Working toward quality management

October 7, 2014
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In the October issue, we announce the winners of this year’s National Housing Quality Awards: gold award recipients DSLD Homes and EYA, and silver award winner French Brothers. All three companies worked long and hard to create efficient and effective processes with verifiable business metrics, resulting in their receiving an award that represents the industry’s highest recognition for achievements in total quality management.

Although the NHQ program, modeled after the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, began more than 20 years ago, the awards it bestows are not as well-known in the industry as they should be. Even less is known about what applicants need to do in order to be so honored.
That may be because the process for being considered is an arduous one. The entry form alone is 18 pages long and involves answering questions that require a great deal of company self-examination on the subjects of leadership, strategic planning, process management, customer satisfaction, human resources, construction quality, trade relationships, and business results.
Completing the application can be difficult and time-consuming and may involve a fair amount of time to be spent by company employees from a number of different disciplines. In some cases, builders may realize that their companies, though excellent in many regards, have not spent enough time and energy on some other areas of the criteria.
Honestly, sometimes builders will download the entry form, read it over, and let us know they won’t be applying, at least during the current application year. But what some of them will do is start working toward applying the following year by using the form’s assessment criteria as a guide for improving their company’s processes.
The assessment process alone is a very valuable tool for businesses. It offers a way to monitor performance and to implement the changes necessary for improvement. But the real benefit of the program comes after a company submits an entry form. The applications are reviewed by a panel of judges, consisting of previous winners and quality management consultants, and finalists from among the entries receive a site visit from the judges. All entrants are given a report from the judges providing detailed feedback with recommendations for continued improvement.
Serge Ogranovitch, NHQ Awards director, estimates that feedback  from both an application review and site visit represent about $30,000 worth of consulting fees. And with the improvements that can come from following the recommendations, the effort it takes to apply is well worth the effort. Congratulations to the winners for achieving this distinction.
editorial director

Denise Dersin, editorial director of Professional Builder, Custom Builder, PRODUCTS, NKBA Innovation+Inspiration, and co-editor of Multifamily Design+Construction, has been in publishing as an editor and writer for 30 years and has worked in the housing industry for much of that time.