Support for the Baldrige Framework

I was an early advocate for the Baldrige Framework for Performance Excellence.   The criteria introduced in 1987 and the first Award was issued in 1988.

Successful application of the criteria has shown that it produces significant, quantifiable, and measured return on investment.  “Those returns are measured in greater efficiency, less waste, more jobs created, increased customer and employee satisfaction, and economic growth. Studies in health care and education have demonstrated that Baldrige-based organizations significantly outperform their non-Baldrige peer organizations in virtually all critical measurements.”

A system determines the majority of results and Baldrige represents a systems approach to improvement.

1990.  Xerox was a Baldrige winner in 1989 and was invited to my agency – the U.S. Army Finance and Accounting Center (USAFAC) to educate us on the criteria.  The intent of the invite was to generate ideas to support our Total Quality Mangement (TQM) initiative.

  • The U.S. Army’s Installation Management Command adopted the criteria to support continuous improvement in installation management. Army installations are the equivalent of small towns.  The program is referred to as the Army Communities of Excellence.

The American Society for Quality provides administrative support for the program. I became an ASQ member in 1991, joined the Public Sector Network (PSN) and served as a regional counselor.  PSN became the Government Division and the Division supported the development of criteria for the Nonprofit (government) category.

1991-1999.   I served in USAFACs/DFAS TQM Office. My instructor notes for the agency’s TQM related courses provided the foundation for my book – Success Through Quality: Support Guide for the Journey to Continuous Improvement that was published by ASQ in 1999 that includes reference to the Baldrige criteria (pg. 64).

  • The first book review – Government Executive Magazine: “DoD accountant offers quality guide.”“It should come as little surprise that such a clear voice on quality calls out from the federal bureaucracy. Clark follows in the steps of W. Edwards Deming, the world-renowned quality theorist who helped the Japanese become a world-class industrial power in the second half of this century. Deming began his career as a physicist at the Agriculture Department.”

2001/2002.  USAFAC was reorganized and consolidated into the Defense Finance and Accounting Service in 1991. The agency chose to test an independent Baldrige assessment of current operations at one of the best performing locations.  The assessment scored under 250 points out of a 1,000 which is typical for a traditionally managed organization. The feedback from the assessment was highly valued by the site director but the agency director determined the agency was not ready to embrace the framework.

2011-2016.  As a guest columnist for FedSmith.com, I wrote several articles that supported the application of the Baldrige framework.  My last column on the topic was referenced in a Blogrige Post titled:  Would the Founding Fathers Have Embraced Baldrige?

2014-Present. I continue to promote the application of the criteria at the community level.

 

 

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Quality Defined in Context

In simple yet profound terms, variation represents the difference between an ideal and an actual situation.

An ideal represents a standard of perfection—the highest standard of excellence[1]—that is uniquely defined by stakeholders, including direct customers, internal customers, suppliers, society and shareholders.

Excellence is synonymous with quality, and excellent quality results from doing the right things, in the right way.

The fact that we can strive for an ideal but never achieve it means that stakeholders always experience some variation from the perfect situations they envision. This, however, also makes improvement and progress possible. Reducing the variation stakeholders experience is the key to quality and continuous improvement.

References

An ASQ LinkedIn discussion on the topic of the definition of quality

ASQ Glossary – Law of Variation — 2005 – 2018~.  Identifies the interrelationship between variation, perfection, quality, and excellence. What is the Law of Variation_ Managing Variation _ ASQ

ASQ Glossary Law of Variation – Updated  2018~ NEW What is Variation