Focus background

About COER

Overview

The Centre for Organisational Excellence Research (COER) undertakes benchmarking and business excellence research and consultancy.

COER consists of three entities:

  • COER Massey University is the RESEARCH arm and focuses on "Acquiring Knowledge". It administers doctoral research programmes on business excellence, benchmarking, productivity and innovation.
  • BPIR.com Limited is the KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER arm and focuses on "Best Practice Sharing“ through the Best Practice Improvement Resource website.
  • COER Limited is the CONSULTANCY arm and focuses on "Applying Knowledge". It provides consultancy in business excellence and benchmarking and organizes the International Best Practice Competition.

Since its creation in 2001, COER has had a significant impact on the field of business excellence and benchmarking in New Zealand and throughout the world. A snapshot of its accomplishments from 2001 to today are shown below:

  1. In 2020, COER published a comprehensive listing and analysis of all business excellence journal papers that have been published from 1990 to today. This list is continually updated and can be accessed from here. Of note is that COER’s researchers have published more business excellence papers than any other research institution.
  2. From 2019 to 2020, Dr Robin Mann was commissioned by the Asian Productivity Organisation to review the operations and services of the National Productivity Organisations of Mongolia and Bangladesh and provide recommendations on how they could increase their impact on raising productivity within their countries.
  3. In 2019, the 3rd Cycle of Dubai We Learn for the Dubai Government Excellence Program was completed. COER supported 10 government projects with all project team’s using the TRADE Best Practice Benchmarking Methodology. Projects achieved major stakeholder benefits. Three projects were assessed as 7 Star Projects (Dubai Police - Airport Secure Luggage, Dubai Municipality - Digital Transformation of Contracts, and Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services – Innovation - Moon-shot: Is Where Magic Happens).

Teams of Duabi We Learn 3rd Cycle
Teams of Dubai We Learn 3rd Cycle

  1. In 2019, COER/BPIR.com launched a series of Best Practice Reports for each category and item of Business Excellence with over 30 reports planned. The first publication was titled Business Excellence Series - Best Practice Report: Leadership: Vision, Mission, and Values.
  2. In 2018, COER worked with the Public Service Commission in Tonga to design Tonga’s Business Excellence Initiative to embed a culture of excellence in Tonga’s public service.

Public Service Excellence Consensus meeting undertaken by PSC as a pilot exercise
Public Service Excellence Consensus meeting undertaken by PSC as a pilot exercise

  1. In 2018, COER and the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry co-founded and organised the Global Organisational Excellence Congress. Partners in the congress were the APQO, GBN and International Best Practice Competition. Over 1,400 people were in attendance making it one of the largest international conferences on business excellence.

Dr. Robin Mann moderated the Business Excellence Administrator’s Panel Discussion – The Role of Excellence Models in Nation Building
Dr. Robin Mann moderated the Business Excellence Administrator’s Panel Discussion – The Role of Excellence Models in Nation Building at the Global Organisational Excellence Congress

  1. In 2018, the 2nd Cycle of Dubai We Learn for the Dubai Government Excellence Program was completed. COER supported 11 government projects with all project team’s using the TRADE Best Practice Benchmarking Methodology. Projects achieved major stakeholder benefits. Three projects were assessed as 7 Star Projects (Dubai Police - Call of Duty: Police Edition – Best practices in vehicle fleet maintenance, Dubai Government Human Resources - Launching a Dubai Government HR Think Tank, and Dubai Health Authority - Prevention better than Cure / Innovative Prevention Program to Combat Diabetes). In addition, a book from the 2nd Cycle of Dubai We Learn was published showcasing all 11 benchmarking projects.

