Whether you’re ready to write your application for the Baldrige Award, or you’re just dabbling in the criteria, creating an organizational profile of your company is the place to begin. It’s like a summary of sorts, and can help you identify your performance gaps at an early stage. If your Baldrige application can be compared to a thesis, your organizational profile is the introduction.
If you’re scratching your head still and asking, “So, where do I start?” like those folks in the Cars.com commercials that inevitably chase a line across the floor to a dealership, you might need someone to point you in the right direction. You’ve come to the right place.
Start at the top. What does your company offer? Hopefully, that’s an easy one to answer. Why is what you’re selling important? If nobody needs or wants it, nobody will buy it. How do you deliver? Obviously, a hospital would answer those questions very differently than a large retail store, so clarity and detail are important. What are your mission and vision for the company? Usually these answers will revolve around the core competencies of your company, or its strengths and areas of greatest expertise. These strengths are what set you apart from your competitors, and are how you fulfill your mission and vision. They should be unique to you and not a regurgitation of what your competitors’ say; this is not a place where imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Well, it might be, but a copycat vision certainly won’t get you anywhere; it must be your own, and it must be what drives you. Remember, you’ll use these answers as the foundation for the rest of your Baldrige application.
Moving on, how and where does the work get done? Does your company have multiple facilities? Often large manufacturing organizations will split up the workload between multiple factories, or hospitals split their specialty offices into separate buildings. Are there other factors involved, such as shipping? Your workforce is incredibly important; how do you motivate them to engage in achieving your mission and vision? Do you abide by certain health and safety regulations, as related to your industry? (Hopefully this one is a resounding ‘yes!’) Do you incorporate an internal training program for employees? Do you rely on volunteers as part of your workforce? Hopefully, these questions are not all that challenging to answer.
Once you’ve sculpted the organizational environment for your company, laying out the organizational structure, customer and stakeholder expectations, and supplier and partner roles should be a walk in the park. Who runs the place? How do those leaders determine what makes their customers happy, and how do they glean the data to make those determinations? Same goes for the stakeholders, who are essentially customers as well but a different variety – what are their key requirements and expectations? The roles that your suppliers and partners play need to be defined, including how they fit into the production and delivery of your goods.
Remember, the organizational profile is the snapshot of your company that sets the stage for your application, but it can also be a great starting point if you’re just getting your feet wet with Baldrige. The criteria ask more questions than I did here, but they cover the same points. In essence, it asks, “How does your company operate, and what are the key challenges it faces?” If you can’t answer those questions, you may need more help than this article can provide. Give us a call; we’d love to hear from you.
For examples of successful Baldrige applications, click here.
For more information about Juran Institute, click here.
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