Eighty-five organizations—the highest number of applicants since 1992—are in the running for the 2008 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation's highest recognition for excellence. Applicants include three manufacturers, five service companies, seven small businesses, 11 educational organizations, 43 health care organizations and 16 nonprofits/governmental organizations.
The 85 applicants will be evaluated rigorously by an independent board of examiners in seven areas: leadership; strategic planning; customer and market focus; measurement, analysis, and knowledge management; workforce focus; process management; and results. Examiners provide each applicant with 300 to 1,000 hours of review and a detailed report on the organization's strengths and opportunities for improvement.
The 2008 Baldrige Award recipients are expected to be announced in late November.
Named after Malcolm Baldrige, the 26th Secretary of Commerce, the Baldrige Award was established by Congress in 1987. The award—managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in collaboration with the private sector—promotes excellence in organizational performance, recognizes the achievements and results of U.S. organizations, and publicizes successful performance strategies. The award is not given for specific products or services. Since 1988, 72 organizations have received Baldrige Awards.
The Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence have played a valuable role in helping U.S. organizations improve. The Criteria are designed to help organizations improve their performance by focusing on three goals: delivering ever-improving value to customers and stakeholders, improving the organization's overall effectiveness, and organizational and personal learning. Several million copies of the Criteria have been distributed since 1988, and wide-scale reproduction by organizations and electronic access add to that number significantly.
For more information on the Baldrige award program, see http://baldrige.nist.gov.