Recognizing that performance excellence and innovation are the key ingredients in a recipe for success, 26 top-level organizations are vying to be honored as the "top chefs" in the nation by applying for the 2015 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. This year's applicants include two small businesses, four educational organizations, 16 health care organizations and four nonprofits.
This year's group of applicants shows that the Baldrige leadership and performance management framework continues to have strong support across different sectors, especially in health care. There has been a double-digit number of applicants in the health care category and at least one health care Baldrige Award winner annually since 2002. Additionally, this marks the 16th consecutive year with at least two or more applicants in both healthcare and education—a streak that started with the introduction of the two categories in 1999.
Working in teams over the summer, members of the volunteer board of Baldrige examiners will evaluate applicant organizations against the seven categories of the 2015-2016 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 500 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 Judges Panel 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 2015 Baldrige Award recipients will be selected in November 2015.
The 2015 Baldrige Award process is the first conducted under the simpler eligibility requirements announced last year (see the Oct. 7, 2014,Tech Beat article, "Eligibility Requirements Revised for 2015 Baldrige Award").
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; develops and educates leaders in all types of organizations about the practices of national role models (in fact, BPEP has ranked first among U.S. government and military organizations for leadership training for two consecutive years); and recognizes them with the Baldrige Award in six categories: manufacturing, service, small business, health care, education and nonprofit.
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, 105 awards have been presented to 99 organizations (with six repeat honorees). For more information on the Baldrige Program, go to www.nist.gov/baldrige.