And the Baldrige Winners Are…
President George W. Bush and Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez have announced that five organizations are the recipients of the 2007 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest presidential honor for organizational performance excellence. For the first time in the history of the Baldrige Award, nonprofit organizations have been selected.
The 2007 Baldrige Award recipients--listed with their category--are:
• PRO-TEC Coating Co., Leipsic, Ohio (small business)
• Mercy Health System, Janesville, Wisconsin (health care)
• Sharp HealthCare, San Diego, California (health care)
• City of Coral Springs, Florida (nonprofit)
• U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC), Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey (nonprofit)
“I am pleased to join President Bush in congratulating the five outstanding organizations that have been named to receive this year’s Baldrige Award,” says Secretary Gutierrez. “The organizations we recognize today have given us superb examples of innovation, excellence and world-class performance. They serve as role models for organizations of all kinds striving to improve effectiveness and increase value to their customers.”
With these new recipients, the program celebrates its 20th anniversary. Along with recognizing the achievements of the award recipients, a key measure of the Baldrige National Quality Program’s effect has been the widespread use of its Criteria for Performance Excellence, the guide designed to help organizations of all types improve their operations. Since 1987, about 10 million copies of the Baldrige criteria have been distributed. Downloads currently number about 1 million annually. Additionally, more than 40 U.S. states and more than 45 countries worldwide have implemented programs based on the Baldrige criteria.
The 2007 Baldrige Award recipients were selected from a field of 84 applicants. All of the applicants were evaluated rigorously by an independent board of examiners in seven areas: leadership; strategic planning; customer and market focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce focus; process management; and results. The evaluation process for the 2007 Baldrige Award recipients included about 1,000 hours of review and an on-site visit by teams of examiners to clarify questions and verify information in the applications.
The 2007 Baldrige Award recipients are expected to be presented with their awards in a ceremony in Washington, D.C., early next year.
For more information, visit http://baldrige.nist.gov.
Dear Mr. President
ASQ has begun a grass roots letter-writing campaign to encourage President George W. Bush to attend the next Baldrige Award ceremony and personally present the awards to the recipients. The date of the ceremony has not yet been set, but will be sometime this spring.
Keeping with tradition, President Bush presented the awards in 2000, 2001 and 2003. But for four out of the past five years, President Bush has asked Vice President Cheney to substitute for him at the presentation ceremony.
“The president’s participation in the ceremony adds to the luster of the Baldrige Award, whose recipients represent the best of America,” says ASQ President Mike Nichols.
ASQ is coordinating efforts among various groups and organizations to send this message to the White House.
For more information, visit the Advocacy Room at www.asq.org.
Do the Map!
We admit that last month’s puzzle was a little vague. The puzzle involved the instructions supplied by a science museum for finding the number of jelly beans contained in a pyramid on display at the museum. The problem for the instruction writers apparently stemmed from their notion that the pyramid was “half a pyramid.” That is, the length of one side was one-half the length of the other. Therefore, the writers said that the results of the formula for a pyramid’s volume (1/3 base area × height) had to be divided by two (because it’s half a pyramid, see).
We were looking for readers to point out that the formula for a pyramid is not dependant on the shape of the pyramid, nor how many sides it has, nor if the apex is centered. The formula for any pyramid, including a cone (a pyramid with an infinite number of sides) is always 1/3 base area × height.
Our apologies go out to James Starr for being the winner of this month’s prize, sure to be a doozy.
Under pressure from our salespeople to help them make money, we’ve changed this month’s “Do the Math!” to “Do the Map!” Each of the five pirate icons shown at the top of this column (around the “Do the Map!”) is embedded in pages throughout the magazine (sorry, you must have a copy of the magazine to play this month's game). Each symbol may be used more than once. Tell us which symbols appear on which pages and you may win a better-than-usual prize from our friends at woot.com.
Yes, this is a shameless attempt to make you look at every page in our buyers guide and subliminally entice you into buying our advertisers’ products. So?
