In the mid-1980’s the American automobile industry was struggling, American quality was declining, and we were in a recession. U.S. leaders realized we needed to improve quality to compete in an ever-expanding global market. Sound familiar?
In response to these conditions, and to help America improve quality the Baldrige award was created. The award seeks to increase quality and efficiency of U.S. companies, and to share that knowledge freely with others.
The resources on the website are vast and can help any organization perform more efficiently. Using the core values of the Baldrige award, and learning from what others have already done to improve quality, can save your company money and improve the quality of your business.
When people think of quality they will often think of manufacturing only, when nothing could be further from the truth. The Baldrige award has been awarded to companies in education, health care, manufacturing, nonprofits/government, service, and small business. The Baldrige website gives a wonderful breakdown on how implementing Baldrige principals can positively affect each sector.
While applying for the award itself can get a little expensive, applying the principals of the award will save your organization money.
So what does the Baldrige Award focus on? It is a system to improve quality through leadership, strategic planning, customer focus, measurement, analysis, knowledge, workforce focus, process business management and results.
Now that’s a mouth full! No one said the Baldrige award is easy. It takes a commitment from every single person in the organization to make sure it works. You cannot just make a nice poster that says you are going to improve quality, hang it in a hallway, and expect quality to go up.
You need to evaluate your entire system and make drastic changes to improve quality.
There were 5 winners for 2009 of the Baldrige award. Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies, LLC was among the winners (source). They had to contend with 70 applicants, submit to a thousand hours of review by the Baldrige committee, and survive on site evaluations.
70 applicants may not seem like much, but being considered for the Baldrige award alone is an honor in and of itself.
To win the Baldrige award they had to beat the best of the best.
So what did all of this work deliver for the business?
- Customer Satisfaction above 95% for the past 4 years
- The quality and reliability of their products have been maintained at 99.9 percent
- Significant increases in worker appreciation and satisfaction
- Cost savings of around $23.5 million and $27 million for the last 3 fiscal years
Baldrige is one of our governments best programs, and you can save money, improve quality, increase worker satisfaction and more by embracing the philosophy. No business can afford to ignore quality, and Baldrige gives you the tools to embrace quality improvement.