The Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology is seeking leading business, education, health care and quality experts to serve on the 1997 board of examiners for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.
Examiners volunteer their time and energy to evaluate applications for the award, prepare feedback reports for applicants, and report their findings to the Award's Panel of Judges. While most receive no reimbursement of expenses for their efforts, many examiners view it as a valuable learning experience. Says Craig A. Anderson, a partner with Ernst & Young LLP, "As a Baldrige examiner, I have had the privilege to work with leading experts and businesses who are passionate in their quest for excellence. This has resulted in my greatest personal and professional adult learning experience, learning from organizations committed to performance excellence."
"By providing a service to their country, Baldrige Award examiners are this country's front-line quality patriots'," says Harry Hertz, director of the Baldrige Award program at NIST. "While the Baldrige Award program benefits from their services, the examiners and their companies also benefit by gaining an in-depth knowledge about the Baldrige Award criteria and how high-performing companies are using the criteria to improve and be more competitive," he adds.
Private sector reviews and surveys show that the Baldrige Award program is having a profound effect on how people and organizations operate. For example, a recent report on the Baldrige Award by the Council on Competitiveness states, "More than any other program, the Baldrige Quality Award is responsible for making quality a national priority and disseminating best practices across the United States."
Applicants for the board must have expertise in business, education or health care management, business processes and results, and be able to evaluate large and small manufacturing and service businesses. Those selected for the board must take part in a three-day preparation course based on the Baldrige award examination items, the scoring criteria, and the examination process. In addition, examiners are expected to spend 10 days or more reviewing applications, preparing feedback reports to applicants and, in some cases, participating in site visits. Companies passing initial screening are visited by a team of examiners to verify information in the application and clarify issues and questions raised during the review.
Currently, about 340 quality experts are on the board of examiners. Applications for the 1997 board will be available in September from the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Office, A537 Administration Bldg., NIST, Gaithersburg, Md. 20899-0001, (301) 975-2036, fax: (301) 948-3716, e-mail: oqp [at] nist.gov. Applications are due Nov. 1, 1996.
Managed by NIST in cooperation with the private sector, the Baldrige Award program was established by Congress in 1987 not only to recognize individual U.S. companies for their quality achievements, but also to promote quality awareness and to provide information on successful quality strategies. The award criteria have evolved to represent a model for business excellence.
A non-regulatory agency of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration, 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 measurement, and its reputation as an impartial third party.