Sunday, September 25, 2011

Baldrige Blues

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science recently voted not to fund the Baldrige Program for fiscal year 2012. Everyone agrees that the U.S. Government must drastically cut its spending to reduce our national debt. However, not all spending is the same; not all dollar-for-dollar cuts are equal. The Baldrige Program costs just $10M per year; its return on investment is estimated at $25B in benefits to the U.S. economy. I agree with Paul Borawski that model programs such as Baldrige ought to be "showcased not eliminated."

The Baldrige Program is a proven systemic management framework helping organizations achieve performance excellence. Senior leaders use the Baldrige Criteria to build and sustain an organization focused on continual performance improvement, accomplishment of strategic objectives, innovation, and organizational agility. In today's world of a recessionary global economy, low growth and a highly erratic stock market many organizations lack the confidence to hire for growth. Spending is again significantly curtailed in order to preserve cash, similar to what we experienced in 2009 when Cash was King.

What is needed now is a roadmap to growth and profitability; a framework that is the Baldrige Program. Given today's economic environment, businesses need to remember the key teachings of the Deming Chain Cycle: do not pursue cost reduction for cost savings sake; rather, focus on delivering customer value through quality and productivity improvement. Institutionalize constancy of purpose and view quality as a competitive strategy. Customer-focused quality improvement will result in less waste and scrap, improved productivity, lower costs, increased customer satisfaction, more market share, more growth... and more jobs.

I encourage everyone to contact your elected government officials to save - and expand - the Baldrige Program.

1 comment:

  1. It's sad to know that Baldrige got budget cut. It might be OK for large business enterprises but not OK for SMEs who need lots of support to improve their quality and productivity.