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The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award is the premier award for business excellence and quality achievement in the United States. Since 1988, 49 organizations have received this recognition for demonstrating ever-increasing value to their customers, organizational effectiveness and learning. Along the way, thousands of companies have used the Baldrige criteria to assess performance and measure their progress relative to a recognized compilation of best practices.

Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA) was established by Congress in 1987 to enhance the competitiveness of U.S. businesses. The award is named after Mr. Malcolm Baldrige, who served as Secretary of Commerce from 1981-1987, and whose managerial excellence contributed to long-term improvement in efficiency and effectiveness of government. The award promotes quality awareness, recognizes the quality and performance achievements of U.S. organizations, and publicizes successful performance strategies which ensure business excellence. It has five categories: manufacturing, service, small business, education and health care. The award is not given for specific products or services.

The Baldrige program is managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Technology Administration, in conjunction with the private sector. The MBNQA is given to U.S. organizations that have exemplary achievements in seven areas: leadership, strategic planning, customer and market focus, measurement, analysis and knowledge management, human resources focus, process management, and business results. These seven areas affect all key stakeholders, including: communities, customers, employees, shareholders and suppliers.

All applicants for the Baldrige Award undergo a rigorous examination process that ranges from 300 to 1,000 hours of outside review. Final-stage applicants are visited by teams of examiners to clarify questions and verify information. All applications are reviewed by an independent board of examiners primarily from the private sector. Each applicant receives a report citing strengths and opportunities for improvement.

Baldrige Criteria

Organizations are evaluated along 7 dimensions known as the Baldrige Criteria:

1. Leadership - The Leadership Category examines how the organization's senior leaders address values, directions and performance expectations, as well as a focus on customers and other stakeholders, empowerment, innovation, and learning. Also examined are the organization's governance and how the organization addresses its public and community responsibilities.
2. Strategic Planning - The Strategic Planning Category examines how the organization develops strategic objectives and action plans. Also examined are how chosen strategic objectives and action plans are deployed and how progress is measured.
3. Customer and Market Focus - The Customer and Market Focus Category examines how the organization determines requirements, expectations and preferences of customers and markets. Also examined is how the organization builds relationships with customers and determines the key factors that lead to customer acquisition, satisfaction and retention and to business expansion.
4. Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management - The Measurement, Analysis and Knowledge Management Category examines how the organization selects, gathers, analyzes, manages, and improves its data, information and knowledge assets.
5. Human Resource Focus - The Human Resource Focus Category examines how the organization's work systems and employee learning and motivation enable employees to develop and utilize their full potential in alignment with the organization's overall objectives and action plans. Also examined are the organization's efforts to build and maintain a work environment and an employee support climate conducive to perform excellence and to personal and organizational growth.
6. Process Management - The Process Management Category examines the key aspects of your organization's process management, including key product, service, and business processes for creating customer and organizational value and key support processes. This Category encompasses all key processes and all work units.
7. Business Results - This category examines the organization's performance and improvement in key business areas - customer satisfaction, product and service performance, financial and marketplace performance, human resource results, operational performance and governance and social responsibility. Also examined are performance levels relative to those of competitors.


National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

NIST manage the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award program and as you would expect the web site contains a wealth of material including the history of the award, FAQ's, details of previous award recipients as well as help on getting started with Self-Assessment for excellence...

Getting Started with the Criteria for Performance Excellence
FREE Download - Learn about the ten steps for self-assessment for any organization using the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence. Review reasons for considering a self-assessment and determine if you are ready. Further resources for self-assessment and action are also included...

The Criteria for Performance Excellence
FREE Download - 80 page detailed publication covering all aspects of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award process...





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