Teams of Duabi We Learn 2nd Cycle
Teams of Dubai We Learn 2nd Cycle

  1. In 2018, Dr Robin Mann served as a technical expert for the Sheikh Khalifa Government Excellence Programme’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Government Excellence Award for the federal government. This work involved providing technical assistance to over 100 international assessors.
  2. In 2018, COER initiated a research project called “Excellence Without Borders” supported by the Global Excellence Model Council and GBN. The purpose of the project was to investigate the role of Business Excellence Custodians on national strategies for Business Excellence (BE) and study the best practices in designing BE frameworks/ models, promoting BE, facilitating BE, awarding BE and resourcing BE on a national/ regional and sectoral level. 26 countries were involved with the results published here. Several academic journal papers are in the process of publication.
  3. In 2017, Dr Robin Mann served as a technical expert for the Abu Dhabi Government Excellence Awards assisting the business excellence assessments of 53 Abu Dhabi government entities and the work of over 150 international assessors.
  4. In 2017, COER founded the Organisation-wide Innovation Award with the first award presented as part of the International Best Practice Competition in Mumbai, India, 2017. The National Library Board of Singapore were the winners.
  5. In 2016, the 1st Cycle of Dubai We Learn for the Dubai Government Excellence Program was completed. COER supported 13 government projects with all project team’s using the TRADE Best Practice Benchmarking Methodology. Projects achieved major stakeholder benefits. Four projects were assessed as 7 Star Projects (Dubai Statistics – Innovative Statistics, Dubai Municipality – Improving Purchasing Procedures and Channels, Knowledge and Human Development Authority – People Happiness, and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority – Shams Dubai Initiative - Increasing Customer Awareness and Engagement). In addition, a book from the 1st Cycle of Dubai We Learn was published showcasing all 13 benchmarking projects.

Teams of Duabi We Learn 1st Cycle
Teams of Dubai We Learn 1st Cycle

  1. In 2016, COER revised the TRADE Benchmarking Certification scheme so that completed projects were assessed using a star system with the following levels of recognition awarded:
    • Commendation - 7 Stars ★★★★★★★ Role model approach/ deployment
    • Commendation - 5 to 6 Stars ★★★★★★ Excellent approach/ deployment
    • Proficient - 3 to 4 Stars ★★★★ Competent approach/ deployment
    • Incomplete - 1 to 2 Stars ★★ Deficient approach/ deployment
  1. In 2016, Dr Robin Mann served as an Innovation assessor for the Sheikh Khalifa Government Excellence Awards, United Arab Emirates, with assessments undertaken at 13 government entities.
  2. In 2015, Dubai We Learn was launched as a joint initiative by the Dubai Government Excellence Program and COER to accelerate best practice learning and knowledge sharing in the government sector. The initiative consisted of benchmarking training and comprehensive facilitation and research support for 13 government projects and access to the BPIR.com and benchmarking training for all 37 government entities.
  3. From 2013 to 2015, COER led a project to study the status and needs of National Productivity Organisations for the Asian Productivity Organisation (APO). This project involved 16 countries; Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Iran, Lao, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of China, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. The final report consisted of 362 pages on Country Trends, NPO Strategy, Systems & Services, NPO Performance Results, NPO SWOT Analysis and APO Strategy and Assistance. The research findings were directly fed into the strategy development process of the APO and NPOs and an academic paper was published on some of the findings.

Dr Robin Mann (centre) with the Secretary General of the APO and the National Experts from member countries
Dr Robin Mann (centre) with the Secretary General of the APO and the National Experts from member countries

  1. From 2013 to 2017, COER supported the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) in designing and launching the Philippines Government Excellence Class. This included training DAP staff to be assessors, designing the assessment and validation process, trialling the assessment with 20 government institutions with the ultimate intention to reach over 10,000 public institutions. In addition, COER delivered many TRADE Best Practice Benchmarking Training programs for the Philippine’s public service. In this time the Philippine’s also launched two best practice competitions, one for the private sector and one for the public sector with both aligned to the International Best Practice Competition.
  2. 2012 onwards, COER founded the International Best Practice Competition and New Zealand Best Practice Competition. These competitions encourage organisations to share their best practices through a written case study and presentation. In 2012, they were organised with support from MBIE and ATEED. Since then the International Best Practice Competition has been held in Singapore, 2014, UAE, 2015, Philippines, 2016, India, 2017 and UAE 2018. To date over 450 organisations have entered with over 200 best practices presented at the events and subsequently shared on the BPIR.com.
  3. 2012 onwards. COER developed with GBN colleagues the GBN’s Global Benchmarking Award. This award recognises organisations that use benchmarking as an integral part of their organisation’s improvement and innovation drive. Organisation’s apply through an electronic submission and are required to give a presentation at the Global Benchmarking Network’s International Benchmarking Conference. Winners have been Watson Real Estate (New Zealand) in 2012, Knowledge and Human Development Authority (United Arab Emirates) in 2013, OCBC Bank (Singapore) in 2014, The Medical City, (Philippines) in 2015, Al Jazeera International Catering Ltd (United Arab Emirates) 2016 and Roads & Transport Authority (Dubai, UAE) 2018.
  4. In 2012, COER were the lead organiser of the World Business Capability Congress, Auckland, New Zealand. Co-organisers were the New Zealand Organisation for Quality and the New Zealand Business Excellence Foundation. The Programme consisted of 17 Congress themes, 24 Keynote presentations, 43 Full presentations, 72 Overview presentations, 40 Best Practice Competition presentations, 3 Panel Discussions (with 13 presentations) and a total of 192 presentations. In total there were 172 speakers from 24 countries with 23% presentations from researchers/academia and 77% from business and an attendance of over 300 people.

