What's the single biggest trend affecting large U.S. companies? The answer is no surprise: globalization. So indicate more than 300 CEOs responding to a survey commissioned by the Commerce Dept. 's Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award program. Ninety-four percent of the CEOs cited "becoming a global company" as one of the most significant trends affecting American firms. Other trends determined to be "major" by more than 70% of the CEOs: improving knowledge management (88%); cost and cycle-time reduction (79%); improving supply chains globally (78%); manufacturing at multiple locations in many countries (76%); and managing the use of more part-time, temporary, and contract workers (71%). The survey was conducted by Louis Harris & Associates Inc.