Vice President Al Gore and Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown today presented three U.S. companies the 1994 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation's highest award for excellence in quality management. They are AT&T; Consumer Communications Services (Basking Ridge, N.J.), GTE Directories Corp. (Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas) and Wainwright Industries, Inc. (St. Peters, Mo.). The award recipients were announced on Oct. 18.
"These three forward-looking companies, as well as previous and future Baldrige Award winners, are going to be leading the way into the 21st century, which some are wisely calling the 'Century of Quality,'" Gore said. "They demonstrate that aggressive quality management -- including a clear customer focus and partnerships with employees and suppliers -- equips American companies to compete and excel in the global marketplace."
Brown said, "As the pace of global competition quickens, I encourage all U.S. companies to follow the lead of these three companies and invest in quality. Those that do can be confident they will be able to meet the challenges of the future head on."
The award is named for the late Secretary of Commerce Malcolm Baldrige and is managed by the Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency of the Technology Administration. The private sector is actively involved in the award program.
It was established by legislation in August 1987 to raise awareness about quality management and recognize U.S. companies that have a world-class system for managing their operations and people and for satisfying their customers.
The award is not given for specific products or services. As part of the award process, an applicant must provide information and data to show quality achievement and quality improvement in seven broad areas: leadership, information and analysis, strategic planning, human resource development and management, process management, business results, and customer focus and satisfaction.
U.S. companies applying for the award undergo a rigorous evaluation by an independent board of examiners composed of private- and public-sector quality experts. The examination includes on-site visits for those passing an initial screening. Up to two awards may be given annually in each of three categories: large manufacturing, large service companies and small business. Since 1988, 22 companies have received the award.
The 1994 award recipients will present details of their quality improvement strategies and results at the annual Quest for Excellence conference to be held Feb. 6-8, 1995, at the Washington Hilton and Towers, Washington, D.C.
A non-regulatory agency, NIST promotes U.S. economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards. NIST was selected by Congress to design and manage the award program because of its role in helping U.S. companies compete, its world-renowned expertise in quality control and assurance, and its reputation as an impartial third party.