Baldrige Business Excellence Framework

- a business model for integrated systems management

How to Improve the Baldrige Framework

Suppliers and partners are not second class stakeholders. Give them equal status with other major stakeholders (e.g., workforce, customers) by adding a dedicated Suppliers and Partners Focus Category and corresponding results item. Doing this will establish applicant accountability to addressing these stakeholders. The winnersí application summaries (especially healthcare) make a compelling argument that to win the Baldrige Award it is no longer necessary to meaningfully address supplier and partner organizations.

Baldrige Faux Excellence Framework Baldrige has apparently never understood the importance of supply chain management. Baldrige stunned the business community in 2001 by deleting all Process and Results Criteria Items dedicated to suppliers. This led to the December 2001 Quality Digest Magazine cover titled: "Is the Baldrige Award Still About Quality". The feature story was written by Richard J. Schonberger a world-acclaimed author and expert in the field of Lean - Six Sigma and World-Class Manufacturing. He cites several flaws in the Criteria including the removal of the Items dedicated to suppliers. Dr. Schonberger's position accurately reflected the sentiment throughout the business community that sustained the already declining award participation rate of the business community. Today, a consensus is growing in other sectors including education and health care that it is important for the Criteria to accountably address the supplier and partner organizations that represent on the order of 50% of their total expenditures. These costs often take the form of management, design, HR, maintenance, contract workforce, IT, customer support, and operational functions.

Action: Baldrige may want to check out the European Model to gain a better perspective of the importance of suppliers and partners to achieving organizational excellence.


MISSION: Accelerating organizational improvement beyond the capabilities of all the Business Excellence approaches combined. Paul Steel

2011 Baldrige Framework

Baldrige Framework - Business Nonprofit

Criteria Structure

The seven Criteria Categories shown in the figure above are subdivided into Items and Areas to Address.


There are 17 Criteria Items in the 7 Framework Categories, each focusing on a major requirement. See Item Format for a graphic describing the Item format and its requirements.

Areas to Address:

Items consist of one or more Areas to Address (Areas). Organizations should address their responses to the specific requirements of these Areas.


Baldrige Health Care Criteria Framework

A Systems Perspective

Baldrige Health Care Framework

See the Baldrige Framework Model - from the perspective of its systems and core processes



Has the Baldrige Award gone out of Business?

There have been no Baldrige business applicants since 2012 as shown below!
and Criteria degradation and application process impracticality are two of the primary causes

Baldrige Program Failure 2022


To put this in perspective, not one of the 20 million for-profit businesses in the United States applied for the Baldrige Award since 2012.


Even worse, the number of applicants for health care education have been trending to ZERO

Source: NIST Baldrige Website

Baldrige improvement accelerated and made practical with tools and resources from the most experienced source

Baldrige Framework