Sunday, February 16, 2020



Build a World-Class Management System

One proven way you can differentiate your organization from the competition is by making its management system better than anyone else’s. And the best way to do that is by integrating the Baldrige model.

Organizations that integrate Baldrige see improvements in key results across the board. To see a sampling of those results, click here. They build world-class, sustainable organizations. And their approach is available to you and your organization.

That approach is to evaluate your management system using the Baldrige Criteria. The evaluation can be an internal self-assessment or an application for a local, state, or national award. I describe the evaluation options here.

If you are interested in a Baldrige evaluation, contact me to discuss those options for your organization. Between the experts at Juran, we’ve researched and written dozens of Baldrige assessments, including the applications of many Baldrige Award winners and state award winners, in addition to having two past Examiners on the team. We can help you determine the best way to integrate Baldrige at your organization.

For some, that process begins with Baldrige training. Juran offers training for senior leadership teams, managers, and employees on the Baldrige Criteria, the assessment process, and how to integrate Baldrige at all levels of an…

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Henry Ford Health System’s Baldrige Journey

“Use the Baldrige process to drive integration and improvement across the organization.” That’s the objective that the CEO of Henry Ford Health Systems has in mind. On Friday, I had the pleasure of attending the Connecticut Quality Symposium, presented by the CT Center for Advanced Technology. Ms. Lucy Young, Director of Performance Excellence & System Initiatives at HFHS was the keynote, and she reflected on the strategic choices that the hospital made to become a better place. Back in 2007 when HFHS initially applied for Baldrige, they not intend to win, but rather utilize the criteria as a framework for performance excellence. However, that same year, they also applied for the Michigan Quality Leadership Award and did win.  This unexpected accomplishment spurred their Baldrige ambitions, and guided them through the next (rather challenging) few years.

HFHS’s development of their vision statement alone was substantial, as the CEO and leadership teams had decided that the significance of this statement was huge and could make or break their future in Detroit. “Transforming lives and communities through health and wellness – one person at a time,” encapsulates the entire message the HFHS team was trying to get across. Each patient comes first, and the customer is always priority #1. Starting their Baldrige initiative with this mindset certainly didn’t hurt their chances at success.

It wasn’t long before HFHS realized they did not have a single leadership team in place to orchestrate the Baldrige transition, so in June of 2010 a system performance council was developed. The council provides clear direction to all business units, therefore streamlining the way information and direction is traveling down from the top. They are also responsible for policy changes and decision-making related to quality, especially what falls within the…

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Where to Focus and Why

Improved percentages, excellence-awards, and dollar signs–they’re the things our eyes scan, and ears listen for, to absorb results. They’re associated with ideas that imply value. But should businesses be applying more time and thought to the steps that come before results are achieved? Although product, customer, financial, workforce, process, and leadership-focused outcomes are the areas that are often consumed by Baldrige Reviewers (to determine the quality of a company or organization) there are other factors that round the force of quality, too. Recent studies and events suggest these are, perhaps, being overlooked.

Valuing Workforce Members, Organizational/Personal Learning and Visionary Leadership are some “core values” that the Baldrige Award operates by when reviewing its applicants, but do not frequently take the spotlight as winner-determinants. (In the past, almost 50% of the awarded points to recipients were recognized for outstanding outcomes among “Results”––one of the seven evaluated criteria-categories). Kare Anderson (Emmy-winning journalist for NBC and the Wall Street Journal) recently published information from a study conducted that offers insight to the success businesses leaders can have when dedicating attention to all elements of a project-plan, and not just the obvious: results. Her Harvard Business Review article suggests that when more value is placed on all aspects of project-production, leaders and employees have a stronger understanding of the business, and its goals.

“Because attention is so closely connected to our brain’s basic wiring, it can be difficult to recognize our own patterns of giving attention,” she wrote. And, to the leaders: “what you pay attention to not only controls your own brain, but sets the example for your team.” The way people distribute…

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Customer Significance in Product Development

The customer is potentially the most important element of a successful business equation.  The Baldrige Criteria asks organizations how they engage their customers, how they communicate with them, and how they attract an ever-growing audience of captivated, satisfied customers.  A recent blog post on the Harvard Business Review (HBR) by authors Donald Reinertsen and Stefan Thomke entitled, “Customers Don’t Want More Features” touches on these points that are worth reiterating.

