So, what exactly is the Baldrige journey?
The award originated from the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Improvement Act, signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987. The Act called for the creation of a national quality award and the development of guidelines and criteria that organizations could use to evaluate their quality improvement efforts. Over the years, the Baldrige Award has become the most important and outstanding way to measure a company or organization’s commitment to quality and process.
The pursuit of quality is an ongoing process and when pursuing the rigorous Baldrige criteria, the journey never quite ends. Here’s a snapshot of our trip so far.
First, we put together a 60-page application that’s reviewed by a team of outside examiners. Next, the Baldrige team analyzes the systems and processes outlined by Businessolver in response to questions around the Baldrige Framework during the application process, validating the details on each piece of criteria using ADLI:
Approach: the methods used to accomplish the process
Deployment: how our approach is applied in addressing item requirements relevant and important to our organization, including how our approach is applied consistently and executed by all appropriate work units
Learning: refining our approach through cycles of evaluation and improvement
Integration: the extent to which our approach is aligned with our overall organizational needs
Then the real roll-up-your-sleeves work begins with a three-day onsite visit by the examination team! While onsite, examiners evaluate the application against real life by attending meetings, observing our employees in action, and comparing answers to the actual processes outlined in the application. If you think about this, it’s quite difficult to ensure and maintain quality, consistency, and approach throughout different teams all the way down to the individual level, so this step is really vital to understanding how the rubber hits the road.
After the visit, we receive a feedback report that outlines what we are doing well and opportunities for improvement. Using this feedback report as a starting point, we continue our journey, making the improvements for our next year’s application!
Our 2016 application, the first step into our Baldrige journey, resulted in a Tier 3 level recognition. In 2017, to prepare for our application, we made key changes within our organization, increasing our use of checklists, documentation, and QA processes as well as hosting internal quality competitions. With these changes, we were able to raise the bar and achieve Bronze Level Recognition! This recognition demonstrates how we’ve effectively progressed in meeting the Baldrige Framework standards.
Why We Do It
Our industry doesn’t have a governing body, which means there’s nothing consistent to measure our own quality performance, or that of our competitors, against. We believe the Baldrige language and standards provide the roadmap for continuous organizational improvement. Plus, it gives us an opportunity to receive feedback from agnostic resources to help us further understand:
Overall, the process focuses our thinking and behavior around performance excellence to manage for success and sustainability. The Baldrige framework offers the ability to create rigor around systems and processes to deliver with reliability, repeatability, scalability and profitability. This framework is at the core of our company mission — grow our business, delight our clients.
We take quality seriously and want to keep pushing the benchmark higher for our business and our industry. With a toolkit of consistent processes, clear communication, and most importantly, our mantra of, “we’re in this together,” we can keep moving forward on our never-ending journey towards quality excellence.
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