Signify – A Case Study

Flicking the ‘on’ switch to manage permanent change

Supporting a strategy of continuous improvement, focused on customer satisfaction


For over 100 years, the lighting industry was fairly predictable. Manufacturers produced and distributed incandescent bulbs.

But over the last few years, the industry has undergone rapid innovation and developed brand new technologies. At least twice.

First, when incandescent bulbs were phased out in favour of halogens, and then again as the industry shifted its focus towards LEDs. And more recently, as lighting becomes part of the internet of things.

Many organisations talk about transformation. But Signify (previously known as Philips Lighting) is living it. The challenge Signify faces is constantly improving performance, processes, sustainability, quality and customer satisfaction. At the same time as launching, producing and distributing entirely new product ranges to a global audience—products that light up everything from the Empire State Building and smart homes through to urban farms.

The solution they identified is: Let’s use the new EFQM model, at every level of the organisation – from the boardroom to the factory floor.



“The idea of continuous improvement and of striving for customer satisfaction and business excellence comes right from the top.” says Thomas Lazer, Global Head of Quality and Business Excellence at Signify.

“Our CEO has embedded the EFQM model into the company’s DNA.”

“While other tools and evaluation frameworks show how you might ‘comply’ with a minimum requirement, the new EFQM model offers a more strategic approach. It offers a very tangible way to compare yourself with your targets. With your mission, vision and values, the model shows you if you’re aiming in the right direction and also if you’re aiming high enough. It then helps you improve.”

“Following our initial assessments, the management board developed action plans using the model. So did many of our key units. And now we’re applying those across the whole company.”

Signify’s annual reports paint a very clear picture of where the company is heading. And why. The strive for excellence across the whole business is clear.

Its ambition is to brighten up people’s lives while continuing to improve from its existing carbon-neutral position, using the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals as its guide.

The company is already a world leader in lighting. For cities and for farming. For landmark buildings and for the internet of things.

And using the EFQM model, it can continue to pursue its agenda to build brighter lives and a better world.

“The thing about EFQM”, says Thomas, “is that it drives you towards constant improvements. It helps you clearly align actions to help deliver strategic objectives.”

“If your company is just trying to do the same thing it’s always done, then there’s no need for business excellence, right? But if you’re in a business like ours, which has to be super agile, because our market is constantly changing, then EFQM is extremely useful.”

Thomas Lazer, Global Head of Quality and Business Excellence at Signify.

“With the EFQM methodology, you benchmark yourself and your aspirations with the best in class to aim high and achieve your strategic goals.”

Thomas Lazer, Global Head of Quality and Business Excellence at Signify.