Nicolette Dalpino’s default image

By Nicolette Dalpino


2008 Baldrige National Quality Award Winners

The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and President Bush recently announced the recipients of the 2008 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest honor for organizational innovation and performance excellence. The winners are:

• Cargill Corn Milling North America, Wayzata, Minnesota, (Manufacturing)

• Poudre Valley Health System, Fort Collins, Colorado, (Health care)

Dirk Dusharme @ Quality Digest’s picture

By Dirk Dusharme @ Quality Digest

This, I swear, is a true story... mostly.

We own a washer and dryer combo unit made by a large home appliance manufacturer--let’s call them “Maytag.” The washer and dryer are in the company’s Neptune series. We’ve had them for about seven years and they’ve worked flawlessly, until recently.

About four months ago the washer started making an awful squealing noise when it went into the spin cycle. No problem, I thought. We have an extended warranty. I’ll just call the friendly Maytag repairman.

Instead of Gordon Jump, I got a customer service representative whose sole job, apparently, is to make sure that Maytag does not send out a repairperson. After I described the problem, she told me flat-out that they don’t make service calls based on a noise.

“But it’s a really loud noise,” I explained. “When this thing starts to squeal the dogs start howling, the cats hide, and even the fire department called to complain that no one could hear their sirens. It’s really loud.”

“I’m sorry sir,” she repeated. “It’s not our policy to send a repairperson out based on just a noise.”

“Sooo… what? I have to wait for smoke, flames, water on the floor, the drum to come spinning out onto the floor like some crazy oversize dreidel?”