Denis Leonard recently interviewed the CEO and key staff of a real manufacturing small business of 100 people and gathered data on how they used Baldrige. The company wanted to remain anonymous, so, for the purpose of a paper written by Leonard, the company was called ProCo. The paper, written for the ASQ Organizational Excellence Technical Committee, was intended to show how Baldrige resources could have an impact in a short period of time and how Baldrige implementation can flow from strategy down to operational activities. Leonard’s paper was published in The Quality Management Forum (Fall 2017, Vol. 43, No. 3) [download Fall 2017 edition], a peer-reviewed journal of the Quality Management Division of ASQ.
According to Leonard, prior to its use of Baldrige resources, ProCo had poorly coordinated efforts in terms of customer and employee satisfaction, cycle time reduction, defect reduction, and process improvement. The Baldrige framework and its Criteria provided a framework to organize and prioritize ProCo’s efforts and align those efforts with its strategy.
Guided by the Baldrige Criteria, ProCo’s efforts included training and awareness of the Baldrige Criteria by the entire management team, organizational and team self-assessments using the Criteria, employee surveys, strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats (SWOT) analysis, and use of “the Baldrige Criteria at the heart of the organizational strategy formation.” Strategic planning became focused on the identification and assignment of strategic objectives, action plans, timelines, and strategic goals that could be linked to employees, so that they could better understand their connections to the organization’s mission, vision, strategic drivers, and goals. In addition, ProCo’s efforts included listening to employees through their involvement in the strategic planning process, surveys, and sharing.
“Self-assessment, strategic planning and improvement teams and their impact became a proven cycle for employees that they were being listened to [and] allowed to participate, and they saw the impact because of their efforts. It allowed them to make a difference in their workplace. For this reason, [the Baldrige implementation] was embraced enthusiastically.”
As part of Baldrige implementation, the Baldrige Criteria were aligned with other quality tools, including ISO 9001, ISO 14001, Six Sigma DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, control) methodology, value stream mapping, process mapping, Kaizen blitz, failure modes effects analysis, and 5S. Cross-functional improvement teams also completed projects that were aligned with strategic objectives.
For ProCo, improvements came from several Baldrige-inspired improvement projects that lasted 18 months, and key metrics were improved:
- Reduced cycle time by 15%
- Reduced defects by 50%
- Reduced warranty costs by 75%
- Increased customer satisfaction to 97%
According to Leonard, the point of the “short, simple paper” was to show “how Baldrige could be used and impact achieved in a short time frame.”
So, what could Baldrige do for your organization?
A Systems Approach to Improving Your Organization’s Performance
Baldrige Excellence Framework
The Baldrige Excellence Framework has empowered organizations to accomplish their missions, improve results, and become more competitive. It includes the Criteria for Performance Excellence, core values and concepts, and guidelines for evaluating your processes and results.