"This award is unique in that it honors the collective effort of an entire organization that has systematically strived to achieve excellence in all aspects of its work. Today's honorees demonstrate how teamwork and a shared vision can lead not only to organizational success but also to nationwide advancements in innovation and economic competitiveness," Locke said.
The winners were picked from 83 applicants, all of whom were evaluated by an independent board of examiners in seven areas: leadership; strategic planning; customer focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce focus; process management; and results. The evaluations for each recipient included about 1,000 hours of review and an on-site visit by examiners to clarify questions and verify information in the applications.
The award is named after Malcolm Baldrige, the 26th Secretary of Commerce, and was established by Congress in 1987 to foster competitiveness and performance of U.S. businesses. Originally, three types of organizations were eligible: manufacturers, service companies and small businesses. Congress expanded the program in 1999 to include education and healthcare, and again in 2007 to include nonprofit organizations. Since 1988, 86 organizations have won Baldrige Awards.
The Baldrige Performance Excellence Program is managed by the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology in conjunction with the private sector.
St. Joseph's Heartland Health of St. Joseph, MO won the 2009 Baldrige award, in part because of process improvement implementation techniques that helped it reduce waste, costs, and errors.
MEDRAD, a medical device maker, also won the Baldrige Award for manufacturing in 2003.