Seventy organizations have taken the first step toward the 2009 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation's highest recognition for innovation and performance excellence. Applicants include two manufacturers, four service companies, five small businesses, nine educational organizations, 42 health care organizations and eight nonprofits/governmental organizations.
The 70 applicants will be evaluated rigorously by an independent board of examiners in seven areas: leadership; strategic planning; customer 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 2009 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, 75 organizations have received Baldrige Awards.
The Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence have played a valuable role in helping organizations of all types improve their operations. 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. The Criteria have been widely distributed since 1988, and last year, they were downloaded more than 1.8 million times from the Baldrige Web site.
For more information on the Baldrige award program, see www.nist.gov/baldrige.