President Clinton and Commerce Secretary William Daley today presented the 1997 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award to four American companies in recognition of their achievements in quality and business performance in a ceremony in Washington, D.C. The four companies are: 3M Dental Products Division, St. Paul, Minn., manufacturing category; Solectron Corp., Milpitas, Calif., manufacturing category; Merrill Lynch Credit Corp., Jacksonville, Fla., service category; and Xerox Business Services, Rochester, N.Y., service category.
"The Baldrige Quality Award is a blueprint for success to help U.S. companies attain and retain market leadership in the 21st century," the President said in announcing the winners on Oct. 15. "The 1997 award winners once again prove that U.S. companies can improve their competitiveness and their bottom line, even as they make their companies better places to work and their communities better places to live."
The award was established by Congress in 1987; the first awards were presented in 1988. The award's goals are to enhance U.S. competitiveness by promoting quality awareness, to recognize quality and business achievements of world- class U.S. companies, and to share these companies' successful performance strategies. The program is managed by the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology in conjunction with private industry. Screening of applications for the award is conducted by leading U.S. quality and business experts.
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. Thousands of organizations use the criteria to assess their performance. The feedback report that award applicants receive provides a roadmap for their performance improvement efforts.
More than 40 states now have quality award programs. Internationally, more than 25 quality award programs have been established. Most of these have been operating only for the past several years, and many of them are Baldrige-based.
As 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.