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Maset News

Volume 3  June 20, 2001

Message From Charles Loew
Comments From Our Readers
New On The Maset Web Site
Feature Of This Issue


Welcome to MASET News. A monthly publication dedicated to the communication between MASET and our many interested Friends, Customers and Potential Customers




As we all know, change is part of our lives. In order to be more appealing to readers and more efficient with delivery, some changes have been incorporated in this issue of Maset News. The format has been changed, the names of other recipients have been deleted and those who formerly received several copies should now receive one. Your feedback is most welcome.

As the heat of the summer comes to most parts of the Northern Hemisphere and the winter to our friends in the Southern Hemisphere, we find signs of the economy starting to pick up. Some of our Customers have commented that the rate of incoming orders has turned positive and others are seeing the results of restructuring starting to take effect. Improvement in our business will not occur unless we take positive steps to make it happen. If you believe Maset can help, please contact us.




"Even to those of us who are not directly involved with Supply Chain, the information was well received by my colleagues and myself. Looking forward to future news letters"

"It's great to read about the gains that can be attained by applying Cross Functional Process Mapping to the Management of the Supply Chain"




Thanks to Phillip Williamson, Chairman of Williamson-Dickie for the very nice letter on our work for him. You can read his comments here.

A new Product and Service write up has been added covering our methods of implementing Strategic Planning. The methodology we have used and developed has been very successful with many of our Customers. Read the write up here.

Two new courses have been added to Maset's offerings: A Quality Function Deployment Workshop is described here and in the area of Team Development, a workshop covering "Leading Effective Meetings" which is described here.




Using the Baldrige Criteria
to Improve Performance

Richard L. Eppig

"Business as usual "really means challenge and change. Whether your business challenges are e-commerce and the Internet economy, globalization, rapid innovation, outsourcing and supply chain management, cost reduction, or just maintaining your competitive advantage, the Baldrige Criteria can help you address them.

For more than a decade, the Baldrige Criteria have been tools used by thousands of U.S. organizations to stay abreast of ever-increasing competition and improve performance. Whether your business is small or large, is involved in service or manufacturing, or has one office or multiple sites across the globe, the Criteria provide a valuable framework that can help you assess performance on a wide range of key business indicators: customer, product and service, operational, human resource, and financial. The Criteria can help you align resources; improve communication, productivity, and effectiveness; and achieve strategic goals.

Studies over the past decade have demonstrated that Baldrige "winners" have consistently outperformed the S&P 500 by a ratio of more than 4:1. Companies that use the criteria but who have not necessarily won the award outperform the S&P 500 by more than 2.5:1. Do you want to increase your company's performance?

The Criteria were created to form the basis for organizational assessments, for making Awards, and for giving feedback to applicants. In addition, the Criteria have three important roles in strengthening U.S. competitiveness:

  • to help improve organizational performance practices, capabilities, and results
  • to facilitate communication and sharing of best practices information among U.S. organizations of all types
  • to serve as a working tool for understanding and managing performance and for guiding planning and opportunities for learning

Criteria for Performance Excellence Goals

The Criteria are designed to help organizations use an aligned approach to organizational performance management that results in:

  • delivery of ever-improving value to customers, contributing to marketplace success
  • improvement of overall organizational effectiveness and capabilities
  • organizational and personal learning.

The Criteria are built upon a set of interrelated Core Values and Concepts. These values and concepts, given below, are embedded beliefs and behaviors found in high-performing organizations. They are the foundation for integrating key business requirements within a results-oriented framework that creates a basis for action and feedback.

  • Visionary Leadership
  • Customer-Driven Excellence
  • Organizational and Personal Learning
  • Valuing Employees and Partners
  • Agility
  • Focus on the Future
  • Managing for Innovation
  • Management by Fact
  • Public Responsibility and Citizenship
  • Focus on Results and Creating Value
  • Systems Perspective

The Criteria for Performance Excellence consists of seven Categories into which these Core Values are embedded:

  1. Leadership
  2. Strategic Planning
  3. Customer and Market Focus
  4. Information and Analysis
  5. Human Resource Focus
  6. Process Management
  7. Business Results


1. The Criteria focus on business results.

The Criteria focus on the key areas of business performance:

(1) customer-focused results

(2) financial and market results

(3) human resource results

(4) organizational effectiveness results, including operational and supplier performance

The use of this composite of indicators is intended to ensure that strategies are balanced -that they do not inappropriately trade off among important stakeholders, objectives, or short-and longer-term goals.

2. The Criteria are nonprescriptive and adaptable.

The Criteria are made up of results-oriented requirements. However, the Criteria do not prescribe

  • that your organization should or should not have departments for quality, planning, or other functions;
  • how your organization should be structured; or
  • that different units in your organization should be managed in the same way.

These factors differ among organizations, and they are likely to change as needs and strategies evolve.

The Criteria are nonprescriptive for the following reasons:

(1) The focus is on results, not on procedures, tools, or organizational structure. Organizations are encouraged to develop and demonstrate creative, adaptive, and flexible approaches for meeting basic requirements. Nonprescriptive requirements are intended to foster incremental and major ("breakthrough") improvements, as well as basic change.

(2) Selection of tools, techniques, systems, and organizational structure usually depends on factors such as business type and size, your organization's stage of development, and employee capabilities and responsibilities.

(3) Focus on common requirements, rather than on common procedures, fosters better understanding, communication, sharing, and alignment, while supporting innovation and diversity in approaches.

3. The Criteria support a systems perspective to maintaining organization-wide goal alignment.

The systems perspective to goal alignment is embedded in the integrated structure of the Core Values and Concepts, the Organizational Profile, the Criteria, and the results-oriented, cause-effect linkages among the Criteria Items.

Alignment in the Criteria is built around connecting and reinforcing measures derived from your organization's processes and strategy. These measures tie directly to customer value and to overall performance. The use of measures thus channels different activities in consistent directions with less need for detailed procedures, centralized decision-making, or process management. Measures thereby serve both as a communications tool and a basis for deploying consistent overall performance requirements. Such alignment ensures consistency of purpose while also supporting agility, innovation, and decentralized decision-making.

A systems perspective to goal alignment, particularly when strategy and goals change over time, requires dynamic linkages among Criteria Items. In the Criteria, action-oriented cycles of learning take place via feedback between processes and results.

The learning cycles have four, clearly defined stages:

(1) planning, including design of processes, selection of measures, and deployment of requirements

(2) execution of plans

(3) assessment of progress, taking into account internal and external results

(4) revision of plans based upon assessment findings, learning, new inputs, and new requirements

4. The Criteria support goal-based diagnosis.

The Criteria and the Scoring Guidelines make up a two-part diagnostic (assessment) system. The Criteria are a set of 18 performance-oriented requirements. The Scoring Guidelines spell out the assessment dimensions - Approach, Deployment, and Results -and the key factors used to assess each dimension. An assessment thus provides a profile of strengths and opportunities for improvement relative to the 18 basic requirements. In this way, assessment leads to actions that contribute to performance improvement in all areas, as described above. This diagnostic assessment is a useful management tool that goes beyond most performance reviews and is applicable to a wide range of strategies and management systems.

Maset, LLC can assist you with determining how best to utilize the Criteria to improve your business' performance. Please contact us at:

P.O. Box 10730
Tempe, Arizona 85284

Telephone: (480) 775-1269
Fax: (480) 491-2144





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