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Winners will be honored March 24th at the Pearl River Resort in Choctaw

RPM Pizza takes top Quality Award

Starting with one location and growing to 139, the Mueller family has been fine tuning the pizza business for 25 years. Five years ago, RPM Pizza, LLC, began climbing the ranks of the Mississippi Quality Awards program, and this year joined an elite group of Mississippi companies who have earned the top honor, the Governor’s Award.

Gulfport-based RPM Pizza is the largest U.S. franchisee of Domino’s Pizza with 3,200 team members before Hurricane Katrina. The company still has 2,500 employees and has been working to reopen 86 closed stores.

RPM CEO (chief excellence officer) Glenn Mueller said the company hoped to get to this level in five years. “It all worked out,” he said. “We’ve got a great team, and we worked together and applied the principles.”

The Mississippi Quality Awards, known as Baby Baldridges, are mirrored after the prestigious Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Awards. The awards are broken down into four developmental steps: Quality Alignment, Quality Commitment, the Excellence Award and the Governor’s Award, the highest level given to businesses who are outstanding examples of quality management. Businesses are judged on seven criteria: leadership, strategic planning, customer focus, market focus, human resources focus, process management and results.

Starting in 2000, RPM began putting the Baldridge principles into practice. The company earned the Quality Alignment Award in 2001, the Quality Commitment Award in 2002 and the Excellence Award in 2003. Through the process, RPM team members became much more customer-focused and fact-based in the way they approached the business, said Mueller.

“If you listen to the customer and make decisions based on survey data, you can make decisions faster and make improvements faster to beat the competition,” he said.

According to Mueller, the Quality Awards program has enabled the RPM team to systematically:

1 – Deliver more pizzas in 30 minutes.

2 – Improve customer satisfaction.

3 – Increase pizza product ratings.

4 – Improve driver safety.

5 – Improve team member retention.

6 – Increase community safety programs.

Quality Awards program director Duane Hamill said RPM is a great example of an organization that has used the Quality Awards as a systematic method for improvement. Almost all of the top winners have participated in the program for two years or more.

JBHM Education Group, now in its second year of the program, moved up to the Quality Commitment level this year.

“The Quality Awards process has been and continues to be an outstanding opportunity for our company to self-evaluate, adjust and continually improve,” said Dr. Mike Walters of JBHM.

Hamill said the commitment of all of this year’s winners was evident from the start.

“It was clear that they were genuinely using the process and criteria of the program for long-term performance improvement, and there’s not a question in any of our minds that they will continue to grow and learn with the processes in place and perhaps win a national Baldridge Award.”

RPM and the other Quality Award winners will be honored on Friday, March 24, at the 11th Annual Mississippi Quality Awards at Pearl River Resort in Choctaw. State Board for Community and Junior Colleges (SBCJC) chairman George Walker will hand out the Quality Awards to the 15 companies during the luncheon ceremony. The awards program is held in conjunction with the annual Excellence in Mississippi conference.

Seventeen workshops and mini-workshops on quality and performance are planned. For more information on the Excellence in Mississippi conference, visit www.exinms.org.

The Quality Awards are administered by the SBCJC. Organizations interested in participating in the Quality Awards program can receive an application packet by Hamill at (601) 432-6349 or by e-mail at dhamill@sbcjc.cc.ms.us. Additional information is available at www.sbcjc.cc.ms.us.

Contact MBJ Staff Writer Kelly Ingebretsen at kelly@msbusiness.com.

2005 Quality Award Winners

The Governor’s Award

RPM Pizza, LLC, Gulfport

The Excellence Award

Gilmore Health System Inc., Amory

Heatcraft – North Plant (CCP), Grenada

Heatcraft – South Plant (OEM), Grenada

The Quality Commitment Award

Chadwick Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, LLC., Jackson

Brandon Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, LLC., Brandon

JBHM Education Group, LLC, Jackson

The Quality Alignment Award

City of Clinton, Clinton, MS

Cleveland Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, LLC, Cleveland

Lakeland Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, LLC, Jackson

Manhattan Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, LLC, Jackson

McComb Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, LLC, McComb

Ruleville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, LLC, Ruleville

Tupelo Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, LLC, Tupelo

Walnut Elementary School, Walnut


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