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Four U.S. Organizations Honored with the 2012 Baldrige National Quality Award

November 14, 2012
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WASHINGTON, D.C.—Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank today named four U.S. organizations as recipients of the 2012 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation's highest Presidential honor for performance excellence through innovation, improvement and visionary leadership. The winners in this, the 25th anniversary year of the award, represent four different sectors, one repeat recipient and a health network recognized for the same honor earned previously by its flagship hospital. 

The 2012 Baldrige Award recipients—listed with their category—are:

  • Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Grand Prairie, TX (manufacturing)
  • MESA Products Inc., Tulsa, OK (small business)
  • North Mississippi Health Services, Tupelo, MS. (health care)
  • City of Irving, Irving, TX (nonprofit)

MESA previously received a Baldrige Award in 2006, also in the small business category. Another 2006 award winner, North Mississippi Medical Center in the health care category, is the primary hospital of this year's much larger recipient, North Mississippi Health Services.

"The four organizations recognized today with the 2012 Baldrige Award are leaders in the truest sense of the word and role models that others in the health care, nonprofit and business sectors worldwide will strive to emulate," said Acting Secretary Blank. "They have set the bar high for innovative practices, dynamic management, financial performance, outstanding employee and customer satisfaction, and, most of all, for their unwavering commitment to excellence and proven results."

This year marks the silver anniversary of both the award and the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program (BPEP) that supports it. To date, more than 1,500 U.S. organizations have applied for the Baldrige Award, and there are Baldrige-based award programs in nearly all 50 states. Internationally, the program has served as a model for nearly 100 quality programs. A December 2011 study by Albert N. Link and John T. Scott measuring the Baldrige Program's value to U.S. organizations conservatively estimated a benefit-to-cost ratio of 820 to 1, while a 2011 report by Thomson Reuters found that health care organizations that have won or been in the final review process for a Baldrige Award outperform other hospitals in all but one metric the company uses to determine its "100 Top Hospitals" in the nation (and were six times more likely to be among the top 100).

The 2012 Baldrige Award recipients were selected from a field of 39 applicants. All of the applicants were evaluated rigorously by an independent board of examiners in seven areas defined by the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence: leadership; strategic planning; customer focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce focus; operations focus; and results. The evaluation process for each of the recipients included about 1,000 hours of review and an on-site visit by a team of examiners to clarify questions and verify information in the applications.

For the first time this year, Baldrige Award applicants were required to have previously received their state's performance excellence award (see www.nist.gov/baldrige/2012_applications.cfm).       

Another innovation added to the Baldrige Award process in 2012 is ability to recognize best practices in one or more of the Baldrige Criteria categories by organizations that are candidates for the award but are not selected as a winner (see http://www.nist.gov/baldrige/baldrige-062712.cfm). This year, the Baldrige judges have chosen to honor the following organizations (listed with the criteria for which they are being acknowledged):

  • Maury Regional Medical Center, Columbia, TN (strategic planning, workforce focus)
  • Northwest Vista College, San Antonio, TX (leadership, customer focus)
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers Public Sector Practice, McLean, VA (leadership, workforce focus)

The 2012 Baldrige Award recipients are expected to be presented with their awards at an April 2013 ceremony in Baltimore, MD.

The BPEP is managed by the U.S. Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in cooperation with the private sector. It also is a partner in the Baldrige Enterprise, which includes the private-sector Baldrige Foundation, the Alliance for Performance Excellence—a body made up of the 33-plus state, local, regional and sector-specific Baldrige-based programs serving nearly all 50 states; and ASQ, an international organization promoting quality.

The program raises awareness about the importance of performance excellence in driving the U.S. and global economy; provides organizational assessment tools and criteria; educates leaders in businesses, schools, health care organizations, and government and nonprofit organizations about the practices of national role models; and recognizes them with the Baldrige Award in six categories: manufacturing, service, small business, health care, education and nonprofit.

Thousands of organizations worldwide use the Baldrige Criteria to guide their operations, improve performance and get sustainable results. This proven improvement and innovation framework offers organizations an integrated approach to key management areas. The criteria are regularly updated to reflect the leading edge of validated management practice.

The Baldrige Award is not given for specific products or services. Since 1988, 93 organizations have received the award.

For more information, including profiles of the 2012 Baldrige Award recipients, go to http://www.nist.gov/baldrige.

As a non-regulatory agency of the Commerce Department, NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.

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