which have continued to grow and expand to recognise exemplary practices and excellence in improving organisational efficiencies, enhancing customer happiness and accelerating human development.
The Dubai Quality Award, launched in 1994, plays a major role in promoting organisational excellence and has expanded to include the Dubai Quality Global Award for multinationals, as well as the Dubai Quality Appreciation Award for Representative Entities aimed to honour business councils, associations and groups for exemplary engagement with Dubai Economy and value addition for their respective members.
The 2019 assessment cycle for the Business Excellence Awards also witnessed our Business Excellence Department, in partnership with Dubai Exports – the export promotion agency of Dubai Economy - launching a new category under the Dubai Quality Award – the ‘Dubai Smart Industry Award,’ involving the industrial sector in the excellence march in Dubai and encouraging the digital transformation of industries in line with the objective set in the Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030. Already, 55 representatives from the manufacturing sector have been trained on the assessment criteria for the new award, to be announced in this ceremony.
The Dubai Human Development Award, initiated in 2002, plays a major role in encouraging individual businesses to launch initiatives towards developing employee capabilities. The Dubai Service Excellence Scheme, also launched in 2002, has contributed significantly towards elevating the customer experience in commercial establishments across Dubai.
The 2020 Awards has seen a 3-5% increase in applicants over the previous year, which indicates the level of consolidation the concepts of quality and excellence have reached as an incentive for businesses to grow and achieve sustainability. However, the growth of the award applicants and members from inception till date has been over 300 per cent. The excellence knowledge outreach for the business community has also seen a phenomenal increase of 8 per cent from the previous year, with 1,504 delegates being involved and trained with various excellence events, like training workshops and conferences, to develop applicant companies, assessors, mystery shoppers and businesses.
The 2020 Awards had its share of novelties too. All assessments relating to the Awards were done digitally to facilitate processes, and introduce tools for benchmarking, best practices, learning and development and community engagement. The Mystery Shopping Services, Focus Groups and Customer Satisfaction Surveys of the Dubai Service Excellence Scheme were expanded GCC-wide, and we have successfully implemented Mystery Shopping for the government sector. A ‘People of Determination’ criteria was added to the Awards, and we were pleased to see over 95 per cent of DSES members implementing it. In another significant partnership between Dubai Economy and Dubai Financial Market, 10 DFM brokers emerged winners in the DSES Mystery Shopping.
The year 2020 has seen the Business Excellence Department moving to online workshops and webinars in line with the Smart city vision of Dubai. We have conducted 10 online events already, with over 1,000 delegates worldwide in attendance. Over 3,400 feedback reports were sent to all Awards applicants so far this year, highlighting the key areas for improvements along with their strengths. Post COVID-19, the Business Excellence Department also assisted members in the Dubai Service Excellence Scheme in complying with the new health and safety standards, and their compliance stands at 90 per cent.
“The race to excellence has no finish line,” HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum has reminded us, and we are determined to continue the race. I congratulate the winners of the Business Excellence Awards 2020, and express my appreciation and gratitude to all the applicants, assessors and jury as well as our internal team in Dubai Economy for being with us in this race. Together we will continue to win.