Reflecting on The Tata Business Excellence Model

Lionel Grealou Excellence, Leadership, Operations Leave a Comment


India became a ‘hot cluster’ for global OEMs and obviously Tata benefited from this attractive economic expansion. For a global consulting and Engineering organizations, the risk can be to over-standardize its offering and rationalize its business approach solely based on cost efficiency and predictability via non-human technologies. Engineering services requires innovation and creativity from a technology and business model standpoint – hence globalisation and cultural rigidities might trigger Knowledge Management (KM) issues.

Innovation — in thoughts, processes, approaches and strategies — has become a critical factor for Tata companies as they chart course for a future in a business world without boundaries. The objective is to consistently deliver breakthrough products and services.

From a brand management standpoint, the Tata group has a solid reputation of excellenceand ethics. The Tata Code of Conduct serves as the ethical roadmap for Tata employees and companies, and provides the guidelines by which the group conducts its businesses. The Tata Business Excellence Model (TBEM) is used to assess and help Tata companies transform themselves against a combination of strategic directions including KM strategies. Adapted from the renowned Malcolm Baldrige model, TBEM encourages continuous improvements through a formal system of benchmarking and assessment. It is a tool to help organizations stay in step with the ever-changing business environment and a framework for change management.

Business excellence is about a holistic and balanced way of conducting business (process), in the interest of sustaining an organization (long term results). In this context, TBEM encompasses three major points:

  1. Organisational profile – backdrop of the company and industry
  2. Process descriptions – how the company runs its business
  3. Results – what the company has achieved.

In a nutshell, TBEM provides a 7 category framework that is to be embraced as a way of operating and aims at (in no particular order):

  • Maintaining the highest ethical standards, considering human values, respecting local specificities
  • Focusing on continuous managerial competencies
  • Focusing on future competitiveness and performance improvement
  • Enabling collaboration and facilitating communication
  • Learning from others and sharing good/best practices
  • Experiencing the rich diversity of the Tata group
  • Adapting to uncertainty and challenges emerging from rapid changes in the external environments
  • Focusing on sustainability: the issues of tomorrow will be different from the issues of the past
  • Simplifying and clarifying the business (where possible)
  • Identifying new motivation factors
  • Identifying and accessing talents
  • Automating and optimizing business processes
  • Leveraging information technologies
  • Responding to more demanding customer requirements and focusing on customer centricity
  • Providing actionable feedback and leveraging differentiators
  • Enhancing the Tata brand, providing leadership with trust
  • Verifying strengths and clarifying opportunities for improvement (OFIs)

The TBEM assessment aims at demonstrating that there is a process, reviewing what has been done to improve performance, and how it has been deployed an measured. It constitutes a virtuous circle:

Strategy (key business factors) >> Approach (processes and work systems) >> Deployment (critical success factors) >> Results (key performance indicators), with a closed feedback loop of Learning (continuous improvement) & Integration (across functions).

Without deployment, an approach is only about good intentions.

Deployment without a systematic approach is just an interesting anecdote.

Results validate (confirm or deny) the effectiveness of the approach and deployment.

Broadly speaking, the TBEM principles apply to Product Life-cycle Management (PLM) in terms of realizing business efficiencies and aligning people and process with technology. Aligning PLM to the 7 TBEM categories can provide a comprehensive implementation framework that can be tailored to the size of the initiative.

What are your thoughts?


This post was originally published on LinkedIn on 25 March 2015.