American companies can improve the way they do business by applying for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, says the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology.
"The Baldrige application process itself is an investment in future success that every American company should be making," says Bruce Woolpert, president and CEO, Granite Rock Co., Watsonville, Calif., a Baldrige Award small business winner. "The Baldrige process isn't about receiving an award; it's about discovering increased potential for customer satisfaction as well as market share and employee growth," says Woolpert.
Thousands of companies use the Baldrige Award criteria to assess their performance against the award's seven key business indicators. But, going through the application process brings additional benefits. For an application fee of $4,500 for large firms and $1,500 for small companies (under 500 employees), businesses will receive from 300 to 1,000 hours of review by at least six business experts on the award's private-sector board of examiners. All companies will receive a detailed feedback report from these experts on the company's strengths and areas needing improvement.
"Companies that apply for the Baldrige Award get a comprehensive, cost-effective, top-to-bottom assessment of their company by a team of business experts," says Gary D. Floss, chair of the Baldrige Award's 1997 panel of judges and vice president, quality, at Computing Devices International, Minneapolis, Minn.
The Baldrige Award criteria include seven key factors that define a world-class organization. The criteria have become accepted around the world as the business standard for performance excellence. The seven factors covered in the criteria are: leadership, strategic planning, customer and market focus, information and analysis, human resource focus, process management and business results. To apply, companies must submit details comparing their achievements and improvements against the criteria. Names of applicants and applications are confidential.
Application packets and the Baldrige Award criteria are available by contacting the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, A537 Administration Bldg., NIST, Gaithersburg, Md. 20899-0001, (301) 975-2036, fax: (301) 948-3716, e-mail: oqp [at] nist.gov. Information also is available on the Baldrige Award web site at www.quality.nist.gov. Eligibility forms are due April 15, 1998. Applications are due June 1, 1998. Established by Congress in 1987, the Baldrige Quality Award is the highest honor awarded to U.S. companies by the President of the United States for performance and business excellence. Awards may be given annually in each of three categories: manufacturing, service and small business.
The goals of the Baldrige Award are to enhance U.S. competitiveness by promoting quality awareness, to recognize quality achievements of U.S. companies and to publicize successful performance strategies. The award is not given for specific products or services. Since 1988, 32 companies have received the award. More than 40 states now have quality award programs. Internationally, more than 25 quality award programs have been established. Most of these programs have been operating only for the past several years, and many of them are Baldrige-based.
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 quality control and assurance, and its reputation as an impartial third party.
Note to reporters: Reporters can contact Bruce Woolpert, president and CEO, Granite Rock Co. at (408) 768-2001 and Gary Floss, vice president, quality, Computing Devices International, at (612) 921-6015.