Starting in mid-October, teams of business, education, health care and nonprofit experts will visit 13 organizations as the final review stage for the 2008 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation's highest recognition for excellence. The organizations selected for site visits include one in the manufacturing category, two small businesses, six in health care, two in education, and two nonprofits. There were no organizations chosen for site visits in the service category.
The Baldrige program received 85 applications in 2008 (seven small business, five service, three manufacturing, 43 health care, 11 education and 16 nonprofits)—the highest number of applicants since 1992. The applicants were 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. Each organization receives a wealth of feedback detailing its most important strengths and opportunities for improvement.
The 2008 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 and is managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in cooperation with the private sector. The award 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 National Quality Program, see the program Web page at http://baldrige.nist.gov.