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NEWS | Feb. 5, 2016

88th RSC continues to strive for excellence

By Catherine Threat 88th Regional Support Command

FORT MCCOY, Wis. - The 88th Regional Support Command conducted an Army Communities of Excellence Organizational Assessment Course based on the Baldrige Excellence Framework at RSC headquarters, Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, Feb. 1-5. Dr. James Foot, senior analyst/strategic planner, Army National Guard Business Transformation Office, instructed more than twenty-five 88th RSC personnel from the headquarters, RPACs, AMSA and ECS shops.

By using criteria established for the Malcom Baldrige National Quality Award as a framework for performance assessment, the ACOE program helps participating Army installations and organizations focus on providing excellence in facilities and services in support of Soldiers, Families, and Civilians. Baldrige-based performance assessments provide opportunities to identify best practices in installation management and reveal potential opportunities to apply appropriate performance improvement tools.

“The use of a fact based criteria such as the Baldrige Framework for Performance Excellence frames the basic business model for the 88th RSC,” Foot said. “It is critically important for all levels of the organization to understand this business model in order to contribute to its continuous improvement.

Bringing individuals from different levels and different areas serves to connect them and their organizations to the 88th RSC enterprise and to help them understand and hopefully appreciate business decisions that are made at higher levels. It is somewhat like bringing parts of a puzzle together to help them develop a clearer picture of the 88th and how they fit into that picture,” said Foot.

ACOE Awards, which have been presented since 1989, are given annually to the Army installations scoring highest in the Army Communities of Excellence competition.

Thomas Helgeson, 88th RSC DPW deputy director and ACOE program manager, spoke to attendees Thur. morning, pointing out that winning an award wasn’t the only goal.

“The point is not to win an award,” Helgeson said, “it is merely a by-product of what we are trying to achieve.”
Helgeson went on to state that everyone could effect change.

“Process improvements don’t just effect ACOE results,” Helgeson said, “they can save lives, I’ve seen it.”
ACOE packets can be submitted every year, but organizations can only win the completion in non-consecutive years. The 88th RSC has won The Army Communities of Excellence Award for 2011, 2013 and 2015.

“The submission of the packet on "off" years is important for multiple reasons,” Helgeson said. “First, as the packet is evaluated, we receive valuable feedback on both our Opportunities For Improvement or OFI's and our strengths.  

This feedback is provided by the same Baldrige/ACOE Criteria trained evaluators who select the overall winners each year, so we place a high value on their comments.  By incorporating this feedback into our processes, we make ourselves better each year.  It has never really been about winning, it's about systematically improving our processes, resulting in our organization remaining the "best in class”.

It also keeps us in tune with the annual changes in the criteria and hones our ability to document our successes in the application.  Every year there are subtle changes in what evaluators like to see in our packet and by annually submitting a packet, we keep our writing skills sharp.

Winning the competition is also important because it provides the tangible evidence that we are indeed continuously improving,” Helgeson said.

Win or lose however, I'm really proud to be part of an organization that is focused on being the best provider of BASOPs services in the Army Reserve.”