November 28, 2005

Baldridge Award Winners’ Salute

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy — Tom @ 1:49 pm

USA Today wrote up the Malcolm Baldridge Award winners for excellence in business and public service operations this past week. These companies and entities deserve applause. Notice how attentive they are to measuring specific results:

DynMcDermott operates the underground salt caverns in Texas and Louisiana where the Energy Department stores 700 million barrels of oil (in the government’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve). The employee turnover rate ….. averages about 1% a year. It costs the company 20 cents a barrel to store oil at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve each year vs. $2.40 a barrel at above-ground tanks operated elsewhere in the USA and the $3-a-barrel cost in Japan.

To win a contract renewal in 2003, the company set a goal to save taxpayers $64 million by 2008 and is halfway there with three years to go.

Sunny Fresh Foods in Monticello, Minn., became the ninth repeat Baldrige winner (including large corporations that have entered different divisions). The maker of scrambled, diced and other egg products for schools, hospitals and fast-food restaurants won in 1999 in the small-business category. The company, a subsidiary of food giant Cargill, has nearly doubled its size since then and won again in the manufacturing category.

Sunny Fresh says it has never had a product recall because of food safety. It is on time with 99.8% of deliveries, and customer complaints are resolved on average in less than one day, down from 2.8 days in 1997. The company also rotates its production workers to a different station every 20 minutes, and sales per employee are up 19% since 2001.

Park Place Lexus, a 420-employee dealership with two locations near Dallas, won the small-business category. Its dealership in Grapevine, Texas, was the highest-rated Lexus dealership in the nation, satisfying 99.8% of its new car buyers. Customer complaints for promises not kept fell from 130 in 2002 to 22 in 2005. It had just one complaint from a customer who felt misled by the staff and one from a customer who felt he or she was not treated with courtesy. Those are down from 22 and 28 in those complaint categories three years ago.

Richland College in Dallas was one of two winners in the education category and the first two-year community college to win a Baldrige. Richland has more than 20,000 students, who speak 90 different languages as a first language. State funding was slashed, yet the number of students who completed the core curriculum necessary to transfer to a four-year college increased from 500 students in 2002 to 1,660 in 2005.

Jenks Public Schools, a district near Tulsa, has 9,270 students, and 42% of its 665 teachers hold master’s degrees. Dropout rates have fallen from 6.3% in 1999 to 1.2% in 2004. The teacher-pupil ratio is 1-to-16. Four current athletic coaches have been selected National Coach of the Year.

Bronson Methodist Hospital, a 343-bed hospital in Kalamazoo, Mich., won in the health care category. It has 3,182 employees and patient billings of $751 million a year. The percentage of patients older than 65 who died at the hospital declined to 3.5% in the first half of 2005 from 4.8% in 2002. Patient satisfaction improved to 97% in 2004 from 95% in 2002. The hospital has for three consecutive years been named among the 100 best companies for working mothers by Working Mother magazine and for the past two has made the list of 100 best companies to work for by Fortune magazine.

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