Commerce Secretary Malcolm “Mac” Baldrige and President Ronald Reagan return to the White House after horseback riding in June 1981. Shortly after Baldrige was killed in a rodeo accident, President Reagan honored his friend and colleague on Aug. 20, 1987, by signing the bill that established the Baldrige National Quality Award. Courtesy/The Baldrige Family
Not many 25-year-olds can boast that in their short lifetime they have helped thousands of organizations develop and maintain world-class operations, innovative management, efficient procedures, involved workforces and highly satisfied customers.
But one certainly can: the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, the nation’s premier means for organizations of all types to seek, achieve and maintain performance excellence.
On Aug. 20, 1987, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Improvement Act, establishing the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and its supporting program “to spark U.S. competitiveness and create a sustainable economy.”
Named after Malcolm Baldrige, the 26th Secretary of Commerce, the Baldrige Award and the Baldrige Program have guided organizations worldwide on their journeys toward continuous improvement and enhanced performance through the seven Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence:
- strategic planning;
- customer focus;
- measurement, analysis and knowledge management;
- workforce focus;
- operations focus; and
- The Baldrige Program is managed by the 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.
Local businesses that have achieved the Baldrige Performance Excellence Award include Los Alamos National Bank.
To celebrate its silver anniversary, the Baldrige Program has created a special Web page, “Honoring Our Past … Building an Even Better Future” (www.nist.gov/baldrige/25th/index.cfm), that provides numerous links.For more information, go to www.nist.gov/baldrige.