Viking Line Abp has been awarded the Finnish Quality Award (Suomen Laatupalkinto) given yearly by Excellence Finland (Laatukeskus) in recognition of its efforts to improve the quality and competitiveness of its operation.
The Finnish ferry line was selected for the award in the Major Companies and Large Business Units category, with its Managing Director and Ceo Nils-Erik Eklund accepting the award last month at the Hilton Helsinki Kalastajatorppa Hotel.
The Finnish Quality Award competition is based on the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) model, in which the operations of the competing organizations are evaluated according to nine criteria of excellence: leadership, policy and strategy, people, partnerships and resources, processes, customer results, people results, society results and key performance results.
The organisers said that Viking Line received uniformly high scores in all the evaluation areas, winning the Travel Industry Award, which was organized for the first time.
Nils-Erik Eklund said: ‘The 2009 Finnish Quality Award is an important form of recognition for Viking Line's long-term, systematic quality development efforts. The award, which is given on the basis of evaluations by outside experts, shows that we are on the right path in our work: from safety and environmental management systems and leadership to the development of service quality in keeping with the EFQM model.
‘A service company like Viking Line should, above all, be attentive to the needs of its customers, since it must earn their trust again every day. In this work, the focus is on people. Those who are mainly responsible for quality at Viking Line are its knowledgeable and dedicated employees, who deserve most of the credit for this Quality Award.’
The company says it has transported more than 169m passengers since it began operations 50 years ago and Harri Winter, Viking's Director of Shipboard Commercial Operations – the man in charge of Viking Line's quality improvement efforts – said the recent award also offers practical benefits: ‘Participating in the quality award competition has been a useful and instructive process. The evaluation we have received from Excellence Finland also provides us with a good basis for future improvements in our operations.’
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