Benchmarking and Improvement – The “New” Malcolm Baldridge Award 2011-2012

Since my early days at Hewlett Packard I’ve been a great fan of the Malcolm Baldridge Award. In the US it’s a highly renowned and much-coveted Award and many organisations use it as a tool for benchmarking, assessment and performance measurement. In Europe it’s been “translated” into the EFQM Business Excellence Model.  

The principles on which it’s based are very simple but most people and organisations find them very difficult to apply consistently and well. Personally, I find it reassuring in some ways that Award-winners will typically score around 500 or 600 on a scale of 1,000.

I’ve always thought that if you spend your life telling other people how important it is for them to improve how they do things then  you’ve got be serious about improving your own approach. As the Americans themselves put it: “You’ve got to eat your own dog food!”

Which is exactly what the Baldridge folk themselves are doing, with the “New” Baldridge Award.

Here are some comments from the “Baldridge Blog” (my title, not theirs!)

“The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award came into being by act of Congress in 1987 at a time when the quality of many American products suffered by comparison to that of the Japanese. The criteria for the Award aligned with the teachings of great quality gurus like Deming and Juran. The goal was to improve quality so that American businesses would be more competitive.

Today, the Baldrige criteria address all of the elements that contribute to an organization’s success and sustainability, including quality, and are not limited to use by businesses. In fact, business accounted for just over 14% of this year’s Award applicants.

The name change precedes changes to the Baldrige criteria that the Baldrige program indicates will be available shortly. The 2011-2012 model should show significant improvements over the previous version, particularly in the customer focus area. Stay tuned for more details.”

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