First came the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, established by Congress in 1987 to recognize the importance of quality and performance excellence to U.S. businesses and the nation as a whole. Then the NAHB Research Center launched the National Housing Quality Awards and the National Remodeling Quality Awards, both patterned after the Baldrige Award.
This year, NRQ becomes part of NHQ. The 10th annual National Housing Quality program, co-sponsored by the NAHB Research Center and the Cahners Residential Group, is offering awards in separate divisions for remodelers, home builders and trade contractors.
“Total quality management offers just as many benefits for remodelers and trade contractors as it does for builders,” says Ed Caldeira, director of quality services for the NAHB Research Center. “The NHQ Awards focus on the degree to which quality is integrated into an applicant’s business, and that’s a goal all partners in the construction industry should be seeking to achieve.”
Bill Asdal of Asdal Builders LLC, winner of a silver NRQ Award in 1997, agrees. “The next generation of industry improvement will come through mastery of business skills,” he says. “This program will chart your path to business leadership and accelerate successes.”
Are you ready to apply? Take this survey to decide for yourself. The survey looks at each of the eight key quality categories an application must address. Select one of three options:
“Easy to answer” indicates your organization could answer automati-cally, with widespread agreement.
“Could answer” indicates a question for which data are not readily available, but your organization could produce data to provide a consensus response to this question.
“Difficult to answer” indicates a question that would be difficult to answer and/or to reach agreement on at this time.
How do senior leaders guide the organization toward a common purpose, with shared values and priorities?
How do you create and carry out a strategic plan to achieve a future vision, and to enhance competitive position and overall performance?
How do you manage design and delivery of products and services that lead to high levels of customer satisfaction?
How are business processes designed, managed and improved to achieve performance excellence?
How do you develop the full potential of employees in ways that support the company’s performance and learning objectives?
How do you ensure high-performing, trouble-free products and services?
How do you create high-performance relationships with trade contractors and product manufacturers?
What results have been achieved though your high-performance business practices? Provide quantitative data and trends over time when available.
Reading the results
How did you do? Did most of the above fall into the “easy to answer” column? If yes, submit an application. You could be a winner.
If most are in the “could answer” category, you might not win this year, but you should prepare an application. Doing so will focus your management team, associates and suppliers on the company’s mission and activities that support it. Every applicant receives a feedback report with advice from the experienced judging panel as well as a plan for improvement.
If most questions are “difficult to answer,” there is work to do. Find out how past NHQ and NRQ winners answer the questions and use what you find to set an agenda for improvement.
To request a free NHQ Application Kit from the NAHB Research Center, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org  or call 301/430-6225. The kit contains application forms and reference materials.