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Nine Companies Selected For Baldrige Quality Award Site Visits

Teams of quality experts will visit nine companies starting Sept. 2, 1996, as part of the application process for the 1996 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, a Commerce Department/private-sector program to promote business excellence and quality achievement. A total of 29 companies applied for the 1996 award.

Managed by the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Baldrige Award has received 622 applications since the first competition in 1988. Twenty-four companies—13 large manufacturers, five service companies and six small businesses—in a wide variety of industries have won the award.

"The application and review process for the Baldrige Award is one of the best, most cost-effective and comprehensive business health audits a company can get," says Harry Hertz, director of the Baldrige National Quality Program at NIST.

For an application fee of $4,500 for large businesses and $1,500 for small firms, a company receives at least 300 hours of review by a minimum of eight experts from the award's Board of Examiners selected for their depth and breadth of knowledge in business and quality management. Site-visited companies receive over 1,000 hours of review. Every applicant gets an extensive feedback report highlighting strengths and areas to improve.

Teams composed of six to nine examiners, accompanied by a staff member from NIST's Baldrige Award office, will visit locations of the nine companies. The companies are five manufacturers, two service companies and two small businesses. (Names of applicants and information on their applications are considered proprietary and kept confidential. Only the winners' names are announced.)

Site-team members verify information in the company's applications and clarify any issues or questions raised when the application was examined earlier in the year by the board. They interview employees as well as corporate officers and review pertinent records and data.

A private-sector panel of judges will review reports on the site visits and make recommendations concerning winning companies to NIST in October.

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. Over time, the award criteria have evolved to represent a general performance and business excellence model.

The award is not given for specific products or services. Two companies may win the award annually in each of three categories: manufacturing, service and small business. NIST developed and manages the award program in conjunction with the private sector.

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.

Released August 26, 1996, Updated November 27, 2017