No one can deny that there are plenty of quality tools out there to improve performance—of a team, of a process, of a product—but to integrate those tools and know where to apply them for the good of the whole organization, so that learning can be applied and the system can most effectively use resources, that's where the Baldrige Excellence Framework comes in. Whether you describe it as a blueprint or a map, it is the framework that should guide how and where you apply quality tools.
To borrow two quotes from recent interviews with quality experts,
And here's another expert from Quality magazine who writes about the Baldrige Criteria's complementary nature with business process management (BPM) objectives. In "Aligning BPM with the Seven Categories of the Malcolm Baldrige Award," Forrest W. Breyfogle III, the founder and CEO of Smarter Solutions Inc, writes, "Most organizations use the Baldrige categories to build up a total performance map in order to rule out areas that require improvement. Along with this, organizations may also rely on tools, such as BPM, to devise operations and enhance organization processes."
He describes BPM as a way to take control of processes, and aligning BPM with the "high-performing business processes" gained from using the Criteria can lead to "economic viability, efficient operations, conservation of natural resources, and social responsibility."
"Therefore, it can be said that the success of BPM, along with other business process tools, can be improved . . . through the Baldrige Criteria," he writes. "The effective alignment could be a source of increasing improvement to even more advanced developments. Breakthrough progress gives organizations the highest competitive edge in all circumstances. . . . By relying on the Criteria, businesses are steps closer to attaining higher levels of productivity and profitability, better employee relations, improved market share, and customer loyalty."
Breyfogle adds, "By taking the seven Baldrige categories into consideration, well-developed and balanced results can be expected. Any misalignment could mean that there is something wrong with the business processes or other areas in the organization, making things easier and more efficient for organizations to implement business and measure performance. . . . The Baldrige Criteria, therefore, serve as strong criteria to conduct self-assessments and benchmark an organization’s processes and methods with those companies rewarded by the Baldrige Award."