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2013 Baldrige Award Process Kicks Off with New Applicants 

Performance excellence experts participate in a group exercise during their training for the 2013 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Examiners.

Performance excellence experts participate in a group exercise during their training for the 2013 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Examiners.

Credit: Scott/NIST

The countdown has begun for the 2013 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Volunteer examiners will soon tackle the difficult job of choosing America's best examples of organizational performance excellence and innovation from among 22 accomplished and Baldrige-proven applicants—including two educational, 15 health care, and five nonprofit or governmental organizations.

The small but highly qualified group of candidates reflects the tough eligibility rule, now in its second year, which requires Baldrige Award applicants, with few exceptions, to have previously received their state's performance excellence award before seeking the national honor.

The high proportion of health care applicants in 2013 reflects the continued popularity and impact of Baldrige-driven performance excellence within that sector. At least one health care organization in the United States has received a Baldrige Award every year since 2002.

Working in teams over the summer, members of the volunteer board of examiners will evaluate applicant organizations against the seven categories of the 2013–2014 Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence: leadership; strategic planning; customer focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce focus; operations focus; 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.

In late August, the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program (BPEP)'s Panel of Judges will determine which organizations will receive site visits by examiner teams to verify information in the application and clarify questions that come up during the review. From those site-visited organizations, the 2013 Baldrige Award recipients will be selected in late November.

BPEP is managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in cooperation with the private sector. The program raises awareness about the importance of performance excellence in driving the U.S. and global economy; provides organizational assessment tools and criteria; educates leaders in all types of organizations about the practices of national role models; and recognizes them with the Baldrige Award in six categories: manufacturing, service, small business, health care, education and nonprofit. BPEP also is a partner in the Baldrige Enterprise, which includes the private-sector Baldrige Foundation, the Alliance for Performance Excellence—a body made up of the 33-plus state, local, regional and sector-specific Baldrige-based programs serving nearly all 50 states; and ASQ, an international organization promoting quality.

Thousands of organizations worldwide use the Baldrige Criteria to guide their operations, improve performance and get sustainable results. This proven improvement and innovation framework offers organizations an integrated approach to key management areas. The criteria are regularly updated to reflect the leading edge of validated management practice.

The Baldrige Award is not given for specific products or services. Since 1988, 93 organizations have received the award.

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Released June 3, 2013, Updated January 20, 2023