EFQM model

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The EFQM model is a quality management system of total quality management . It was developed in 1988 by the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM). The currently valid version is from November 2019.

EFQM model (until 2019)

Basics of the EFQM model

The EFQM model for business excellence is a company model that enables a holistic view of organizations. It was developed by the EFQM in response to Europe’s esteemed Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the Japanese Deming Prize . It offers organizations assistance in setting up and continuously developing comprehensive management systems. Companies use it as a tool to determine strengths and potential for improvement on the basis of self-assessments, to stimulate them and to improve their business success.

The simple model (2013 to 2019) comprises the three pillars:

  • People
  • Processes
  • Results

In order to achieve consistently excellent results, all employees are involved in a continuous improvement process.

By constantly observing all processes, information about the current status, continuous improvement and future trends is generated. The EFQM model is a tool that provides assistance in setting up and continuously developing a comprehensive management system . It should help to identify your own strengths, weaknesses and potential for improvement and to align your corporate strategy accordingly.



The extended system differentiates between nine criteria, which consist of five requirements (enablers) and four result criteria (results) . They are each weighted for the European Quality Award:

Prerequisites / Enablers 50%
1. Leadership 10%
2. Strategy 10%
3. Employees 10%
4. Partnerships and resources 10%
5. Processes, products and services 10%
Result criteria 50%
6. Customer related results 15%
7. Employee-related results 10%
8. Society-related results 10%
9. Key results 15%

Each of these groups is broken down into several sub-criteria.

Enablers Criteria


Sub-criterion 1a

Managers develop the vision, mission, values ​​and ethical principles and are role models.

Sub-criterion 1b

Managers define, review and improve the management system and the performance of the organization.

Sub-criterion 1c

Managers deal personally with external stakeholders.

Sub-criterion 1d

Managers work together with the organization's employees to strengthen a culture of excellence.

Sub-criterion 1e

Managers ensure that the organization is flexible and changes are managed effectively.


Sub-criterion 2a

The strategy is based on understanding the needs and expectations of stakeholders and the external environment.

Sub-criterion 2b

The strategy is based on an understanding of one's own performance and skills.

Sub-criterion 2c

The strategy and supporting guidelines are developed, reviewed and updated.

Sub-criterion 2d

The strategy and the supporting guidelines are communicated and implemented through plans, processes and objectives.


Sub-criterion 3a

Personnel plans support the organization's strategy.

Sub-criterion 3b

The knowledge and skills of the employees are developed.

Sub-criterion 3c

Employees act in concert, are involved and empowered to act independently.

Sub-criterion 3d

Employees communicate effectively across the organization.

Sub-criterion 3e

Employees are rewarded, recognized and looked after.

Partnerships and resources

Sub-criterion 4a

Partners and suppliers are managed for sustainable benefit.

Sub-criterion 4b

Finances are managed for sustainable success.

Sub-criterion 4c

Buildings, equipment and materials are sustainably managed to support the strategy.

Sub-criterion 4d

Technology is managed to support the implementation of the strategy.

Subcriterion 4e

Information and knowledge are managed to support effective decision making and to build the organization's capabilities.


Sub-criterion 5a

Processes are developed and managed to optimize the benefits for the stakeholders.

Sub-criterion 5b

Products and services are developed to create optimal value for customers.

Sub-criterion 5c

Products and services are effectively advertised and marketed.

Sub-criterion 5d

Products are created, delivered and managed to ensure the ongoing success of the organization.

Sub-criterion 5e

Customer relationships are managed and deepened.

Result criteria

All of the indicators and perception indicators mentioned below are examples and are not conclusive!

Customer-related results

  • Indicators: (example) response time, failure rates
  • Perception by target group: accessibility and quality

Employee-related results

  • Indicators: staff turnover and participation in improvement teams
  • Perception by target group: career opportunities and equal opportunities

Stakeholder-related results

  • Indicators: Awards, sponsorship of social or ecological projects
  • Perception by target group: image as an employer and transparency

Key results

  • Indicators: lead times, value of intellectual capital
  • Perception by target group: profitability, market share

Basic principles 2003

The model is based on eight basic principles:

customer focus

In times of saturated markets , intense competition and high information transparency, the customer is the focus of interest. Because it determines the market success of a product or service. The performance of the company must correspond to the wishes and needs of the customers in order to be able to operate successfully in the market over the long term. The company can only generate sales, achieve its goals and continue to participate in the market by selling services or products to customers.

This has the following advantages:

  1. motivated employees
  2. satisfied costumers
  3. Customer loyalty and loyalty
  4. Strengthening the market position
  5. Long-term success of the organization

Partnership with suppliers

You should work together with the suppliers in a trusting manner. The services of the suppliers are included as input in the production process and thus affect the quality of the end product. Partnerships with supplier companies can eliminate uncertainties, achieve price advantages and increase the quality of preliminary work. Just-in-time and just-in-sequence processes are mentioned as an example , in which the deliveries of the preliminary work are carried out directly and on time in close cooperation and therefore no storage costs are necessary for the company.

