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Let’s celebrate another successful year for the PROBE Network

So, in the blink of an eye, 2012 is over.  Whilst another year is consigned to history and we are all a year older, it is always good to reflect and realise just how much we have all achieved over the past twelve months and 2012 was definitely another successful year for the PROBE Network.

We have built on the foundations of our work in Australia. In addition to our continued PROBE work with QMI Solutions in Queensland and the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, through the Enterprise Connect initiative, we welcomed two new PROBE Network members, Manufacturing Focus, based in Adelaide and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia (CCIWA) based in Perth.

Our work with UNIDO has continued to grow and is beginning to gather some real momentum. We started the year with trips to Vietnam and Jordan (to support the SPX office in Iraq). This was quickly followed by more training of UNIDO SPX advisors in Cameroon and Zambia and we finished the year with further trips to the African continent with training being carried out in Cape Verde, Ghana and Senegal.  Also, as part of this project, Uganda and Tanzania began their second year of benchmarking and South Africa began their fourth.   As part of the UNIDO SPX Benchmarking Tool, PROBE has now supported close to 500 emerging businesses and, during 2013, there will be more to come.

Our work across the American Continent continues to expand. Over the past 12 months, through our sister company based in the US, we have strengthened our relationship with  the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation in Canada, welcomed Wisconsin Small Business Development Center Network to the PROBE Network and strengthened our relationship to the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership and North Carolina State’s Industrial Extension Service.

Across Europe, despite the continuing difficult economic conditions we have built up a small but effective group of PROBE Network members in France and Italy, particularly around our PROBE for Sustainable Business Tool. We should also make a special mention to Enterprise Ireland who continue to use PROBE as part of their diagnostic support to small and medium businesses across Ireland and who, in March 2013, will be celebrating using PROBE for Manufacturing, under numerous name changes and upgrades, for 17 years!

2012 also saw the start of the biggest overhaul of the PROBE tools since its conception in 1993. After a lengthy period of consultation and research we have developed the next generation of PROBE providing a contemporary vision of what it is to be World Class in 2012 and beyond. The first PROBE variant to get the ‘next-gen’ overhaul was PROBE for Manufacturing, which got a new name, PROBE for Manufacturing Excellence, a completely new framework for assessing World Class Business Excellence, the PROBE Analytical Framework, and was released to a limited number of our Network Members in July.  In early January 2013 PROBE for Manufacturing Excellence will get its official release followed by PROBE for Service Excellence in late January, with the other variants getting the new ‘Excellence’ upgrade shortly afterwards.

2013 will be another eventful year for the PROBE Network. In addition to the new PROBE upgrade, we have plans for a major upgrade to our delivery software making the delivery of PROBE more user-friendly. Of course, we will continue to expand the use of PROBE into new territories and support our existing members to increase the use and impact of PROBE. We will continue to engage in a meaningful way with all of our existing Network members through our thriving LinkedIn PROBE group. We already have plans for early in the New Year to seek their views on how we can improve on all aspects of PROBE.

Finally, a review of the past 12 months wouldn’t be complete without the customary and well deserved ‘Thank you’ to all PROBE facilitators and supporters for their continued efforts to develop the Network and get the benefits of PROBE into businesses and organisations all over the world.  Thank you for your contributions during 2012 and we look forward to seeing you again in 2013.

A Happy New Year from all at PROBE Network LLP.

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Posted: Monday, December 31st, 2012

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