At Du Fresne Manufacturing, implementation of The Baldrige Performance Excellence framework, or any other comprehensive improvement process or system, is primarily about continually developing a sustainable business focused on the needs of its stakeholders (members, customers, supply partners and our community).
Our goal was sustainability, or the ongoing assurance that our company will be here for generations of people, was ethically, the right thing to do. What we actually achieved was beyond our expectations, including:
- Oblitunity, or our obligation to provide increasing opportunity for our members to reach a higher potential than the ever thought possible
- A new leadership model that includes every member of our company
- A business plan that engages everyone on a daily basis
- Not just how well we operate a s company but how well we compete in our market
How Our Journey Began...
Shortly after the beginning of the “Great Recession” in 2008, we needed to find a way to just survive, having lost more than 50% of our business and 60% of our members, we needed a way to “lock-in” our future and the Baldrige Performance Excellence Journey was the right decision.
Our first step was to author and submit our Baldrige Application, which included our organizational profile detailing what’s truly important to our company, to Brian Lassiter with Performance Excellence Network (FKA Minnesota Council for Quality). The application process was eye-opening as it asked us to define our company in more detail than ever before in the following areas:
- P.1 Organizational Description, what are our key characteristics such as product offering, vision/mission, workforce profile, assets and regulatory requirements?
- P.2 Organizational Situation, What is our strategic situation including our market position, key competitive advantage/challenges, how do we compare to our competitors, and our system for managing improvement?
Completing the application forced us to look deeper into how we operated as an organization and we realized we were on the right path and our journey began!
Over the next 2 years we systematically reviewed existing processes and systems and implemented new ones, many we already performed but hadn’t formalized, in the following 7 categories:
Measurement, analysis and knowledge management
Throughout our journey we adopted “Baldrige Speak”, words and terms like Key Work Systems and Processes, Customer Listening, Intelligent Risk and Systematic Fact Based Evaluation became part of our daily communications. Conversations always ended with the question: How does this apply to the criteria?
After 2 years of review and implementation we submitted our 49 page application and were ready for evaluation by a team of industry professionals with 100’s of years of combined operational experience. Over several days in September of 2014, the evaluators reviewed our application and interviewed what seemed like everyone in the company. 2 months later, in October, 2014 we received confirmation that we succeeded in implementing the Baldrige Criteria. To our entire company it was a journey well-traveled and continues every day here at Du Fresne Manufacturing.
With the criteria firmly “under our belt” we’re confident that our organization is prepared for many years of security and livelihoods for all stake-holders of Du Fresne Manufacturing.