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Judges' Panel Moves 12 Organizations Forward for Site Visits for 2018 Baldrige Awards

Baldrige medallion
Credit: NIST
Meeting last week at NIST, the Judges Panel for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA) chose 12 organizations to proceed to Site Visit Review, the final stage of the evaluation process for the nation’s highest award for organizational performance excellence. 

During their recent meeting, the judges reviewed scoring data from the first two stages of the evaluation process for the annual Baldrige Award. At the annual August meeting, the panel determines which organizations will receive site visits based solely on scoring data from evaluation teams composed of trained volunteers who bring a variety of sector expertise to the process. Names of organizations selected for site visits are not revealed until the judges conclude all discussions and votes based on the data. This avoids any real or potential conflicts of interests and ensures the integrity of the award process.

The panel will reconvene in November to review findings about the site-visited organizations’ performance and determine which to recommend to the Secretary of Commerce to be named 2018 Baldrige Award recipients. The awardees will be honored at a ceremony during the 31st annual Quest for Excellence® Conference, April 7–10, 2019, near Washington, D.C.

Twenty-seven applicants were evaluated during the first two phases of the selection process for the 2018 Baldrige Award. For the site visits that will begin in late September, the panel of judges last week selected 3 organizations in the health care category, 4 in education, 3 nonprofits, and 2 small businesses. The site visit evaluation teams, composed of Baldrige examiners, will include experts in each sector. The teams will spend several days at their assigned organizations’ sites, interviewing employees at all levels of the workforce to clarify and verify information submitted in the award applications.

All Baldrige Award applicants are evaluated rigorously by members of the independent board of examiners in seven areas defined by the 2017–2018 Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence: leadership; strategy; customers; measurement, analysis, and knowledge management; workforce; operations; and results. Baldrige 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.

BPEP is managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in cooperation with the private sector and funded through fees earned and financial support from the Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (link is external). The program raises awareness about the importance of performance excellence in driving the U.S. and global economy; provides organizational assessment tools and criteria; and educates leaders in all types of organizations about the practices of national role models. The Baldrige Award recognizes the nation’s top-level performers in six categories: manufacturing, service, small business, health care, education, and nonprofit.

The Baldrige Award is not given for specific products or services. Since the first Baldrige Award recipients were recognized in 1988, 118 awards have been presented to 110 organizations (including eight two-time award recipients).

For more information on the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program and the Baldrige Award, see

Released August 27, 2018