Employee development and participation

Employees are to be regularly trained professionally, methodically and in their interpersonal behavior. Their skills have to be discovered, developed and used. They should make decisions for their work area themselves and receive the necessary information and competence. They are to be fully involved in decisions that indirectly affect their area of ​​work or the entire company. This increases motivation, innovation and flexibility.

Helpful are:

Core process

Processes and facts

Processes are understood and continuously improved. You have someone in charge who makes sure that his process runs smoothly and efficiently. Every employee is asked to make their contribution so that the processes are mastered. The management is based on numbers, data and facts (ZDF).

Continuous improvement

Constant improvement and innovation

The principle is continuous improvement . Original, creative approaches are encouraged. Research ( benchmarking ) is used to get suggestions from the best. Learning is the basic requirement to be able to get better.

CIP (Continuous Improvement Process) or Kaizen (Japanese for “change for the better”) is an inner attitude and is lived by every employee and every team. It affects the processes, the products and all relationships. The method is called the PDCA cycle. PDCA stands for Plan, Do, Check, Act .

Leadership and consistency

Leading to excellent performance is a professional activity. Managers shape the corporate culture and have a special responsibility for employee satisfaction and business results. The behavior of the employees is in line with the values ​​of the organization, the policy and the strategy.

Social responsibility

Social requirements, laws and regulations are met. The organization and its employees behave ethically .

Result orientation

In the long term, excellent results can only be achieved if the interests of all those involved are taken into account in a balanced and fair manner.

Core principles 2010

EFQM model 2010

The new EFQM model has been in effect since 2010. The basic concepts and the eight basic principles have been reformulated:

Achieve balanced results

Excellent organizations do their job by delivering balanced outcomes that meet and, when relevant, exceed both the long-term and short-term needs of their stakeholders .

Increase customer benefits

Excellent organizations are aware that their purpose is primarily set by their customers. For them, they strive for renewal and value creation by understanding and anticipating their needs and expectations.

Lead with vision, inspiration and integrity

Excellent organizations have executives who shape and make the future come true and who stand up for values ​​and ethics in an exemplary manner.

Steer through processes

Excellent organizations are managed using structured and strategically oriented processes. They base their decisions on facts in order to produce balanced and lasting results.

Be successful through people

Excellent organizations respect their employees and create a culture of responsibility so that personal goals and objectives of the organization are achieved in a balanced manner.

Promote innovation and creativity

Excellent organizations increase added value and performance through constant and systematic renewal by harnessing the creativity of their stakeholders .

Build partnerships

Excellent organizations strive for, develop and maintain trusting relationships with different partners in order to achieve mutual success. These partnerships can be established with customers, society, key suppliers, educational institutions or non-governmental organizations.

Take responsibility for a sustainable future

Excellent organizations integrate an ethical mindset, clear values ​​and the highest standards of behavior as an organization in their culture in order to strive for economic, social and ecological sustainability.

Core principles 2019

A revised EFQM model has been in effect since November 2019. It is evolving from a simple assessment tool to one that provides an important framework and methodology to help with the changes, transformations and upheavals that individuals and organizations face on a daily basis. It is based on the three main criteria:

  • Alignment
  • realization
  • Results



An important element of the model is the company's self- assessment. There, a maximum of 1000 points can be achieved in the following nine criteria. 500 points are in the five enablers and 500 points are achievable in the four result criteria.

Enablers 1 guide 100 500 points
2 strategy 100
3 Employee 100
4th Partnerships and resources 100
5 Processes, products and services 100
Results 6th Customer-related results 150 500 points
7th Employee-related results 100
8th Society-related results 100
9 Key results 150
Total 1000 points

The process of self-assessment has the advantage that a critical analysis takes place within one's own organization and the assessment based on facts instead of subjective perceptions can serve as the basis for improvements.

Committed to Excellence

This award requires a self-assessment, a prioritization of the improvement potential, derived from three successfully implemented improvement projects. The company is then visited by a “ validator ” (that's what the EFQM auditors call themselves). This level costs € 4,000 - € 6,000. The certificate is valid for two years.

Recognized for Excellence

This award requires extensive self-assessment and data collection by assessors or through a workshop of assessors and applicants on site. There are the following levels:

* * * > 300 points
* * * * > 400 points
* * * * * > 500 points

This level costs from € 11,000, depending on the size of the company and the effort.

Maturity level

The degree of maturity of a company in relation to others can be determined on the basis of the self-assessment. A distinction is made between the three stages: beginnings, on the way and mature organization. For each basic concept it is described how pronounced the skills and their implementation must be for each level.

