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The Official Baldrige Blog

Is Baldrige Worth the Investment? Let's Start with the Military ...

Times U.S. recently ran a story "A Better Return On Investment" about Georgia’s Fort Stewart Army post's Baldrige journey.

Baldrige staff and stakeholders that I've heard from have varying opinions of whether the article has a negative or neutral spin. Regardless, in my opinion, what we need to continue to do is educate organizations on the return on investment inherent in Baldrige--the value proposition, if you will.

And to borrow something I heard a Baldrige stakeholder say, "Government is spending money to save money--that sounds paradoxical." I contend that the military is saving money investing in Baldrige.

Here's the letter that we wrote to the editor: Thank you for your recognition of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and its value to military and other organizations.

We’d like to share with your readers the heavy return on investment experienced by military and veterans’ affairs organizations that invest in the resources of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, including the Baldrige Award, in which each applicant receives an evaluation by up to 18 trained Baldrige examiners whose expertise spans the entire U.S. economy.

Let me offer a shining example from within the military ranks. Through investment in the Baldrige Criteria and feedback gained through its application for the Baldrige Award, 2007 Baldrige Award recipient Army Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center (ARDEC):

  • Increased overall revenue from $640 million in fiscal year (FY) 2001 to over $1 billion in FY2007, with an overall cost avoidance of $3.22 billion from 2001 to 2007. Furthermore, in the same period, ARDEC saw revenue from non-Army customers grow from $60 million to $140 million;
  • Achieved overall improvements in quality (91 percent), cost reduction (70 percent), schedule (67 percent), and risk management (84 percent), with an overall cost avoidance of $3.22 billion since 2001; and
  • Increased overall customer satisfaction ratings from 3.48 (on a 4-point scale) in FY2000 to 3.75 in FY2007, exceeding both government and industry benchmarks.

Education and award programs based on Baldrige at all levels of the military also have reported significant returns on investment. These include the Army Communities of Excellence Program for all Army National Guard organizations and the Secretary's Robert W. Carey Performance Excellence Awards for all U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) agencies. In fact, Carey Award-recipient hospitals have consistently outperformed other VA and non-VA hospitals.

We invite you to contact us to follow up on ARDEC’s success, as well as the success of the Army, National Guard, VA, and other organizations across all sectors of the U.S. economy, including two city governments, on the savings achieved through investing in Baldrige.

Said Dr. Joseph A. Lannon, ARDEC’s director, “ [The men and women of ARDEC] have earned distinction for our organization, the new high-technology Army, and the Department of Defense by embracing the Baldrige Criteria. . . . We [adopted the Baldrige Criteria] in order to become the best organization we can possibly be and provide the best products and support we can to the U.S. Warfighter.”

What examples would you share on whether Baldrige is worth the investment?

About the author

Dawn Bailey

Dawn Bailey is a writer/editor for the Baldrige Program and involved in all aspects of communications, from leading the Baldrige Executive Fellows program to managing the direction of case studies, social media efforts, and assessment teams. She has more than 25 years of experience, 18 years at the Baldrige Program. Her background is in English and journalism, with degrees from the University of Connecticut and an advanced degree from George Mason University.

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Being a Baldrige-focused organization in the military will be a great opportunity - as long as they focus on what's important. I would hope that the Organizational Profile for Ft. Stewart would include things like : Strategic Challenge 1: Increased rate of suicide among our soldiers (Category 3 for Army Garrison Ft. Stewart) Strategic Challenge 2: Increased rate of sexual crimes among our soldiers (Category 3 for Ft. Stewart) Strategic Challenge 3: The decreased accountability of military command (See "The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today") (Category 1 for Ft. Stewart) The Baldrige Criteria could be one of the most important improvement tools for the military. It can provide a common language of performance excellence among locations around the world - as long as they're willing to address the "big rocks" and are willing to change.
The baldrige Criteria is one of the most important improve framework for any organisation. But we need more reasonable and logical evidence to show.
I am confused by the statement, "Increased overall revenue from $640 million in fiscal year (FY) 2001 to over $1 billion in FY2007..." Not clear how the Army generates revenue. The Baldrige criteria can help any organization.
Thank you for all of the comments. Bruce, here's some information from ARDEC's profile ( that might help answer your question: "Since 2001, ARDEC’s customer base has shifted from virtually 100 percent Army customers to approximately 83 percent Army and 17 percent non-Army, including organizations such as the U.S. Special Operations Command and the Department of Homeland Security. ARDEC applies a team approach to all project and strategic planning activities, and the teams often include Department of Defense (DoD) organizations, defense contractors, and other government agencies. Such collaborations and partnerships allow ARDEC to leverage its own capabilities and accelerate the development of crucial innovations. This multifaceted quest for excellence has had a significant impact on ARDEC’s bottom line. . . ."

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