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What is the EFQM model?

EFQM is a model for improving corporate performance that was developed by the European Forum for Quality Management (EFQM). It is widespread in Europe and is used by large and medium-sized companies as well as public organizations.
The model is based on the principle of the "excellent" organization and describes nine criteria that are necessary for the successful implementation of excellence-oriented thinking and action. These criteria are:

  • Leadership
  • Strategy
  • People
  • Partnerships & Resources
  • Processes, products & services
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Employee satisfaction
  • Social responsibility
  • Results

Background and purpose of the EFQM model

In today's globalized and competitive business world, there is an urgent need for quality management systems. These systems are designed to improve the quality of products and services, create more efficient work processes for the future, increase customer satisfaction and ultimately achieve a competitive advantage. The EFQM model (European Foundation for Quality Management) is one such initiative that was developed with the aim of helping companies to achieve organizational excellence. The EFQM model is based on nine criteria that focus on three main components: People, Processes and Results. It provides a comprehensive framework for managing quality and performance in any type of organization, regardless of its size, sector or culture. At the heart of the model is the conviction that excellence can be achieved in all parts of an organization if a holistic view is adopted and consistently implemented. The European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) plays a central role here, as it developed the model and continues to monitor its implementation and further development. The EFQM also provides resources, training and networking opportunities to support organizations in applying the model.

Main components of the EFQM model

The EFQM model consists of three main components: the Excellence Model Framework, nine criteria and the RADAR assessment tool. The Excellence Model Framework forms the basic framework of the EFQM model and is divided into two main areas: "Enablers" and "Results". The Enablers section refers to what an organization does to achieve outstanding results, while the Results section reflects the outcomes of these efforts.

The criteria of the EFQM excellence model provide a detailed guide for European organizations to achieve excellence:


This refers to the behaviour and activities of managers who develop a vision and create an environment in which organizational goals can be achieved.


Strategy is the way in which a company defines its goals and plans to achieve them.


This includes how the organization deploys, develops and empowers its employees to contribute to the achievement of its goals.

Partnerships and resources

This refers to the way a company manages its resources and builds partnerships to achieve its goals.

Processes, products and services

This includes how the organization designs and implements its processes to deliver high quality products and service.

Customer-oriented results

These are the results that the organization has achieved in relation to its customers.

People-oriented results

These are the results that a company has achieved in relation to its employees.

Social results

This refers to the impact that a company has on society.

Company results

These are the results that a company has achieved overall, including financial and non-financial indicators.

The RADAR assessment tool is an essential component of the EFQM model and serves as an instrument for assessment and improvement in all areas of an organization. RADAR stands for Results, Approach, Deployment, Assessment and Refinement. It promotes a cyclical process of evaluating current performance (Assessment), identifying areas for improvement (Refinement), developing approaches to realize these improvements (Approach) and implementing these approaches (Deployment) to achieve the desired results (Results).

Advantages and benefits of the EFQM model

The EFQM excellence model offers numerous advantages and benefits for companies that apply it.

Increasing organizational performance and efficiency

By systematically applying the EFQM model, organizations can significantly improve their performance and efficiency. It enables companies to identify their structure, strengths and weaknesses, leading to more effective and efficient processes. By focusing on continuous improvement potential and excellence, the EFQM model can help to increase productivity and reduce costs.

Improving customer satisfaction

The EFQM model places great emphasis on customer orientation. By emphasizing customer orientation and satisfaction, the model supports companies in aligning their products and services with the needs and expectations of their customers. This not only leads to greater customer satisfaction, but also to stronger customer loyalty and can increase the organization's competitiveness on the market.

Promotion of employee motivation and participation

The EFQM model recognizes the central role of employees in the success of an organization. It promotes a culture of participation and motivation by giving employees a voice and recognizing their skills and talents. This encourages employees to actively participate in improving processes and results, which in turn leads to higher employee satisfaction and productivity.

Support with strategic planning

The EFQM model provides a comprehensive framework that can support companies in their strategic planning. It helps managers to define the organization's strategic goals, identify the necessary resources and skills and develop a clear action plan to achieve these goals. It also promotes a long-term perspective and helps the organization to prepare for future challenges and opportunities.

Application of the EFQM model

The application of the Excellence Model follows a structured process based on continuous improvement. The first step is to assess the organization's current position using the model's criteria and the RADAR assessment tool. This makes it possible to identify areas of strength and improvement. In the next step, the organization develops an action plan to achieve its goals. This plan should include clear goals, strategies to achieve these goals and metrics to evaluate progress. Finally, the organization implements the plan, monitors progress and makes adjustments if necessary.

The EFQM model has been successfully applied in a large number of industries. A good example is the healthcare sector, where the model has helped to improve patient safety and quality of care. Many hospitals have used the model to streamline their procedures, improve communication between departments and increase patient satisfaction. In the automotive industry, the model has helped to improve product quality and increase production efficiency. And in the service sector, many companies have used the model to improve their service quality and strengthen customer loyalty.

