TWO homegrown companies and two government agencies have clinched this year's top honours in Spring Singapore's Business Excellence Awards.

Jumbo Group of Restaurants, Sheng Siong Group, the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority of Singapore (ICA) and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) won "for their commitment towards the business excellence journey, achieving outstanding business performance".

Jumbo took the People Excellence Award and Sheng Siong, the Innovation Excellence Award, according to a Spring media release.

Both ICA and SCDF got the Singapore Quality Award with Special Commendation, "the highest accolade recognising organisations that have achieved the pinnacle of business excellence".

The four winners received their trophies from S Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry), at the Business Excellence Awards ceremony on Wednesday night.

Spring said that ICA "has been continuously innovating, leveraging technology to develop and deploy robust security and identification processes and systems".

Among its "high performance innovation projects" are the Application for Passports on-line, Enhanced Immigration Automated Clearance System, iCollect and Biometric Identification of Motorbikers 2.

"As the world's firsts, these innovation projects testify to the strong innovation culture in the organisation," Spring said.

On SCDF, it said that despite being one of the leanest emergency organisations in the world, the agency has shown a strong innovation culture that leverage technology and state-of-the-art equipment to boost its emergency response capabilities.

Jumbo delivers customer and service excellence, seen in the increase in the number of compliments it received, according to Spring. It has also introduced a wide range of innovative, progressive people practices to strengthen its hiring and retention practices.

"Jumbo distinguishes itself from its competitors by providing bonus payouts and CPF contributions to attract casual workers," Spring said.

It noted that the other private-sector winner, Sheng Siong, was the first supermarket to develop a hybrid check-out system to ease the difficulties customers faced using conventional check-out machines, resulting in man-hour savings.

"The impetus to drive productivity has also seen Sheng Siong introducing several back-end process innovations such as the Individually Quick Frozen technology," Spring said.

This led not only to improved productivity in processing fish, but also reduced manpower.

In his speech, Mr Iswaran announced that Spring had developed a pilot diagnostic toolkit to provide a developmental roadmap for precision engineering SMEs to beef up competencies and capabilities.

He said that this toolkit "embeds the fundamentals of business excellence and incorporates the stringent requirements that MNCs and large organisations impose on their suppliers".

The build environment industry, which covers construction, architecture and building management, should also gain much from business excellence initiatives, according to Mr Iswaran.

"To further boost the growth and competitiveness of our enterprises in the build environment industry, BCA (Building and Construction Authority) and Spring are embarking on a joint initiative to provide an integrated assessment in both Business Excellence and ISO 9001 standards," he said.

This would enable enterprises to take a holistic approach towards building capabilities and developing sustainable long-term business plans.