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The Official Baldrige Blog

Small Business Sees Environmental Excellence as Part of its Own Performance Excellence

Texas Nameplate Company billboard in New York City. The caption reads "Texas manufacturer eliminates waste through innovative acid rejuvenation."

Texas Nameplate Company billboard in New York City. The caption reads "Texas manufacturer eliminates waste through innovative acid rejuvenation."

Credit: Texas Nameplate Company, Inc.

For our military defense during World War II, enormous trucks, airplanes, and other heavy equipment rolled out of factories, and they needed durable metal nameplates for identification. To fill that need, in 1946, Texas Nameplate Company was founded in Dallas.

Fast forward to 1998, when Texas Nameplate Company, Inc. (PDF) became the smallest company ever to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award with just 66 employees. Texas Nameplate manufactures nameplates, custom labels, name tags, identification tags, metallic and nonmetallic nameplates, and Digital Nameplate® that are used in various industries for a range of applications, both in normal and harsh environments.

In 2004, the family-owned business won the Baldrige Award again, outperforming other companies in the industry and exceeding the performance of comparable organizations among Industry Week’s benchmark companies. It became the first small business to win the award twice.

Now more than 70 years since its founding, Texas Nameplate Company, Inc. is announcing a new milestone: going paperless (with the exception of customer receipts) and encouraging other businesses to do the same.

Pursuit of Environmental Excellence

“Texas Nameplate used to have a paper ticket system for orders, and each ticket had an average of 16 pages. All the tickets had to be saved for several years—seven years for military contracts. The company had to store between 30,000 and 50,000 tickets at one time. In the old facility, the papers were so heavy that the floor sagged,” reads a press release.

“I hope that we’re able to influence or set the standard a little bit, that things like this are possible,” said Dan Crownover, administrative manager for Texas Nameplate and son of the CEO. “If you want to be paperless, you can do it.”

Dale Crownover, Texas Nameplate’s CEO, added that he hopes the company will “encourage others to pursue the Ps of people, planet, and profit. It bothers me that so many organizations are just focused on profit.”

The company even has new vision and mission statements to underline its values: “We are role models for both performance and environmental excellence” and “Our nameplates are Green® . . . defect free and on time.”

According to the company’s CEO, environmental excellence hasn’t always been an easy pursuit.

“Unfortunately, our industry of chemical etching has always been a huge waste contributor. Something we are not proud of,” said Dale Crownover. “Before we even did Baldrige, we were noted as a ‘habitual violator’ of many environmental regulations. I was told by the City of Dallas that our water would be terminated if we didn’t get in compliance. We had nine citations outstanding at one time; I was told if I got pulled over by the police, I had a good chance of being put in jail. Obviously, they got my attention. These memories have forever been with me. My vision after [using the Baldrige Criteria] was to also try to be a role model for the environment. Thus, the changes in the mission and vision statements.” 

Through its green projects, Texas Nameplate has been able to track its environmental impact; for example, it has saved

  • 1,200 gallons of solvent waste
  • 6,000 gallons of acid waste
  • 450,000 gallons of water
  • 25,000 rags, in addition to countless trees

Still Pursuing Performance Excellence with Baldrige

Rowdy Crownover, Chief Executive Dog, Texas Nameplate Company
Rowdy Crownover, Chief Executive Dog, Texas Nameplate Company
Credit: Texas Nameplate Company, Inc.
Dale Crownover said the family-owned company (Dale’s two sons work for the company, with one being groomed to take over as CEO when Dale retires; even the family dog Rowdy is listed as part of the team on the company website as the chief executive dog) is still guided by Baldrige resources.

Dale also proudly accepted the title of “emeritus” from Quality Texas, the state-based Baldrige program and member of the Baldrige-based network of programs, the Alliance for Performance Excellence.

Since Texas Nameplate’s last Baldrige Award win, Dale Crownover said,

“We are about triple what we were before Baldrige. What’s very interesting is not only triple in sales, but we have 50% less people doing the work—pretty amazing and a true testament to Baldrige. . . . We moved into a brand new state-of-the-art facility—another dream I had that Baldrige created for us."

"I’m still giving speeches about Baldrige but now also giving speeches for the environment. . . . I have the same desire to help others with their performances with the environment as I have had these past 25 years for performance excellence and the [Baldrige] Criteria,” he added.

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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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TNC is approaching 30 years of striving for ever-higher excellence by continuously measuring itself against the Baldrige Criteria and not resting on their Awards from 1998 and 2004.

How vibrant would the Baldrige be if more recipients had continued to measure themselves against the Criteria? If just one recipient from each year’s cohort of recipients had followed Dale’s example, the number of applicants would be double today, the number of recipients would be 20-25% higher, we would have a much better story to tell, … and “they” would listen.

Thanks for recognizing genuine leadership.

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