Editorial by Carey Wilson
Bigger, Farther, Faster, Cleaner
Has the time of the 60-miles-per-gallon, biodiesel-fueled, turbine-powered hybrid Hummer arrived? Maybe so. In January 2007, the U.S. Supreme court ruled that carbon monoxide and other so-called greenhouse gases can be regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Air Act. In November, 2007, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a decision that makes writing tougher fuel economy regulations for sports utility vehicles, minivans, and pickup trucks a legal necessity. The decision was the result of a lawsuit brought by 11 states and two cities against the federal government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, because it has not applied stringent enough fuel-mileage regulation to SUVs, minivans, and pickups.
Meanwhile, in Wichita, Kansas, alternative energy expert Johnathan Goodwin of H-Line Conversions and fuel technician Larry Urry of SAE Energy Technologies are providing ample proof that automakers could be surpassing mileage and emission regulations while paradoxically smoking the tires of their full-sized, high-performance hybrid vehicles. Goodwin’s company, specializes in converting Hummers and other legendary gas-guzzlers to biodiesel powered behemoths that get nearly twice the mileage of their stock cousins and can run on the used deep-fryer oil from your local greasy spoon diner. The conversion with “performance upgrades and modifications” also nearly doubles the conversions’ horsepower.
Goodwin is also converting rock star Neil Young’s 1959 Lincoln Continental from a 10-mpg gas hog to a 100-mpg hybrid that will do 0-60 in six seconds.
For customers that can’t afford the five- or six-figure cost of his high-end custom conversions, H-Line offers a $5,000 conversion kit that will give diesel engines 50-percent higher mileage and produce 80-percent fewer emissions.
In the November issue of Fast Company magazine, Goodwin reveals that most of what goes into his conversions are stock General Motors Corp. parts that have been assembled in innovative new ways. “They could do all this stuff if they wanted to,” he says. “The technology has been there forever. They make 90 percent of the components I use.”
For more information, visit www.saeenergy.com.
Sustainable Building Construction Standard
ISO 21930:2007--”Sustainability in building construction--Environmental declaration of building products,” is a new standard describing the principles and framework for environmental declarations of building products from the International Organization for Standardization. The standard is “a tool for the building designers, manufacturers of building products, building users, building owners, and others active in the building and construction sector who are increasingly demanding information that enables them to address environmental impacts of buildings and other construction works,” says Jacques Lair, leader of the team of ISO experts that developed the standard.
The overall goal of environmental declarations in this sector is to encourage the demand for building products that cause less stress on the environment. Standard developers hope that communication of verifiable and accurate information on the environmental aspects of building products will stimulate the potential for market-driven, continual environmental improvement.
To learn more, visit www.iso.org.
Managing in a Flat World
A dearth of facts and unbiased analysis lead executives to make poor decisions when selecting new projects or assigning resources to existing ones,” says Rudolf Melik, author of the new book The Rise of the Project Workforce: Managing People and Projects in a Flat World (Wiley, 2007).
Melik’s book is divided into three sections designed to help project managers make the right decisions in a global business paradigm. In the “flat world” of the title, managers may find themselves managing a project that has participants in several different areas of business spread across more than one sociological or business culture.
“Project prioritization and selection--part of project workforce management--is the clear solution,” says Melik. “By using this methodology, you can organize and manage projects as a group or a portfolio at a business or departmental level. Project prioritization and selection requires involvement at all levels of the organization, including executives, the project management office, project managers, and other stakeholders. The information is collected, shared, and presented for analysis in a systematic and easy-to-use manner.”
The book stresses the idea that effective project workforce management depends on hard information to drive optimal decision making.
“The key message is let people [at the site where work is being done] enter the actual data,” says Melik. “For example, let project team members, staff, and administrative employees tell you how much time they have spent on various projects and tasks. Managers should get into a system and approve projects, budgets and scope changes online knowing full well that whatever they approve is being audited and can be reported on. When end-users and managers enter project data, you have reports on the real thing instead of manipulated spreadsheets created by assistants and managers who can ‘dress’ the data to suit their needs or perspectives.”
Melik also asserts that project workforce management makes people more accountable for future successes.
“You should establish a framework for continued process improvement so that lessons learned and metrics obtained can be used to improve future project selection, estimation, and ranking decisions,” he says.
For more information, visit www.projectworkforcebook.com.
10 Ways to Help Get It Done
Richard Lepsinger, president of OnPoint Consulting, and Gary Yukl offer the following 10 keys to starting an “execution revolution” at your company.
