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The Baldrige National Quality Program (BNQP) Marks Fifteenth Anniversary

New York, Sep 05, 2002

Signed into law fifteen years ago, the "Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Improvement Act of 1987" set into motion a program that many credit with making quality a national priority and helping to revitalize the U.S. economy during the 1990s. The Baldrige National Quality Program (BNQP) is a public-private partnership designed to improve the performance of U.S. organizations, and develops and disseminates the Criteria for Performance Excellence, which are the basis for self-assessments and for evaluating organizations for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

Presented annually by the President of the United States, the Baldrige Award is considered America's highest honor for performance excellence and is given to U.S organizations that have exemplary achievements in seven areas: leadership, strategic planning, customer and market focus, information and analysis, human resource focus, process management, and business results. The Award eligibility categories include manufacturing, service, small business, education and health care, and up to three Awards may be given in each category each year.

Organizations currently working toward performance excellence using the Baldrige Criteria or another performance management approach may be ready to apply for the Baldrige Award or for a state or local quality award. All applicants for the Baldrige Award undergo a rigorous examination process that ranges from 300 to 1,000 hours of outside review by an independent board of examiners primarily from the private sector. Each applicant receives a report citing strengths and opportunities for improvement. Since 1988, 46 organizations have received the Baldrige Award.

While it is most widely known for the Award, BNQP also provides global leadership in promoting performance excellence and in the learning and sharing of successful performance practices, principles and strategies. The Baldrige program is managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Technology Administration, in conjunction with the private sector.

Award application forms will be available January 2, 2003 and applications are due May 29, 2003. For further information on the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award or the NIST Baldrige National Quality Program, visit the Baldrige website. To request materials, contact the Baldrige program at 301-975-2360 or

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