Dr Robin Mann presenting at the World Business Capability Congress
Dr Robin Mann presenting at the World Business Capability Congress

  1. From 2011 to 2016, COER were commissioned by the APO to write several Business Excellence Guidebooks:
  1. From 2010 to 2012, COER worked closely with Business Excellence Chile in supporting Chile’s business excellence and benchmarking initiatives with TRADE Best Practice Benchmarking introduced into Chile. Keynote presentations were delivered at the Best Practices for Local Government Conference and Chile's National Business Excellence Conference and many TRADE workshops were undertaken.
  2. In 2009, Dr Robin Mann was appointed as Chief Expert for Business Excellence by the Asian Productivity Organisation for a project to review the value and impact of business excellence in Asia. This was the first business excellence study to be supported by national productivity institutions enabling access to many award-winning companies and CEOs in Japan, India, Thailand, Taiwan and Singapore. The findings from this research (which required visits to these countries and interviewing CEOs, workshops and discussion groups) were used by the Asian Productivity Organisation and its 20 member countries to guide their national business excellence strategies. Download the report here.
  3. From 2008 to 2009, The Civil Service College of Singapore contracted COER to deliver the Jumpstart Benchmarking Programme. This initiative involved developing the benchmarking methodology for the public sector, training, and facilitating 8 benchmarking projects within 7 government departments specializing in areas such as education, policymaking, security and religion. The programme was a big success and led to the TRADE benchmarking methodology becoming recommended for all public sector organizations in Singapore and taught through a regularly held program for Civil Servants through the training arm of the Civil Service College.
  4. In 2008, COER led on behalf of the GBN the most comprehensive study to-date into benchmarking with over 450 companies participating from over 40 countries. The research findings were used to guide the strategy of the GBN. Download the report here or journal paper here.
  5. In 2008, COER partnered with PYXIS and developed a Business Excellence Tools website, http://www.businessexcellencetools.comto promote:
    • Assessor a card-based assessment tool. It has been specifically designed to provide an action learning experience on the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence combined with an organisational self-assessment in the fastest possible time.
    • Benchmarking and Performance Excellence Self-assessment (BPES) is a comprehensive self-assessment programme that enables organisations to assess their management systems and performance against world-class performance criteria and benchmark their performance against other participating organisations worldwide.
  1. From 2006-2008, COER facilitated the government excellence program for Ras Al Khaimah (United Arab Emirates). This program involved assisting 16 government departments towards business excellence (through helping them to apply the EFQM model and identify best practices through benchmarking). It also involved organising a conference at which the government departments shared their best practices (over 150 delegates) and facilitating regular sharing meetings.
  2. In 2007, COER substantially revised the TRADE Best Practice Benchmarking Methodology and introduced a certification scheme to raise the professionalism of benchmarking. Individuals trained in TRADE can advance from benchmarking “Trained” to “Proficiency” to “Mastery”. The status of Trained is given based on an individual attending a training course on TRADE by an approved instructor. The status of Proficiency is granted based on the submission of a completed benchmarking project which needs to meet a base-line standard. The status of Mastery is granted based on the submission of two completed benchmarking projects with at least one graded at a “Commendable” level.
  3. In 2006, COER led the organising and chairing of the 11th World Congress for Total Quality Management. This was the first time the congress had been held in Australasia. It attracted more than 350 delegates from over 30 countries, with more than 130 papers presented.
  4. In 2006, BPIR.com moved out of Massey University to become BPIR.com Ltd and quickly grew to over a thousand members.
  5. 2006 onwards. The GBN’s 1st International Benchmarking Conference was held in Moscow. Following on from this success a conference is held every one or two years in a GBN member country with conferences held in Auckland, Abu Dhabi, Budapest, Dubai, Kuwait, Manama, Manila, Moscow, Nanjing, and Singapore. For most of these conferences, on behalf of the GBN, COER has been responsible for working with the local host country on organising the conference.
  6. From 2005 to 2010, Dr Robin Mann served as an Advisory Board Member of Hamdan bin Mohammed e-University (HBMeU) and previously the e-TQM College during its growth and transformation into HBMeU. HBMeU was the first online institution to be licensed and recognized by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in the United Arab Emirates. His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai and the President of Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University (HBMeU), officially launched the HBMeU on February 1, 2009.