Reinertsen and Thomke explain a common myth about product development that revolves around more features being added into a particular product directly relating with customer satisfaction.  The thought is that customers will always choose the product that has more options, add-ons, features, extras, and doodads, due to the assumption of those features “adding value.”  On the contrary, simplified and “base model” products are perceived as being less valuable.  The HBR authors make an excellent point, “This attitude explains why products are so complicated: Remote controls seem impossible to use, computers take hours to set up, cars have so many switches and knobs that they resemble airplane cockpits, and even the humble toaster now comes with a manual and LCD displays.”

Rather than buying into this traditional approach of product development and adding more feature layers with every new model, innovative companies start with defining the problem. By developing a clear understanding of what the goals are, innovation can begin at the first step.  The HBR article uses the example of Walt Disney and Disneyland; rather than cramming the park full of rides and restaurants to make it a more feature-packed version of existing amusement…

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Acknowledging Innovative Excellence – Sharp HealthCare

The status of past Baldrige Award recipients can help guide our attention to where health care should be and what can be done to keep patient satisfaction an active practice. While constantly factoring in the core concerns of their patients, it is no wonder why Sharp Healthcare is globally recognized for their superior programs. Although the provider based in San Diego is the largest source for health care in their region, it is the level of commitment to their patients’ needs that landed them in the position to receive the 2007 Baldrige Award. But what exactly does it mean to respond to “the current levels and trends in key measure indicators of product and process performance that are important and directly serve your customers,” that qualifies health care providers for this award, according to section 7.1 of the Baldrige criteria? Sharp Healthcare generated positive answers, and when continuing to look at “how the results compared with the performance of [their] competitors” their programs appear to be a model for prioritizing patients’ needs. Their current efforts in fighting cardiovascular disease exemplify their commitment to their recognized efforts.

Sharp Healthcare’s goal is to help patients avoid high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease­­––cardiovascular complications. While these diseases are highly preventable and treatable when detected early, it is no wonder why cardiovascular disease is such a major problem; recognizing the red flags for cardiovascular disease red flags is the difficulty that many doctors and patients face. Often times, when signs of risk for cardiovascular diseases are identified by a health care provider, the patient is already experiencing detrimental health conditions. This may help explain how cardiovascular disease became the leading cause…

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Work System Implementation – Cargill, Inc.

Work system implementation is a significant topic that is covered in the Baldrige Criteria. In section 6.1, this question is presented, “How do you manage and improve your work systems to deliver customer value and achieve organizational success and sustainability?” As a recipient of the 2008 Baldrige award, Cargill Corn Milling (CCM), does an excellent job of demonstrating their ability to answer this question.

Cargill Corn Milling was originally a small corn milling company that began with a single grain storage warehouse, producing a mere 10,000 bushels of corn each day. Today, they produce up to 1 million bushels of corn each day that is no longer traded but instead is processed into ethanol, fructose, and renewable plastics, evolved from trading soybeans to processing them into meal and oil, and have acquired an industrial European chocolatier.

The customer demand for high quality cocoa powder is rising. In order to increase productivity, Cargill had to go through what is called a process breakthrough. The purpose of this breakthrough is change, beneficial change. The strategy Cargill undertook to bring beneficial change was to upgrade to a new Center of Expertise facility in the Netherlands, with a goal improving customer value and achieving organizational success and sustainability. “This investment is another demonstration of Cargill’s commitment to providing our customers with a broader and more bespoke service to meet their individual needs,” said Jos de Loor, managing director, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate. “This new world-class facility, along with our existing network and our food ingredient expertise will support our cocoa and chocolate growth strategy.” This $82 million investment will increase the cocoa powder production in order to meet ever-increasing customer demands, specifically for a diverse variety of flavors, colors,…

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Acknowledging Innovative Excellence – Henry Ford Health System

Workforce performance is critical for 2011 Baldrige Award recipient, Henry Ford Health System. Encompassed by their professional work ethics, they do a superb job of answering the Baldrige Criteria question in section 5.2, “How does your workforce performance management system support high-performance work and workforce engagement?” Henry Ford Health System’s work improves daily with technology advancing throughout the healthcare industry. Doctors use this new technology to treat diseases like prostate cancer more efficiently. Studies are then practiced to show how effective these new innovations can be.