1. Recognize that execution starts with a plan. A solid plan can improve efficiency. The best plans are flexible starting points that can be easily changed to address new needs or challenges.
2. Ensure that plans are aligned and coordinated across the organization. Divisional leaders should identify the specific cost reduction targets within a division that support the achievement of the corporate objectives and initiatives while not inhibiting the ability of other departments to achieve their goals.
3. Clarify, clarify, clarify. Clearly communicating roles and responsibilities and checking for understanding is never a wasted effort.
4. Establish clear expectations. The only way to improve the way you’re doing things is to set clear, measurable goals and constantly monitor your success in those areas.
5. Monitor, but don’t micromanage your entrepreneurial-minded employees. Recognize effective behavior, involve your employees in developing meaningful measures of performance, and get their feedback.
6. Encourage employees to openly share bad news. Express appreciation for accurate information, no matter how negative it may be. Respond quickly to the problem with specific actions to deal with it. Help your employees learn from mistakes by dealing with them collectively rather than singling anyone out.
7. Balance careful analysis of a problem and decisive action to solve it. Effective leaders move quickly to deal with a threat or problem. To facilitate a rapid, effective response, top performers anticipate potential problems and disruptions and develop contingency plans in advance that will minimize the effect of the problem.
8. Make decisions as close to the action as possible. Ensure that decisions are being made where the best information is, in order to increase speed and quality of responsiveness. Involvement at the early stage ensures that critical information surfaces in a timely manner and enhances people’s ownership of the ultimate outcome.
9. Facilitate informal and spontaneous interaction among employees. More and more frequently organizations have employees who are working all over the place, and these global organizations use communications technology to provide proximity and access to a dispersed group of people.
10. Use your performance management system to align business goals across levels and work units. When used effectively, performance management provides early warning of when things are off course and allows time to get back on track.
Lepsinger and Yukl are authors of Flexible Leadership: Creating Value by Balancing Multiple Challenges and Choices (Jossey-Bass/A Wiley Imprint, Hoboken, 2004).
For more information, visit www.onpointconsultingllc.com.
Breathing Easier with Six Sigma
In an effort to increase the efficiency of patient care and hospital processes, the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) conducted a study to show that performance improvement practices such as Six Sigma might help hospitals decrease in-patient mortality, length of hospital stay, and health care costs. The study was prompted by findings that Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) guidelines were not being consistently followed.
“By implementing Six Sigma practices, we showed that a quality improvement project can lead to benefits, not only to the patients in decreased mortality, but also to physicians and nurses by making it easier for them to provide the best, evidence-based, guideline-directed care possible, and to the hospital itself with decreased lengths of stay and decreased costs,” says study author, Karen Gamerdinger of Mercy Medical Center, in Des Moines, Iowa.
In a retrospective study, Gamerdinger and colleagues from Mercy Medical Center evaluated the outcomes of a Six Sigma performance improvement project focused on compliance with JCAHO core measures for community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) to ensure that each measure of care was met.
Researchers applied Six Sigma tools such as process flow, cause-and-effect matrixes and outcomes analysis. The hospital also put people in key positions to implement the methodology and provided timely feedback to caregivers.
Then, researchers collected and analyzed data related to core measures, length of stay, and mortality in 1,550 CAP patients admitted to the hospital during the study period.
Following implementation of the Six Sigma program, compliance scores for each JCAHO core measure improved from 70 percent to greater than 90 percent. CAP order usage improved from 40 percent to 73 percent, an 82.5-percent increase, with a statistically significant reduction in mean length of stay from 5.9 days to 5.1 days, a 13.56-percent reduction. The decreased length of stay was associated with greater than $300,000 in cost savings. In addition, in-hospital mortality rates decreased from 6.7 percent in 2003 to 3.5 percent in 2006, a 47.8-percent reduction.
“It is important for hospitals and health care professionals to evaluate how departmental and systemwide processes affect patient care outcomes in order to identify and address gaps in patient care,” says Alvin V. Thomas, Jr., president of the American College of Chest Physicians. “Improvements in these processes may, ultimately, improve how patient care is delivered.”
For more information, visit http://meeting.chestjournal.org/cgi/content/abstract/132/4/447 .