  7. From 2005 to 2009, COER worked extensively in Taiwan with the China Productivity Centre (CPC) on developing its business excellence program. CPC developed BEPASS, an on-line business excellence assessment system, based on COER’s business excellence self-assessment tool called Benchmarking and Performance Excellence Self-assessment (BPES). This system enabled organisations to be assessed against Taiwan’s business excellence model and their performance benchmarked against other organisations.
  8. From 2005 to 2006, COER facilitated four regional benchmarking programmes in New Zealand through working with Gosling Chapman (Auckland) and Business Development Centre (Hamilton) involving 40 SME’s. All organisations used COER’s business excellence self-assessment and benchmarking methodology.
  9. In 2005, COER was commissioned to undertake a major review of the Australian Business Excellence Framework. This research included the first ever international comparison of how Business Excellence (BE) models were deployed to maximise their engagement and use. The administrative bodies for business excellence in 16 countries participated: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Europe, India, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Scotland, Singapore, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States. Five journal papers were published sharing the findings, download one of the paper’s here and other papers are listed here.
  10. In 2004, COER developed the TRADE Best Practice Benchmarking Methodology. The methodology was initially developed for the New Zealand Benchmarking Club. The TRADE m0ethodology provides a clear roadmap on how to undertake a benchmarking project through a series of stages and steps supported by a project management system and set of tools. A PhD student, Bronwen Bartley, proposed the name of TRADE to emphasise the importance of trading or exchanging information and knowledge between benchmarking partners.
  11. In 2004, COER was instrumental in the launch of a major initiative in New Zealand called the Business Capability Partnership, which aimed to raise the management and leadership capability of NZ businesses. This initiative spawned from a COER Advisory Board meeting held between NZBEF, MED, NZIM, EMA, and NZTE. The initiative was later driven by the Ministry of Economic Development.
  12. In 2004, COER organised and held Australasia's first-ever benchmarking conference, which attracted more than 100 delegates to a two-day conference and 40 delegates to a two-day workshop delivered by Dr Robert Camp, the founder of modern-day benchmarking.
  13. In 2004, Dr Robin Mann was elected chairman of the Global Benchmarking Network and has held this position ever since. The Global Benchmarking Network is a membership-based organisation for those organisations/individuals that are the leading experts/promoters of benchmarking within their country. The GBN serves to spread awareness and use of benchmarking worldwide, undertakes international benchmarking projects and has an annual conference.
  14. In 2003, BPIR.com published its first Management Brief Report titled Work/Life Balance. These reports were later renamed Best Practice Reports and are still published today with over 100 issues so far.
  15. In 2002, the BPIR.com, Business Performance Improvement Resource (now called the Best Practice Improvement Resource) was launched to assist organisations on their journey to performance excellence. It provides best practice case studies, benchmarks, self-assessment tools, award winner reports, performance measures and supports business networking. A key feature of the resource is that the information can be searched through the perspectives of internationally recognised business models such as the APQC, Baldrige, EFQM, Singapore and Canadian business excellence models. Work on developing the resource had begun in 2000 as university project with Stephen Welch and Dr Robin Mann.
  16. From 2000 to 2004, Dr Robin Mann founded and led the New Zealand Benchmarking Club, consisting of New Zealand's leading businesses. Organisations included ACC, Fonterra, Fletcher Wood Panels, Montana Wines, NZ Sugar, Vero Insurance, and Wellington City Council. Services provided to club members were an annual business excellence assessment, best practice sharing meetings, benchmarking projects and reports. Club members improved their performance on average by 50 points per year as assessed against the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence. With COER’s formation in 2001, PhD students supported the activities and best practice research of club members. The club was the first of its type in NZ and became New Zealand's first-ever representative on the Global Benchmarking Network.
  17. COER was formed in 2001 to become the first research centre in Australasia to focus on business excellence and benchmarking.

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