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February 2011

Why Baldrige Works

by Rose Almon-Martin
VP Performance Excellence, MEDRAD, Warrendale, Pa.

There's no doubt that the Baldrige Criteria drive excellent performance. Of course, the perennial question for any improvement approach is "What's the return on my investment?" Cargill, a $107 billion company that produces and markets food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services, says Baldrige is a huge return on investment. Their divisions that use the Criteria achieve 130 percent of their earnings targets versus divisions not using the Criteria, who achieve about 82 percent of target.

MEDRAD, a global market leader in radiology and interventional cardiology, measures success through our corporate Scorecard, which are five benchmarked goals that drive exceptional performance for our three stakeholders: customers, employees and our parent company, Bayer. The Baldrige Criteria helped MEDRAD consistently deliver results to stakeholders during times of growth and during tough times.

Wouldn't you love to have every employee aligned on, even excited about, delivering sustained results to customers and shareholders with best-in-class productivity? Would you like that to happen in tough times as well as growth times? That's an organizational holy grail. Is it easy? No. Nothing great is easy. Is there a roadmap for doing it? Yes. The Baldrige Criteria was our roadmap—a set of questions based on leadership best practices that focused on creating sustained organizational excellence. The Criteria helped MEDRAD create processes that were scalable for growth and adaptable to change.

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