Baldrige Backbone

The enduring role of quality’s top honor

Since its inception in 1987, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award has recognized U.S. organizations for achieving quality and performance excellence. This year, 70 organizations applied to be considered for the prestigious honor, and countless other organizations base their quality programs on the Baldrige framework. For a full breakdown of this year’s applicants by category, go to "Under the Microscope."

We feature the tumultuous journey of a 2008 Baldrige award recipient in the article "Watershed Moment." Assistant Editor Brett Krzykowski delves into how quality processes and practices can afford a level of resilience—even when it comes to a natural disaster. Cargill Corn Milling North America’s Cedar Rapids, IA, plant was nearly wiped out by a devastating flood in June 2008, but the company’s process focus helped it to reopen less than three months later and host a site visit by Baldrige examiners that October.

The success story illustrates the Teflon-like effect of having a strong and focused quality program.

In other Baldrige-related news, the first Future of Quality dialogue, a joint effort between ASQ and the Baldrige National Quality Program leadership, took place in June. Its purpose: to discuss new directions that quality and organizational performance excellence must take in the decade ahead to create a lasting positive impact in business, industry, healthcare, education and society.

Said Harry Hertz, Baldrige program director: "As we look to the future, the role of the quality professional and organizational performance excellence criteria is to help organizations face reality, think strategically, and implement efficiently and effectively, with the customer and other key stakeholders in mind.

"Success will not be defined by financial data alone. Success will be driven by how well we accept and address challenges of innovation, customer and employee engagement, globalization and societal responsibility."

A full report on the Future of Quality dialogue can be found here.

QP has an archive of articles on Baldrige award recipients that can be found under the Baldrige National Quality Program section of our Topics menu.. For more on the framework, the application process and past recipients, visit www.baldrige.nist.gov.

Finally, this month we updated our comprehensive quality awards listings, which include state-by-state, national, international and automotive awards, descriptions and information on how organizations can apply for them. The listings can be found under Awards in our Tools & Resources menu.

Seiche Sanders

Seiche Sanders

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