An integrated service excellence model for strategic military test and evaluation facilities : the case of the South African National Department of Defence
De Coning, Gerhard Lourens
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Capital-intensive military test and evaluation facilities that are governed within the public entity domain need to deliver effective and efficient services in meeting or exceeding the Department of Defence's requirements and in retaining strategic defence capabilities and technologies. Various business and operational processes currently exist in these facilities, without any common quality assurance, control and performance management systems. The primary objective of this study was to develop an integrated service excellence model in order to obtain and continuously improve service excellence in the services provided by these strategic military test and evaluation facilities, ensuring that all activities necessary to design, develop and implement a test and evaluation service are effective and efficient. In order to develop an integrated service excellence model, various management tools and approaches to improve quality in the search for service excellence were identified and described. Total Quality Management (TQM), Business Process Re-engineering (BPR), the South African Excellence Model (SAEM) and the Balanced Scorecard (BSC), amongst other productivity and quality models, were researched and evaluated and tested through an empirical study conducted at the various test and evaluation facilities. Financial, human resources and environmental challenges facing the facilities in obtaining service excellence within the boundaries of public governance were explored in order to build the solutions to these challenges into the integrated service excellence model. Effective and efficient deployment of the facilities' resources, as well as the development and incorporation of safety, health and environmental policies and management standards were discussed and measured against national legislation. Applicable military, industrial and commercial quality standards and specifications, such as the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) quality management standards and the Republic of South Africa (RSA) military standards, were explored as the burden is on the facilities not only to obtain official accreditation to render specific test and evaluation services, but also to maintain accreditation and to execute the services against these standards. As corporate governance is a multi-faceted subject impacting on economic efficiency and shareholder's welfare, much emphasis was placed on governance principles through the identification of a framework and governance objectives in which the test and evaluation facilities operate. Good governance characteristics, such as discipline, transparency, independence, accountability, responsibility, fairness and social responsibility, were identified through the King 2 Report. This study was conducted amongst senior and top management of the test and evaluation facilities and amongst members of the Department of Defence through an interviewer-administered questionnaire comparing information and data on theory on service excellence, quality management, performance management, governance principles with the interviewer-questionnaire responses to performance indicators at these facilities. Management perceptions and management recommendations contributed to the development of the integrated service excellence model as well as to the future implementation of the model. It was evident through the study that no such integrated model exists to address the test and evaluation needs of the Department of Defence.