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15 U.S. Code § 3711a - Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award

(a) Establishment

There is hereby established the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, which shall be evidenced by a medal bearing the inscriptions “Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award” and “The Quest for Excellence”. The medal shall be of such design and materials and bear such additional inscriptions as the Secretary may prescribe.

(b) Making and presentation of award
The President (on the basis of recommendations received from the Secretary), or the Secretary, shall periodically make the award to companies and other organizations which in the judgment of the President or the Secretary have substantially benefited the economic or social well-being of the United States through improvements in the quality of their goods or services resulting from the effective practice of quality management, and which as a consequence are deserving of special recognition.
The presentation of the award shall be made by the President or the Secretary with such ceremonies as the President or the Secretary may deem proper.
An organization to which an award is made under this section, and which agrees to help other American organizations improve their quality management, may publicize its receipt of such award and use the award in its advertising, but it shall be ineligible to receive another such award in the same category for a period of 5 years.
(c) Categories in which award may be given
(1) Subject to paragraph (2), separate awards shall be made to qualifying organizations in each of the following categories—
Small businesses.
Companies or their subsidiaries.
Companies which primarily provide services.
Health care providers.
Education providers.
Nonprofit organizations.
The Secretary may at any time expand, subdivide, or otherwise modify the list of categories within which awards may be made as initially in effect under paragraph (1), and may establish separate awards for other organizations including units of government, upon a determination that the objectives of this section would be better served thereby; except that any such expansion, subdivision, modification, or establishment shall not be effective unless and until the Secretary has submitted a detailed description thereof to the Congress and a period of 30 days has elapsed since that submission.
In any year, not more than 18 awards may be made under this section to recipients who have not previously received an award under this section, and no award shall be made within any category described in paragraph (1) if there are no qualifying enterprises in that category.
(d) Criteria for qualification
(1) An organization may qualify for an award under this section only if it—
applies to the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in writing, for the award,
permits a rigorous evaluation of the way in which its business and other operations have contributed to improvements in the quality of goods and services, and
meets such requirements and specifications as the Secretary, after receiving recommendations from the Board of Overseers established under paragraph (2)(B) and the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, determines to be appropriate to achieve the objectives of this section.
In applying the provisions of subparagraph (C) with respect to any organization, the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology shall rely upon an intensive evaluation by a competent board of examiners which shall review the evidence submitted by the organization and, through a site visit, verify the accuracy of the quality improvements claimed. The examination should encompass all aspects of the organization’s current practice of quality management, as well as the organization’s provision for quality management in its future goals. The award shall be given only to organizations which have made outstanding improvements in the quality of their goods or services (or both) and which demonstrate effective quality management through the training and involvement of all levels of personnel in quality improvement.
The Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology shall, under appropriate contractual arrangements, carry out the Director’s responsibilities under subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (1) through one or more broad-based nonprofit entities which are leaders in the field of quality management and which have a history of service to society.
The Secretary shall appoint a board of overseers for the award, consisting of at least five persons selected for their preeminence in the field of quality management. This board shall meet annually to review the work of the contractor or contractors and make such suggestions for the improvement of the award process as they deem necessary. The board shall report the results of the award activities to the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology each year, along with its recommendations for improvement of the process.
(e) Information and technology transfer program

The Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology shall ensure that all program participants receive the complete results of their audits as well as detailed explanations of all suggestions for improvements. The Director shall also provide information about the awards and the successful quality improvement strategies and programs of the award-winning participants to all participants and other appropriate groups.

(f) Funding

The Secretary is authorized to seek and accept gifts from public and private sources to carry out the program under this section. If additional sums are needed to cover the full cost of the program, the Secretary shall impose fees upon the organizations applying for the award in amounts sufficient to provide such additional sums. The Director is authorized to use appropriated funds to carry out responsibilities under this chapter.

(g) Report

The Secretary shall prepare and submit to the President and the Congress, within 3 years after August 20, 1987, a report on the progress, findings, and conclusions of activities conducted pursuant to this section along with recommendations for possible modifications thereof.

Editorial Notes

2022—Subsec. (c)(1)(D), (E). Pub. L. 117–167, § 10246(b)(1)(A), realigned margin.

Subsec. (c)(1)(G). Pub. L. 117–167, § 10246(b)(1)(B), added subpar. (G).

2007—Subsec. (c)(3). Pub. L. 110–69 amended par. (3) generally. Prior to amendment, par. (3) read as follows: “Not more than two awards may be made within any subcategory in any year, unless the Secretary determines that a third award is merited and can be given at no additional cost to the Federal Government (and no award shall be made within any category or subcategory if there are no qualifying enterprises in that category or subcategory).”

2004—Subsec. (c)(1)(F). Pub. L. 108–320 added subpar. (F).

1998—Subsec. (c)(1)(D), (E). Pub. L. 105–309, § 3(b), added subpars. (D) and (E).

Subsec. (c)(3). Pub. L. 105–309, § 3(a), inserted “, unless the Secretary determines that a third award is merited and can be given at no additional cost to the Federal Government” after “in any year”.

1992—Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 102–245 inserted at end “The Director is authorized to use appropriated funds to carry out responsibilities under this chapter.”

1988—Subsecs. (d), (e). Pub. L. 100–418, § 5115(b)(2)(A), substituted “National Institute of Standards and Technology” for “National Bureau of Standards” wherever appearing.

Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries
Findings and Purposes

Pub. L. 100–107, § 2, Aug. 20, 1987, 101 Stat. 724, provided that:

“(a) Findings.—The Congress finds and declares that—
the leadership of the United States in product and process quality has been challenged strongly (and sometimes successfully) by foreign competition, and our Nation’s productivity growth has improved less than our competitors over the last two decades;
American business and industry are beginning to understand that poor quality costs companies as much as 20 percent of sales revenues nationally, and that improved quality of goods and services goes hand in hand with improved productivity, lower costs, and increased profitability;
strategic planning for quality and quality improvement programs, through a commitment to excellence in manufacturing and services, are becoming more and more essential to the well-being of our Nation’s economy and our ability to compete effectively in the global marketplace;
improved management understanding of the factory floor, worker involvement in quality, and greater emphasis on statistical process control can lead to dramatic improvements in the cost and quality of manufactured products;
the concept of quality improvement is directly applicable to small companies as well as large, to service industries as well as manufacturing, and to the public sector as well as private enterprise;
in order to be successful, quality improvement programs must be management-led and customer-oriented and this may require fundamental changes in the way companies and agencies do business;
several major industrial nations have successfully coupled rigorous private sector quality audits with national awards giving special recognition to those enterprises the audits identify as the very best; and
“(8) a national quality award program of this kind in the United States would help improve quality and productivity by—
helping to stimulate American companies to improve quality and productivity for the pride of recognition while obtaining a competitive edge through increased profits,
recognizing the achievements of those companies which improve the quality of their goods and services and providing an example to others,
establishing guidelines and criteria that can be used by business, industrial, governmental, and other organizations in evaluating their own quality improvement efforts, and
providing specific guidance for other American organizations that wish to learn how to manage for high quality by making available detailed information on how winning organizations were able to change their cultures and achieve eminence.
“(b) Purpose.—
It is the purpose of this Act [enacting this section, amending section 3708 of this title, and enacting provisions set out as a note under section 3701 of this title] to provide for the establishment and conduct of a national quality improvement program under which (1) awards are given to selected companies and other organizations in the United States that practice effective quality management and as a result make significant improvements in the quality of their goods and services, and (2) information is disseminated about the successful strategies and programs.”