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Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award

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History of the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award

"I" n 1987, jumpstarting a small, slowly growing U.S. quality movement, Congress established the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award to promote quality awareness, to recognize quality and business achievements of U.S. organizations, and to publicize these organizations’ successful performance strategies. Now considered America’s highest honor for performance excellence, the Baldrige Award is presented annually to U.S. organizations by the President of the United States. Awards are given in manufacturing, service, small business, and, starting in 1999, education and health care. In conjunction with the private sector, the National Institute of Standards and Technology designed and manages the award and the Baldrige National Quality Program.  

Application process:
To apply for the award, organizations must submit details showing their achievements and improvements in seven key areas: leadership, strategic planning, customer and market focus, information and analysis, human resource focus, process management, and results. Applicants receive 300 to 1,000 hours of review and a detailed report on the organization’s strengths and opportunities for improvement by an independent board of examiners. “The application and review process for the award is the best, most cost-effective, and comprehensive business health audit you can get,” said Arnold Weimerskirch, former Baldrige Award judge and vice president of quality, Honeywell, Inc. 

Program impact :
Since the first awards were presented in 1988, the Baldrige National Quality Program has grown in stature and impact. Today, the Baldrige program, the award’s criteria for performance excellence, and the Baldrige award recipients are imitated and admired worldwide.  

In particular, the Baldrige criteria for performance excellence have played a valuable role in helping U.S. organizations improve. The criteria are designed to help organizations improve their performance by focusing on two goals: delivering ever improving value to customers and improving the organization’s overall performance. Approximately 2 million copies of the criteria have been distributed since 1988, and wide-scale reproduction by organizations and electronic access add to that number significantly. Gordon Black, chairman and chief executive officer of Harris/Black International Ltd., said the publication containing the Baldrige criteria for performance excellence is “probably the single most influential document in the modern history of American business.” 

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Following are some of the program’s highlights :
Blue Bullet

For the seventh year in a row, a hypothetical stock index, made up of publicly traded U.S. companies that have received the Baldrige Award, has outperformed the Standard & Poor’s 500. This year, the “Baldrige Index” outperformed the S&P 500 by 4.4 to 1.

Blue Bullet
State and local quality programs, most modeled after the Baldrige program, have grown from fewer than 10 in 1991 to 54 programs in 44 states.
Blue Bullet

Internationally, nearly 60 quality programs are operating. Most are modeled after the Baldrige program, including one established in Japan in 1996.
Blue Bullet

Since 1988, 871 applications have been submitted for the Baldrige Award from a wide variety of types and sizes of organizations.

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Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Winners:


Motorola Inc. Commercial, Government and Industrial Solutions Sector 
Schaumburg, Ill. (manufacturing)

Branch-Smith Printing Division  
Fort Worth, Texas (small business)

SSM Health Care
St. Louis, Mo. (health care) 


Clarke American Checks, Incorporated 
San Antonio, Texas (manufacturing)

Pal’s Sudden Service 
Kingsport, Tenn. (small business)

Chugach School District 
Anchorage, Alaska (education)

Pearl River School District
Pearl River, N.Y. (education)

University of Wisconsin-Stout 
Menomonie, Wis. (education)


Dana Corp.-Spicer Driveshaft Division 
Toledo, Ohio (manufacturing)

KARLEE Company, Inc. 
Garland, Texas (manufacturing)

Operations Management International, Inc. 
Greenwood Village, Colo. (service)

Los Alamos National Bank 
Los Alamos, N.M. (small business)


STMicroelectronics, Inc.-Region Americas 
Carrollton, Texas (manufacturing)

BI Performance Services 
Minneapolis, Minn. (service)

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. 
Atlanta, Ga. (service)

Sunny Fresh Foods 
Monticello, Minn. (small business) 


Boeing Airlift and Tanker Programs 
Long Beach, Calif. (manufacturing)

Solar Turbines Inc. 
San Diego, Calif. (manufacturing)

Texas Nameplate Company Inc. 
Dallas, Texas (small business) 


3M Dental Products Division 
St. Paul, Minn. (manufacturing)

Solectron Corp. 
Milpitas, Calif. (manufacturing)

Merrill Lynch Credit Corp. 
Jacksonville, Fla. (service)

Xerox Business Services 
Rochester, N.Y. (service)


ADAC Laboratories 
Milpitas, Calif. (manufacturing)

Dana Commercial Credit Corp. 
Toledo, Ohio (service)

Custom Research Inc. 
Minneapolis, Minn. (small business)

Trident Precision Manufacturing Inc.
Webster, N.Y. (small business) 


Armstrong World Industries’ Building Products Operation 
Lancaster, Pa.(manufacturing)

Corning Telecommunications Products Division 
Corning, N.Y. (manufacturing) 


Communications Services 
Basking Ridge, N.J. (service)

GTE Directories Corp. 
Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas (service)

Wainwright Industries Inc. 
St. Peters, Mo. (small business) 


Eastman Chemical Co. 
Kingsport, Tenn. (manufacturing)

Ames Rubber Corp. 
Hamburg, N.J. (small business) 


AT&T Network Systems Group/Transmission Systems Business Unit 
Morristown, N.J. (manufacturing)

Texas Instruments Inc.  
Defense Systems & Electronics Group
Dallas, Texas (manufacturing)

AT&T Universal Card Services 
Jacksonville, Fla. (service)

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. 
Atlanta, Ga. (service)

Granite Rock Co. 
Watsonville, Calif. (small business)


Solectron Corp. 
Milpitas, Calif. (manufacturing)

Zytec Corp. 
Eden Prairie, Minn. (manufacturing)

Marlow Industries 
Dallas, Texas (small business)


Cadillac Motor Car Division 
Detroit, Mich. (manufacturing)

IBM Rochester 
Rochester, Minn. (manufacturing)

Federal Express Corp. 
Memphis, Tenn. (service)

Wallace Co. Inc. 
Houston, Texas (small business) 


Milliken & Co. 
Spartanburg, S.C. (manufacturing)

Xerox Corp. 
Business Products and Systems 
Rochester, N.Y. (manufacturing) 


Motorola Inc. 
Schaumburg, Ill. (manufacturing)

Commercial Nuclear Fuel Division of Westinghouse Electric Corp. 
Pittsburgh, Pa. (manufacturing)

Globe Metallurgical Inc. 
Beverly, Ohio (small business) 

For Further information: 

Baldrige National Quality Program  
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 1020  
Gaithersburg, Md. 20899-1020  
(301) 975-2036 

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