The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA) Basic Information And Tutorials


The criteria for the MBNQA asks companies to describe how new products are designed, and to describe how production processes are designed, implemented, and improved. Regarding design processes, the criteria further asks “how design and production processes are coordinated to ensure trouble-free introduction and delivery of products.”

The winners of the MBNQA and other world-class companies have very specific processes for product design and product production. Most have an integrated product and process design process that requires early estimates of manufacturability. Following the Six Sigma methodology will enable design teams to estimate the quantitative measure of manufacturability.

What is the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award?
Congress established the award program in 1987 to recognize U.S. companies for their achievements in quality and business performance and to raise awareness about the importance of quality and performance excellence as a competitive edge. The award is not given for specific products or services.

Two awards may be given annually in each of three categories: manufacturing, service, and small business. While the Baldrige Award and the Baldrige winners are the very visible centerpiece of the U.S. quality movement, a broader national quality program has evolved around the award and its criteria. A report,

Building on Baldrige: American Quality for the 21st Century, by the private Council on Competitiveness, states, “More than any other program, the Baldrige Quality Award is responsible for making quality a national priority and disseminating best practices across the United States.”

The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) manages the award in close cooperation with the private sector.


How does the Baldrige Award differ from ISO 9000?
The purpose, content, and focus of the Baldrige Award and ISO 9000 are very different. Congress created the Baldrige Award in 1987 to enhance U.S. competitiveness. The award program promotes quality awareness, recognizes quality achievements of U.S. companies, and provides a vehicle for sharing successful strategies.

The Baldrige Award criteria focus on results and continuous improvement. They provide a framework for designing, implementing, and assessing a process for managing all business operations. ISO 9000 is a series of five international standards published in 1987 by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Geneva, Switzerland. Companies can use the standards to help determine what is needed to maintain an efficient quality conformance system.

For example, the standards describe the need for an effective quality system, for ensuring that measuring and testing equipment is calibrated regularly, and for maintaining an adequate record-keeping system. ISO 9000 registration determines whether a company complies with its own quality system. Overall, ISO 9000 registration covers less than 10 percent of the Baldrige Award criteria.

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