Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


The Official Baldrige Blog

Paper Reveals How Baldrige Helped a Small Business in a Short Time

Water bottle small business filling green bottles with spring water.
Credit: hedgehog94/Shutterstock

ASQ Paper
Denis Leonard

Using the Baldrige Criteria and Self-Assessment as Strategic Drivers: A Case Study
Recently, a Baldrige alumnus examiner set out to document what Baldrige could do for a small business in just 18 months. According to the metrics, the answer is quite a lot.

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

2019-2020 Baldrige Excellence Framework cover photo


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.

Purchase your copy today!

Available versions: Business/Nonprofit, Education, and Health Care

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.

Related posts


Another wonderful Baldrige success story ! I just love the way an excellence model provides a big umbrella for all things quality and aligns with any approach, tool and technique. Just look at the line-up in this example - ISO 9001, ISO 14001, Six Sigma DMAIC methodology, value stream mapping, process mapping, Kaizen blitz, failure modes effects analysis, and 5S, cross-functional improvement teams completing projects that align with strategic objectives. A fabulous example, thank you Denis.

It is always great to read a manufacturing success story and see how the integration of Baldrige, ISO, and ASQ principles and programs continue to produce meaningful change. It is always enlightening to read any of Dr. Leonard's articles and books. Thanks, Denis.

The link to the paper no longer works. Is it available elsewhere?

Add new comment

Enter the characters shown in the image.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Please be respectful when posting comments. We will post all comments without editing as long as they are appropriate for a public, family friendly website, are on topic and do not contain profanity, personal attacks, misleading or false information/accusations or promote specific commercial products, services or organizations. Comments that violate our comment policy or include links to non-government organizations/web pages will not be posted.