No matter what industry an organization operates in, the quality management system provides a proven framework for achieving organizational excellence. Its universal applicability and focus on continuous improvement make it a valuable tool for increasing performance and efficiency in any type of organization.

Criticism and challenges of the EFQM Excellence Model

Despite its far-reaching benefits and its recognition as an effective tool for increasing organizational excellence, the EFQM model is not free from criticism. A common criticism concerns its complexity and the effort required to implement it. Some critics complain that it could be difficult for smaller organizations or those with limited resources to fully implement the model. There is also criticism that while the model is helpful in identifying areas for improvement, it offers fewer concrete solutions for solving these problems. Some critics also point out that the model is heavily based on self-assessment, which can lead to subjective and possibly inaccurate results.

The implementation of the EFQM model can also be associated with challenges. One of the biggest challenges is often establishing a culture of continuous improvement. This requires not only the commitment of managers, but also the active participation of all employees. It can be difficult to create and maintain this culture, especially in companies that previously had no formal quality management system. Another challenge is the collection and analysis of data to measure performance. The model requires the systematic collection and analysis of data, which can be time-consuming and requires specialized knowledge. In addition, implementing the model can incur significant costs, including costs for training, consulting and possibly also for adapting systems and processes.

Future trends and further development of the EFQM model

Current trends in quality management, including increasing digitalization and the focus on sustainability, have a significant impact on the Excellence Model. Digitization enables more efficient data collection and analysis, which can simplify and improve the application of the model. However, this also requires organizations to strengthen their digital skills and possibly invest in new technologies. The focus on sustainability underlines the importance of the model's social outcome criterion and could lead to even greater emphasis being placed on this aspect in the future.

There are several options for the further development of the EFQM model. One option is to simplify and streamline the model to make it more accessible and easier to use, especially for smaller organizations. Another option is to tailor the model more closely to specific sectors or contexts. For example, there could be special versions of the model for the public sector, the non-profit sector or specific industries such as healthcare or education. Finally, the model could be further developed to better reflect new trends and challenges, such as the increasing importance of data and analytics, the role of artificial intelligence and automation, or the need for greater resilience and adaptability in an increasingly volatile and uncertain business environment.

The EFQM model: a cornerstone of total quality management

The EFQM model is a fundamental cornerstone of Total Quality Management (TQM). TQM is a management approach that aims to promote continuous improvement in all aspects of an organization, from processes and systems to products, services and the culture of the organization. The EFQM model fits perfectly with this approach, as it provides a comprehensive and structured framework for pursuing excellence in all areas of an organization.

The model underlines the importance of leadership and strategy in quality management by emphasizing these aspects as central criteria. It recognizes that quality is not only the result of good processes or systems, but also depends on the vision, commitment and leadership of an organization's top management.

The EFQM model also emphasizes the central role of people in quality management. It recognizes that employees are the true drivers of quality and improvement and promotes a culture of participation and learning. It also emphasizes the importance of partnerships and resources and encourages organizations to build sustainable and effective relationships with their stakeholders.

Finally, the model emphasizes the importance of measuring and analyzing results to assess the progress and impact of quality efforts. By using the RADAR assessment tool, the model provides a clear and consistent method for assessing performance across the various criteria.

Overall, the EFQM model complements and reinforces the principles and practices of total quality management by providing a comprehensive, balanced and systematic approach to quality improvement. It is a valuable tool for organizations that are committed to excellence and strive to continuously improve their quality and performance in an ever-changing and increasingly demanding business world.

Summary and conclusions

The EFQM model provides a comprehensive framework to help organizations achieve excellence and strive for continuous improvement. It consists of nine criteria that relate to key areas of the organization, including leadership, strategy, people, partnerships and resources, processes, products and services, and various types of results. With the RADAR assessment tool, organizations can measure and evaluate their performance in these areas.

Despite some criticism and challenges, the EFQM model has proven its enduring importance for organizations. It helps organizations to focus on the essentials, identify their strengths and weaknesses and find a clear path. In an ever-changing business world where quality and continuous improvement are increasingly important, the EFQM Excellence Model offers a proven and effective approach to improving performance and efficiency.

Frequently asked questions

What does radar logic mean?

performance of a company in terms of its results and the underlying approaches. RADAR stands for "Results, Approaches, Deploy, Assess and Refine", which means "Results, Approaches, Deploy, Assess and Refine".

What is the difference between the EFQM model and ISO 9001?

The EFQM model and ISO 9001 are both quality management systems, but they differ in their approach and focus. The EFQM model is a more comprehensive model that aims to achieve continuous improvement and excellence in all aspects of a company's quality. It looks at a wide range of criteria, including leadership, people, strategy and partnerships. In contrast, ISO 9001 concentrates mainly on the quality control of products and services and places a strong focus on documented processes and procedures.

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