Two small businesses, a city government and two healthcare organizations have all received the 2017 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, which recognizes exceptional work in process improvement and customer service.
The annual award is given by the U.S. Department of Commerce. It recognizes organizations for excelling in innovation, thought leadership and administrative process improvement. The idea is to recognize achievement and give businesses across the country an example to emulate.
The two small businesses which won an award are Bristol Tennessee Essential Services of Bristol, Tenn., and Stellar Solutions of Palo Alto, Calif. The city of Fort Collins, Colo., also was awarded. The two healthcare companies are Castle Medical Center in Kailua, Hawaii, and the Southcentral Foundation of Anchorage, Alaska.
“This program is about much more than recognizing successful organizations or winning a single award,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, who announced the awards, said in a news release. “The organizations which are given the Baldrige Award embody the competitive spirit which drives the American economy forward.”
Process improvement and customer service are key for all the award winners. Both also are central goals for Six Sigma.
Criteria For the Award
Organizations can compete for the award in six categories: manufacturing, service, small business, healthcare, education and nonprofit. The latter category also includes government agencies.
Applicants for the award go through a tough process. Each applicant is judged by a panel of experts from the private sector. The process is overseen by the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Each is judged by the standards of the Baldrige Excellence Framework. Those standards fall into the following categories.
- Analysis and knowledge management
It’s a competitive award. To win, candidates must demonstrate they have excelled in the above areas.
The Baldrige Award winners this year came from a variety of sectors in the U.S. economy. They are the “best of the best” in U.S. business, according to the NIST.
Bristol Tennessee Essential Services – This company provides the fastest internet service in the country, working for customers in eastern Tennessee. With only 68 employees, the company has received near-100% satisfaction awards from customers for many of their services and products. They have reliability ratings that are two times that of the industry average.
Stellar Solutions – In Palo Alto, this woman-owned company provides aerospace engineering services. They focus on customer satisfaction and growing employees’ careers. They have seen revenue and profits grow each year. Customer satisfaction is so high that 100% of clients say they would recommend Stellar Solution to others.
City of Fort Collins – Local government is not generally an area where customers report high satisfaction. That’s not the case in Fort Collins. The city has used ideas from the Baldrige Performance Excellence Process to greatly improve services. City leaders decreased energy use by 12% even as the population grew 7%. The city also ranks high on lists of best places to live and work, as well as quality of cultural attractions, recreation, attractiveness and air and water quality.
Southcentral Foundation and Castle Medical Center – Both of these healthcare organizations operate in unique places. The Southcentral Foundation is in Alaska, while Castle Medical Center is located on the island of Oahu. Despite unique geographies and patient communities, both rank in the top 10% nationally for patient outcomes and quality services. Both have also grown revenues while controlling costs by leveraging ideas from the Baldrige process.
These organizations offer notable examples of how process improvement is possible no matter what the industry or the location. As Robert Fangmeyer, director of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, said in the news release:
“This year’s honorees demonstrate clearly that organizations of all kinds can achieve sustainable high performance.”