LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – An institute of higher education, an information technology and an architect firm, a makeup manufacturer, a dental insurance provider and two timber mills had one thing in common earlier today. Each organization was awarded with an Arkansas Governor’s Quality Award during the 27th Annual Awards Celebration at the Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock. Gov. Asa Hutchinson presented the awards.
A community college took the highest level awarded—the Governor’s Award for Performance Excellence—making the two-year college the second in the state to be recognized at this level. Black River Technical College of Pocahontas earned the recognition by demonstrating effective processes and associated favorable results.
Mainstream Technologies, Inc. of Little Rock received the third of four award levels—Achievement Level—which requires applicants to write a 50-page application responding to more than 200 questions and demonstrate mature processes and a commitment to continuous improvement. Achievement applicants also participate in a one and one-half day site visit.
Cromwell Architects Engineers of Little Rock received the second level—the Commitment Award. Applicants are required respond to a condensed set of questions and receive a feedback report to better understand their process and results strengths and opportunities.
Four organizations received the first award level, the Challenge Award which included Delta Dental of Arkansas, Sherwood; L’Oreal USA, North Little Rock; PotlatchDeltic Corporation, Waldo; and PotlatchDeltic Corporation, Warren. The Challenge Level is the starting point for any organization and requires organizations to define key characteristics such as mission, vision, values, customer groups, and strategic challenges and advantages.
The award process drives organizations toward quality principles. Organizations self-assess and carefully review the award-level requirements before deciding at which level to apply. Each level increases the requirements of the applicant to describe systematic processes and results. In addition to the award recognition, the greatest value for program participants is the in-depth evaluation and written feedback report citing strengths and areas for improvement. Only 27 Arkansas organizations have ever received the highest-level the Governor’s Award for Performance Excellence.
The goal of the program is to encourage Arkansas organizations to engage in continuous quality improvement, which leads to performance excellence. Created as a not-for-profit organization, the program is dedicated to assist in building a strong infrastructure for Arkansas businesses. The award process aligns with the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality award and used the Baldrige Excellence Framework.
The Governor’s Quality Award program is coordinated by the Arkansas Institute for Performance Excellence, a nonprofit organization affiliated with the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce.