The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA) is an award intended to raise awareness of quality management and formally recognize U.S. companies with successful quality management systems. Although the award is only given to companies based in the U.S., it is recognized internationally. The MBNQA is named after Malcolm Baldrige, who was the U.S. Secretary of Commerce during the Ronald Reagan administration from 1981 to 1987.
Breaking Down the Malcolm Baldrige Award
The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award was developed in the late 1980s by the Department of Commerce to facilitate competition among U.S. companies. The award is the highest level of recognition for performance excellence that a U.S. company can receive.
Up to 18 awards are given annually across six categories:
Recipients of the MBNQA must share information about their company performance and their practices with other companies, but they are not required to share proprietary information. The information is shared through two annual conferences:
Quest for Excellence Conference
Baldrige Fall Conference
Purpose of the Malcolm Baldrige Award
The main purposes of the Baldrige Award are to:
Raise awareness about the importance of performance excellence.
Recognize companies that show performance excellence and pass on this information to other organizations to tailor it for their own needs.
Motivate U.S. companies and organizations to improve their quality standards and strive for excellence.
Help companies and organizations embody the competitive spirit and drive the U.S. economy forward.
The Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence
Applicants for the Baldrige Award are judged by an independent board of examiners. The seven criteria for judging include:
Leadership: How the management team leads their organization and the community.
Strategy: How the company establishes and implements strategic decisions.
Customers: How the company builds and maintains relationships with its customers.
Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management: How efficiently the organization uses data to support processes and manage performance.
Workforce: The degree to which the company empowers and involves its workforce.
Operations: The design, management, and improvement of key processes.
Results: Examines the organization’s performance and improvement in key business areas such as customer satisfaction, finances, human resources, supplier and partner performance, governance, and social responsibility.
Benefits of Applying for the Malcolm Baldrige Award
Undoubtedly, an award is not needed to prove that a company is a good organization. However, there is significant value in applying for the Baldrige Award.
The Baldrige Award is considered “the best and most cost-effective and comprehensive business health audit you can receive.” Writing and submitting an application has helped companies improve their plans, key processes, and communication, and identify ideas for improvement. In addition, each applicant to the Baldrige Award receives a comprehensive feedback report that highlights their strengths and opportunities for improvement.
Past applicants or recipients of the Baldrige Award have seen improvements in: