Thursday, December 12, 2019



Baldrige Funding Legislative Update

Thank you for all your help with our effort to restore the Baldrige Program in the Federal Budget. Here is a two-part update for you (Where  we a...

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Coalition Developed to Train U.S. Veterans for Jobs in Advanced Manufacturing

In the 2011 Skills Gap Report produced by The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte, over 80% of manufacturers report they cannot find people to fill their skilled production jobs. As a result, there are approximately 600,000 manufacturing jobs open right now in the United States. Manufacturers need a talented pipeline, but they also need the Right Skills Now. 

The Manufacturing Institute, in response to this issue, has teamed up with General Electric, Boeing (Baldrige Award recipients in 1998 and 2003), Lockheed Martin, Alcoa, and other business, digital, academic, and not-for-profit partners to launch an endeavor to train military veterans for specific jobs in advanced manufacturing, in essence augmenting America’s competitiveness. This is a skills-match program that will combine the efforts of a company called Futures, Inc., which has created a digital “badge” system that easily translates the Military Occupational Specialty codes (MOS) to identify best-fit civilian positions in advanced manufacturing. In the past, most companies did not have an easy way of understanding the equivalence of an MOS to the skills and abilities needed in civilian jobs. For example, veterans that have advanced training in welding and machining can now be easily identified by their MOS using the system designed by Futures. This is a great step forward for the hundreds of thousands of veterans looking for work in this country, even if they do not quite possess the right skills needed for these jobs. In the short term, the Institute and its partners will work with local communities, businesses, and technical colleges to establish a program called Right Skills Now, which offers specialized degree and certification programs to those applicable to a fast-track program.

Initially, this effort will open up 15,000 positions for military veterans. The group of partners,

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Acknowledging Innovative Excellence – K&N Management

Can you imagine every fast food chain winning the Baldrige Award because of food quality, customer service, or innovative menus? Probably not. Why? Because most of them demonstrate it’s all about low price and average service. Well, here is an exception.

K&N Management was a 2010 recipient of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, and 2010 Texas Award for Performance Excellence. Their vision is “to become world famous by delighting one guest at a time.” As a restaurant management group, they were only the second of their kind to be recognized with a Baldrige Award. K&N operates out of Austin, Texas, and is the owner of Mighty Fine Burgers, Fries and Shakes, as well as Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q, with eight locations and approximately 500 staff members in total. With a dedication to concept design, operational excellence, and meeting or exceeding key guest requirements, K&N Management is certainly worth taking a second look at.

K&N was started by Ken Schiller and Brian Nolen in Austin back in 1993, with the goal of delighting every guest that walked through their doors. By the next year, they had purchased the rights to the Austin-area Rudy’s Country Store & Bar-B-Q franchise, and opened the first store: a combination gas station, convenience store, and restaurant that specializes in …

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Baldrige in Education: A Healthy Mix

The education system in this country needs overhauling.  Tuition rates are skyrocketing and textbook costs continue on the rise, but are curricula being modified as rapidly as they need to be?  Specifically, MBAs: to accurately reflect the needs of the ever-changing business world, are business schools keeping up?  Well, as it turns out, some are.

Post University in Waterbury, CT recently announced the renaming of their business school to The Malcolm Baldrige School of Business, in a culmination of “a great deal of effort in identifying someone whose legacy embodies the quality, goal, and mission of our school. We knew there was no better name to attach to our School of Business than Malcolm Baldrige,” a Post University blog reads.  Post is right down the road from our headquarters in Southbury, CT, with Mac’s hometown of Woodbury being sandwiched between the two towns.  Waterbury, of course, is home to the Scovill plant where Baldrige spent his early career, leading the transformation of a struggling brass mill into a highly diversified manufacturer of consumer housing and industrial goods.  To honor those principles, Post has implemented a number of new courses that clearly draw directly from the criteria that frame the award as we know it today.  For example:

  1. BUS505: Organizational Innovation and Creativity covers how to create and innovate in an organization, and why you should always challenge the status quo.

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Designing Innovative Products and Services with DMADV

Product and service creation requires a process which develops a detailed design for a good or service and is coupled together with the processes to actually produce that good or service.  In Six Sigma, product or service design (Design for Six Sigma [DFSS]) means creating these, including the process to produce them in such a way that defects in the product and the process are not only extremely rare, but also predictable.  Furthermore, defects are rare and predictable, even at the point when full-scale production begins.  To achieve this level of excellence and its attendant low costs and short cycle times, as well as soaring levels of customer satisfaction, requires some enhancements to traditional design methods.  For example, each DFSS design project starts with an identification of customers and a detailed analysis and understanding of their needs.  Even “redesign” starts at the beginning because all successful designs are based on customer needs, and in this world of rapid change, customer needs, and even customers, have a way of rapidly changing.  Another example is the widespread intensive use of statistical methods in DFSS.  The power of the information gained from statistical analyses provides the means to achieve significant improvement.  DFSS is carried out in a series of phases known as DMADV.

