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Baldrige FAQs: The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and ISO 9001

Is Baldrige the same as ISO 9001?

The purpose, content, and focus of the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence and ISO 9001 registration are very different. The Baldrige Criteria provide an integrated, results-oriented framework for designing, implementing, and assessing all operations of an organization. In addition, the Baldrige Criteria include a strong customer, workforce, and future focus. ISO 9001 is a standard used in implementing a compliance and improvement system and assessing conformity in organization-selected operations. Its central purpose is to provide a common basis for an independent supplier qualification system. Overall, ISO registration covers a small fraction of the requirements in the Baldrige Criteria.

The final version of the revised ISO 9001 standards was issued in 2008. It builds on ISO 9001:2000, which brought the standards closer to the Baldrige Criteria. ISO 9001:2000 placed greater emphasis on customers and continuous improvement. While ISO has expanded its perspective, it still focuses on system defects and lacks a focus on business results and strategy. "The Path to Excellence and Some Path-Building Tools", a slide presentation produced by the Baldrige Program focuses on Six Sigma, Lean, ISO, and the Criteria. In addition, the Baldrige issue sheet entitled Baldrige, Six Sigma, and ISO: Understanding Your Options provides insight into these three performance improvement tools. These resources explain the differences among the three systems and discuss how they can be used individually or in combination to meet organizational needs.

Why should we participate in the Baldrige Program when we have to do ISO 9001 certification?

In today's competitive marketplace, ISO 9001 registration is increasingly becoming a requirement for doing business in many industries and with organizations in Europe in particular—but to remain competitive, organizations need to go beyond ISO 9001. The Baldrige Criteria provide an integrated, results-oriented framework for designing, implementing, and assessing the management of all operations. The Baldrige Criteria focus on competitiveness—specifically the delivery of ever-improving value to customers, the improvement of overall organizational effectiveness and capabilities, and organizational and personal learning. The Criteria also place heavy emphasis on business results in areas such as customer satisfaction and engagement and customer-perceived value; product and service performance; financial and marketplace performance; workforce capability, capacity, climate, satisfaction, engagement, and development and operational effectiveness.