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in U.S. men. Robot assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP) is a new procedure that has been pioneered by the Henry Ford Health System in order to minimize the risks associated with what was typically such an invasive surgery. HFHS executed the first ever RARP and was globally recognized for their achievement. With the robots’ help, doctors can now make tiny incisions using minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. Before this, doctors were making long incisions into the lower abdomen to remove the prostate gland utilizing a procedure called open radical prostatectomy (ORP).

HFHS scientists performed a nationwide population sample in which RARP’s success rates were compared to traditional prostate removal surgical methodologies. 19,278 patients were tested at 647 medical institutions. 11,889 patients were treated with RARP and 7,389 patients were treated with ORP. RARP patients were less likely to have a blood transfusion, less likely for a…

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Acknowledging Innovative Excellence – Premier, Inc.

Complexity is a fact of organizational life. To succeed in today’s global, competitive, uncertain environment, organizations must accept complexity. The Baldrige Criteria are complex because attaining organizational sustainability in a global economy is not simple.

Premier, Inc. is a healthcare strategic alliance entirely owned by not-for-profit hospitals and health system organizations that operate both hospitals and other kinds of care services. Premier is the second largest of the few nationwide alliances serving not-for-profits. In 2011, they saved $4.2+ billion by improving processes and efficiencies in their care delivery system, which is the equivalent to the average annual salary of 70,015 nurse practitioners.

Premier has no problem answering the Baldrige Criteria questions in section 1.2, ‘How does your organization promote and ensure ethical behavior in all interactions?’ and, ‘How do you contribute to the well-being of your environmental, social, and economic systems?’ Premier operates its corporate headquarters in a LEED certified building; and last year it recycled nearly 150,000 pounds of paper on top of two tons of computers and electronic equipment. The organization also advocates on behalf of its members for healthcare policies that address safe and less toxic practices, including the need for Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) labeling of products and more oversight of industrial chemicals with increased disclosure and promotion of safer alternatives.

Premier uses a green leaf icon to tag “environmentally preferable contracts” from contracted suppliers in its electronic catalog for members, Supply Chain Advisor. These contracts have products…

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The Quality Professional

Dr. Joseph M. Juran

Until the twentieth century, few “knowledge workers” existed in the field of managing for quality. Such workers (today often called “quality professionals”) carry out planning and analysis related to quality policy formation, goal setting, organization, performance measurement, incentives, and the like. The last century witnessed remarkable growth in the numbers of such quality professionals, beginning during the years of World War II when the War Production Board sponsored numerous (free) sources in statistical quality control (SQC). Companies that wished to apply SQC to their operations then found it necessary to create a new job category of “quality engineer” (or similar title) as a prerequisite for applying the statistical tools.

Eventually the American Society for Quality (ASQ) formalized the professional status of quality engineers by offering certificates to those who successfully passed a written examination. Such certificates then proliferated to other categories of professionals – reliability engineers, quality auditors, and still others.

During the twentieth century there also emerged the concept of “Big Q”the idea that managing for quality extends beyond the factory; it applies also to offices and warehouses. The Big Q concept also was extended to include such broad matters as customer satisfaction, and the economics of quality. Adopting the Big Q concept broadened the scope of the quality professionals’ responsibilities.

The widespread adoption of the ISO series of standards spawned…

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Systematic Innovation

This article is the third and final in an on-going series about innovation, by Juran Institute President and CEO, Joseph A. DeFeo.

Innovators are not always born with exorbitant talent. If you have your heart set on being the next Thomas Edison, you are probably going a bit too far. Whatever your innovation quotient is now, you can make it better with practice and by using a methodology that causes innovation to happen.

For instance, how many times do we hear, “Think outside the box”? That’s all well and good, but what box? Few of us recognize that the box is in fact ourselves. Learning to temporarily let go, be foolish for a moment, and be comfortable with ambiguity is necessary for innovation. Getting beyond our “boxed” selves is a skill that can be learned and improved with technique, practice, and courage. For example, imaging oneself as someone else and seeing everything through his or her eyes can be a great technique.

Arriving at this level of letting go will require a systematic methodology. Many methods have been used in developing simpler and better products. These design processes incorporate early involvement teams. The teams are composed of a broad spectrum of employees, customers, and suppliers who work together through a systematic process of looking and thinking outside the box to solve problems. The results are significant, and new products can be discovered.

The concept of push innovations (e.g., toys and foods) is a short-term exercise that continues to flood the market…

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