U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross today named two small businesses, one city government and two health care organizations as the 2017 recipients of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the Baldrige Award is a Presidential-level honor, recognizing exemplary practices among American organizations and businesses including an unceasing drive for radical innovation, thoughtful leadership, and administrative improvement. This year’s awardees are proven success stories, providing a rubric for other businesses across the country to follow.
“This program is about much more than recognizing successful organizations or winning a single award,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The organizations which are given the Baldrige Award embody the competitive spirit which drives the American economy forward.”
The 2017 honorees are located in five different states, including the first Baldrige Award winner from Hawaii, a repeat winner from Alaska, and the first utility company to win the award.
The 2017 Baldrige Award recipients – listed with their category – are:
- Bristol Tennessee Essential Services, Bristol, TN, small business sector
- Stellar Solutions, Palo Alto, CA, small business sector
- City of Fort Collins, Fort Collins, CO, nonprofit sector
- Adventist Health Castle, Kailua, HI, health care sector
- Southcentral Foundation, Anchorage, AK, health care sector
“When companies implement the ground-tested Baldrige approach, they create organizations that employees and customers love, that continually improve, and that produce innovative and outstanding results,” continued Secretary Ross.
The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) manages the Baldrige Award in cooperation with the private sector. An independent board of examiners recommended this year’s Baldrige Award recipients from a field of 24 applicants after evaluating them in seven areas defined by the Baldrige Excellence Framework: leadership; strategy; customers; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce; operations; and results. An organization may compete for the award in one of six categories: manufacturing, service, small business, health care, education and nonprofit (including government agencies).
"This year’s honorees demonstrate clearly that organizations of all kinds can achieve sustainable high performance,” said Robert Fangmeyer, director of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. “The missions for these organizations are dramatically different, but they share a laser focus on doing the right things for their customers, employees and communities using the Baldrige framework. The payoff is great operational and business results.”
To date, nearly 1,700 U.S. organizations have applied for the Baldrige Award, and there are more than 30 independent Baldrige-based state and regional award programs covering nearly all 50 states. Internationally, there are nearly 80 programs based in whole, or in part, on the Baldrige Program. In addition, many organizations use the Baldrige framework as a leadership and management guide to drive improvement and innovation strategies without applying for any of these awards.
Over the years, millions of copies of the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, the core of the Baldrige framework, have been distributed or downloaded. This widespread acceptance and use both nationally and globally has dramatically impacted all types of organizations.
For example, below are achievements by the 2017 Baldrige Award winners.
- The City of Fort Collins’ has a “Aaa” credit rating and ranks in the top 10 percent of cities nationally as a place to live and work, and for quality of culture and recreation, job opportunities, air quality and attractiveness. It ranks in the top 1 percent for drinking water quality and emergency preparedness.
- Bristol Tennessee Essential Services is an electricity and fiber services utility company that serves 33,000 customers with only 68 employees. It offers the fastest internet available in the United States at 10 Gigabits per second, has implemented efficiencies that saved its customers approximately $70 million over the last 40 years, and has customer satisfaction levels approaching 100 percent on many products and performance measures.
- Stellar Solutions is a woman-owned small business specializing in technical expertise and management of aerospace programs with a vision of helping every employee achieve their dream job. Stellar’s revenue has grown from a rate of 1.18 percent in 2013 to 6.81 percent in 2016, and from 2013 to 2016, 100 percent of customers say they would recommend the company to others. In addition to its core services, the company operates a humanitarian R&D program called QuakeFinder focused on the goal of developing technology and methods to forecast earthquakes worldwide.
- Southcentral Foundation won its first Baldrige Award in 2011. It is a nonprofit, health care organization owned, managed, and driven by Alaskan Native “customers-owners” who live within a 107,000-square-mile area, including 55 villages reachable only by plane. Its unique health care delivery system combining mind, body and cultural measures of wellness produces 90th-percentile rankings for screenings such as diabetes, cardiovascular health and cervical cancer, as well as numerous other health care outcomes and quality measures.
- Adventist Health Castle is a 160-bed acute care facility and community hospital system on the Hawaiian island of O’ahu. Between 2014 and 2016, it improved performance by 12 percent on composite measures of safety, evidence-based care and mortality related to its clinical care processes. The health care organization ranks in the top 10 percent for disease prevention and treatment programs.
The Baldrige judges also may recognize applicants’ best practices in one or more of the Baldrige Criteria categories by organizations that are candidates for the award but are not selected as winners.
This year, the judges have chosen four organizations for this honor (listed with the categories for which they are acknowledged):
- Donor Alliance, Denver, CO, Measurement, Analysis and Knowledge Management (category 4) and Operations (category 6)
- Howard Community College, Columbia, MD, Customers (category 3) and Operations (category 6)
- Methodist Healthcare System of San Antonio, TX, Leadership (category 1) and Strategy (category 2)
- Tri County Tech, Bartlesville, OK, Leadership (category 1) and Workforce (category 5)
The 2017 Baldrige Awards will be presented at an April 2018 ceremony during the Baldrige Program’s 30th annual Quest for Excellence® conference, which will be held in Baltimore, MD.
The Baldrige Program raises awareness about the importance of performance excellence in driving the U.S. and global economies; provides organizational assessments, training, tools and criteria; educates leaders in businesses, schools, health care organizations and government and nonprofit organizations; shares the best practices of national role models; and recognizes those role models with the Baldrige Award. The Baldrige Program is a public-private partnership managed by NIST and funded in part through user fees, with some support from the Baldrige Foundation.
The Baldrige Award was established by Congress in 1987 and is not given for specific products or services. Since the first group was recognized in 1988, 118 awards have been presented to 110 organizations (including eight repeat winners).
For more information, visit the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program website.