Basic concept Beginnings on the way mature organization
achieve balanced results All relevant interest groups are identified. The needs of the stakeholders are systematically assessed. There are transparent ways of balancing stakeholder expectations.
Creating benefits for customers Customer satisfaction is assessed. Goals and sub-goals are linked to customer needs and expectations. Aspects of loyalty are examined. Driving forces with regard to customer satisfaction needs and aspects of loyalty are understood, measured and initiate measures.
Lead with vision, inspiration and integrity The vision and mission are formulated. Politics, employees and processes are aligned with the vision / mission. There is a leadership concept. There are common values ​​and ethical role models at all organizational levels.
Manage processes The processes for achieving the desired results are defined. Comparative data and information is used to set challenging goals. Process capability is fully understood and used to drive performance improvements.
be successful through employees The employees feel responsible for solving problems. The employees work innovatively and creatively to support the goals of the organization. Employees are empowered to act and openly share knowledge and experience with one another.
Promote innovation and creativity Possibilities for improvement are identified and measures are taken. Continuous improvement is a recognized goal for everyone. Successful innovation and improvement is widespread and integrated.
Build partnerships There is a process for selecting and managing suppliers. Improvements and performance from suppliers are recognized and important external partners have been identified. The organization and its key partners are interdependent - plans and policies are developed jointly and are based on the exchange of knowledge.
Take responsibility for a sustainable future Legal and regulatory requirements are understood and complied with. There is an active commitment to society. Society's expectations are measured and action is taken.


The EFQM model forms the basis for awarding many quality prizes.

EFQM Excellence Award

The EFQM Excellence Award (until 2005 it was called the European Quality Award (EQA)) is the European quality award. It requires a 75-page application and extensive on-site visits by the auditors to the company. The award is given every November to the best companies from the categories of large companies, organizational units, public sector, and small and medium-sized companies (<250 employees). There is one winner, two to three winners and possibly a finalist.

Ludwig Erhard Prize

The German Ludwig Erhard Prize (LEP) is the German preliminary stage to the EFQM Excellence Award.

Swiss Award for Excellence

The Swiss ESPRIX Swiss Award for Excellence is the Swiss preliminary stage to the EFQM Excellence Award.

State award for company quality

The Austrian State Prize for Enterprise Quality honors organizations for consistently pursuing the principles of excellence. It is advertised to Austrian companies in the profit and non-profit sector in the following categories: large companies with more than 250 employees, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with up to 250 employees, corporate divisions and subsidiaries with limited independence as well as non-profit Organizations.


  • The EFQM model for excellence . EFQM Brussels Representative Office, German version 2003, brochure
  • R. Schildknecht: Total Quality Management: Concept and State of the Art. Frankfurt / New York 1992
  • R. Schwan, G. Kohlhaas: Quality management in advice centers. Beltz Verlag, Weinheim 2002, ISBN 3-407-32027-2 , 128 pages
  • MQ - Management and Quality / The magazine for integrated management systems , edition Germany. Organ of TÜV CERT, TÜV Media GmbH, Cologne, ISSN  1862-2623
  • Hartmut F. Binner: On the way to top performance - management guidelines for the EFQM model implementation. Hanser reference book, 2006, ISBN 3-446-40481-3
  • Klaus J. Zink: TQM as an integrative management concept - The EFQM Excellence Model and its implementation. Hanser reference book, 2004, ISBN 3-446-22719-9
  • A. Gucanin: Total Quality Management with the EFQM model. Recognize potential for improvement and use it for the company's success. uni-edition, ISBN 3-937151-07-9 , 354 pages.
  • eLearning for the EFQM model “Introduction to EFQM” . German Society for Quality e. V., authorized by the EFQM
  • Klaus J. Zink: TQM as an integrative management concept. The EFQM Excellence Model and its implementation. With self-assessment process. Includes reviews of the EFQM model from 2000 and 2002 . 2nd Edition. Munich / Vienna 2004, ISBN 3-446-22719-9

Health care:

  • Konstanzer Schriften zur Krankenhauswirtschaft, edited by Paul Swertz: (2002) TQM and organizational learning in hospitals . Hartung-Gorre Verlag Konstanz. 200 pages, ISBN 3-89649-768-5 (investigation of the suitability of the EFQM model for excellence for use in (psychiatric) hospitals)
  • In this series: Franziska Mayländer: Quality management in inpatient care for the elderly . Hartung Gorre Verlag, Konstanz 2000, ISBN 3-89649-523-2 , 220 pages
  • F. Fahrni, F. Herrmann, HD Seghezzi: Integrated Quality Management. The St. Gallen approach . 3. Edition. Hanser, Munich 2007.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. M. Stumpf: Success control of integrated communication. Measurement of the level of development of integrated communication work in companies . Wiesbaden 2005
  2. D. Albrecht: Management of stakeholder relationships with the EFQM model. Study as part of the development of a sustainability strategy for ABB Germany . Center for Sustainability Management, Lüneburg 2008 CSM Lüneburg (PDF; 1.22 MB)
  3. a b c The basic concepts of Excellence. (PDF) EFQM, Brussels 2003, ISBN 90-5236-079-0 ; accessed on January 12, 2014
  4. EFQM Fundamental Concepts ( Memento of the original from August 29, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , visited on August 12, 2010  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.efqm.org
  5. EFQM Model (link in English) accessed on February 16, 2020