A New Approach for Center Management and Evaluation: The Malcolm Baldrige-Style Model for FLATE

When it comes to continuous improvement on an organizational scale there is no better model than the Malcolm Baldrige-style model for high-performing organizations. FLATE has adopted and is implementing this model, in the form of the Florida Governor’s Sterling criteria for managing and evaluating the Center. This is an innovative approach that differs from every other Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Center across the country.

The FLATE mission, focusing on meeting Florida manufacturers’ current and future needs for a capable and skilled workforce, mandates that the Center be effective. The mandate also comes from the National Science Foundation (NSF) grantor and all of FLATE’s stakeholders. What better way to satisfy the mandate than using the Florida Sterling management model, based on the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Criteria for Performance Excellence. This model focuses on helping companies answer three basic questions: What’s most important to accomplish; how do we know we’re being successful, and do we have systems in place to sustain us into the future?

This management and assessment system guides organizations to world-class performance and improvement. It is an acknowledged driver of effectiveness among manufacturers in Florida and across the nation. Florida manufacturers continue to use the Sterling model to improve performance to better serve their customers and markets. Since 1992, hundreds of Florida companies and organizations have used the Sterling model, and over 60 have received the Governor's Sterling Award in recognition of high performance. Some of these include Honeywell Military Avionics Guidance & Navigation Operations in Clearwater, and Motorola iDEN Subscriber Supply Chain Operations in Plantation.

FLATE’s continued use of Sterling serves to enhance the Center’s understanding and its effectiveness in serving the needs of manufacturers in Florida. At the same time, FLATE gains the confidence of Florida manufacturers that it is different from other “government” organizations by holding itself to the same standards of high-performance as do for-profit companies.

Contributed by Phil Centonze,
External Evaluator for FLATE
Pos-Impact, Inc.