The evening that was the SMAs Quality Awards unfolded on Saturday, March 3, and in her opening remarks, President of the St Lucia Manufacturers Association Paula Calderon promised there would be “no cheap political jokes” at the important and historic event. In her remarks, Calderon highlighted the need for doing business in St Lucia to be made easier, and touched on some of the issues the business persons present were all too familiar with, and so began the Awards evening.
The SMA Quality Awards were launched in October 2011 to help companies’ strengthen their management systems and processes for high performance through adopting the performance excellence framework.
\The awards program has three levels (Gold, Platinum and Diamond). As the level increases, the criteria indicate a greater challenge for the organization to satisfy excellence and quality performance requirements. The SMA Quality Award recognizes St Lucian businesses in the Manufacturing sector for performance excellence.
The exclusive award ceremony was held at the Sandals Halcyon Resort and after dinner and entertainment it was time to announce the winners. In the area of Human Resource Development, Gold went to Du Boulay’s Bottling Company and Windward Islands Packaging Company (WINERA), Platinum to Baron Foods, Caribbean Awnings, Harris Paints and the highest Diamond Award to St Lucia Distillers and Windward and Leeward Brewery.
For implementation of Standards and Best Practices Poyotte’s Joinery, Natmed, Forest Springs and Top Stone Fabrication earned spots in Gold, North American Assemblies and Paradise Springs, Platinum while Du Boulay’s Bottling Company, Caribbean Awning, WINERA, Baron Foods, Harris Paints and Windward and Leeward Brewery were all in the top Diamond category.
Product and customer service quality was up next and Natmed was the only name in Gold, Du Boulay’s the sole name in Platinum while Diamond went to Baron Foods, Harris Paints, Windward and Leeward Brewery and Caribbean Awnings.
For Social Responsibility, Caribbean Awnings and Paradise Springs were in Gold, Du Boulay’s, Harris Paints and North American Assemblies in Platinum and Baron Foods, Windward and Leeward Brewery and St Lucia Distillers in Diamond.
In the Leadership category Gold went to Du Boulay’s, WINERA and Paradise Springs, Diamond to Baron Foods, St Lucia Distillers, Caribbean Awning, Harris Paints and Windward and Leeward Brewery. The special President’s Award went to Windward and Leeward Brewery.
According to SMA Representatives, every company was recognized based on their individual level of accomplishment. The President’s Award was an award for excellence and was granted to the company attaining the highest score for its overall performance in all five categories.
“All companies were assessed against the same criteria, Paula Calderon, President of the SMA told guests. “Standards used were not prescriptive, but instead allowed for flexible approaches to achieve the objective. It is therefore possible for a company, of any size, large or small to achieve this highest award. With an average score of 87.2 percent, Windward and Leeward Brewery topped the highest level of each category under which companies were assessed.”
At Saturday’s event, the Minister’s Award for Innovation went to Baron Foods Ltd. Other nominees under this category included Du Boulay’s Bottling, Natmed and WINERA.
In her vote of thanks at the end of the awards evening, Alison Plummer from the St Lucia Manufacturers Association described the event as “historic.”
“I have no doubt the impact of this first Quality Awards will change the landscape of local manufacturing, and I dare say, the way of doing business in general,” Plummer said. “Why? Because this recognition programme, as you have seen tonight, is different from others, in that it has a single objective—and that is to promote quality in the business sector.
“If we look globally, and to some of our more developed regional partners, we would see that the existence of such independent objective National Quality Awards Schemes is indicative of a more evolved, mature economy—which no doubt is the direction we’re heading in.”
Plummer expressed that it was the intention of the St Lucia Manufacturers Association to make the Awards a biennial event.