DMADV stands for define, measure, analyze, design, and verify.  The discussion that follows does not cover all the details of procedures and tools used in DMADV; that would require many hundreds of pages, and they can be found elsewhere in published form.  We will, however, attempt to acquaint the reader with what any manager needs to know about the purpose, the issues, the questions, and the sequence

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DMAIC and DMADV Six Sigma; Which is Right for Me?

The two primary Six Sigma methodologies are DMAIC to address chronic quality problems and defects, and DMADV to help ensure that products and services function well from the voice of the customer through the delivery of goods.  In this two-part article series, we’ll break down DMAIC and DMADV to their cores, and explain why your company would decide to utilize one method over the other.

If solutions to your problems are elusive, you don’t know their root causes, or if you must attain quality levels measure in parts per million, Six Sigma will place your ailing process under a microscope to find those causes and their effective solutions. The DMAIC steps are:

  1. Define the problem as clearly as one can in words.
  2. Measure the current level of performance and identify the voice of the customers.
  3. Analyze collected data to determine the cause(s) of the problem.
  4. Improve by selecting the right solutions to solve the problem.
  5. Control to hold the gains.


With these fundamental steps, Six Sigma enables many organizations around the world to succeed…

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Update: Tuesday, September 12, 2012

Over the course of the next week, will be undergoing some site maintenance and construction. We ask that you please be patient as we make these changes, and apologize for any inconvenience we may cause.  We’re working hard to make the site a safer and better-looking version of itself, and can’t wait to show it to you!

Kind regards,

Joe, Tom, & the team

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The Three C’s of Customer Retention: Character, Community, and Content

In a recent Fast Company article, Noah Fleming reflects on the importance of a company’s character in an article titled, “Why Is Jeff Bezos Always Talking To Me?” He writes about the frequency of which there are letters from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos displayed on the site’s homepage, usually referencing a significant product launch (like the free availability of the Harry Potter series in the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library), or, like last week, the anniversary of Amazon Prime.  These types of announcements serve a number of purposes, but Fleming makes an excellent point about one particular one.

“Character is about positioning,” the author states, “you can either decide what those few things (that people remember) will be, or let the market decide.” Jeff Bezos is working hard to create customer retention by emphasizing his personal connection with the company, and therefore, with his customers.  He is deciding what the most important things are for the customer to remember as they come and go from his site, and attempting to leave them with a lasting memory of something positive.  Does your company do something similar to this?

In an article published last February by Simon Mainwaring, entitled “What Brands Must Do Now to Engage Their Customer Communities,” it was noted that brands must be change agents for their own right. As community mentors, they must provide tools, techniques, and strategies for their customers to being more empowered to act on their own ideas. Simultaneously, both trust and responsibility are put in the hands of the consumers, as they are now vested in the brand.  Rather than customers, companies want brand ambassadors; people who are so enamored with the brand that they will go so far as to market it…

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Customer-Driven Excellence

Performance and quality are judged by an organization’s customers. Thus, your organization must take into account all product features and characteristics and all modes of customer access, in addition to support that contributes value to your customers. Such behavior leads to customer acquisition, satisfaction, preference, and loyalty; to positive referrals; and ultimately, to business expansion.

Customer-driven excellence has both current and future components: understanding today’s customer desires, as well as anticipating future customer desires and marketplace potential. Value and satisfaction may be influenced by many factors throughout your customers’ overall experience with your organization. These factors include your organization’s customer relationships, which help to build trust, confidence, and loyalty. Customer-driven excellence means much more than reducing defects and errors, merely meeting specifications, or reducing complaints. Nevertheless, these factors contribute to your customers’ view of your organization and thus, also are important parts of customer-driven excellence. In addition, your organization’s success in recovering from defects, service errors, and mistakes is crucial for retaining customers and engaging customers for the long term. A customer-driven organization addresses not only the product and service characteristics that meet basic customer requirements but also those features that differentiate the company from its competitors. Such differentiation may be based on innovative offerings, multiple access mechanisms, rapid response, or special relationships.

Customer-driven excellence is thus a strategic concept. It is directed toward customer retention and loyalty, market share and gain, and growth. It demands constant sensitivity to changing and emerging…

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Happy 25th to the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award!!

“The Baldrige Award Program is still one of the best in the entire maelstrom of awards.  There’s the Nobel Prize, the Oscars, and all that, but the Baldrige Aware is right up there! It’s inspiring. It’s exciting. It makes us proud.”

-Letitia Baldrige, etiquette expert, former chief of staff for Jacqueline Kennedy, and sister of Malcolm Baldrige

Baldrige 25th Anniversary - NIST

Baldrige 25th Anniversary -…

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