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Organizations Can Now Apply for the 2013 Baldrige Quality Award

Baldrige medallion
Credit: NIST

With the launch of the 2013 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA) application process, the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program is ready to help U.S. organizations usher in a quality New Year filled with innovation, improvement and visionary leadership.

Organizations in three business sectors—manufacturing, small business and service—along with those in health care, education and nonprofit (including government agencies)—can now apply for this year's Baldrige Award—the nation's highest Presidential honor for performance excellence.

According to Sister Mary Jean Ryan, FSM, president/CEO of SSM Health Care, the first Baldrige Award winner in the health care sector, "For us, Baldrige has provided the best consulting services we've ever received. ... Over the four years that we applied, we received more than 200 pages of feedback from highly trained, experienced, and professional examiners, who spent literally hundreds of hours with our application and on-site visits. ... To sum up, Baldrige is the best way to get better faster."

All applicants receive a rigorous, objective evaluation of their entire organization and performance management system by the MBNQA Board of Examiners, a team of experts from all sectors of the U.S. economy. These experts provide a report outlining the organization's strengths and opportunities for improvement, with actionable feedback that can guide the organization on its path to performance excellence.

Applying for a Baldrige Award is a two-step process that begins with submitting an Eligibility Certification form, a registration fee, and certain required documents. The deadline for submission of all Step 1 materials is Feb. 19, 2013, if an organization includes a nomination of one of its senior members for the Baldrige Board of Examiners, or April 2, 2013, if it does not. Full eligibility requirements are available online.

In Step 2, eligible candidates for the Baldrige Award provide the information that the Baldrige Examiners will need to conduct an evaluation of the organization. To make it easier for applicants, all instructions and content related to applying for the 2013 Baldrige Award are located on Web pages, which may be accessed from the "How to Apply" page. Help also may be obtained via the toll-free Award Process Hotline at (877) 237-9064, option 3.

The Baldrige program has revised its Criteria for Performance Excellence. The Criteria serve both as the standard for selecting the annual recipients of the Baldrige Award and the road map for organizations—even if they do not apply for the award—seeking improved strategy and operations through pursuing performance excellence.

The 2013-2014 Criteria reflect the validated management practices of the current business environment, with special attention to innovation and risk management, use of social media, operational effectiveness, and work systems as a strategic concept.

The 2013-2014 Criteria for Performance Excellence for businesses and nonprofit organizations are available online. Companion criteria for organizations in the health care and education sectors will be available shortly.

Named after Malcolm Baldrige, the 26th Secretary of Commerce, the Baldrige Award was established by Congress in 1987 to enhance the competitiveness and performance of U.S. organizations. The award is not given for specific products or services. Since 1988, 93 organizations have received Baldrige Awards.

The Baldrige program is managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in conjunction with the private sector.

For more information on the Baldrige Award and the Baldrige Program, or assistance with the award application process, mail baldrige [at] (baldrige[at]nist[dot]gov) or call (301) 975-2036.

Released January 8, 2013, Updated January 17, 2023