Dr. W. Edwards Deming
Dr. Deming's Ideas Dr. Deming's famous 14
Points, originally presented in Out of the Crisis, serve
as management guidelines. The points cultivate a fertile soil in
which a more efficient workplace, higher profits, and increased
productivity may grow.
Comments on some of Dr. Deming's points:
- Create and communicate to all employees a statement of the
aims and purposes of the company.
- Adapt to the new philosophy of the day; industries and
economics are always changing.
- Build quality into a product throughout production.
- End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price
tag alone; instead, try a long-term relationship based on
established loyalty and trust.
- Work to constantly improve quality and productivity.
- Institute on-the-job training.
- Teach and institute leadership to improve all job
- Drive out fear; create trust.
- Strive to reduce intradepartmental conflicts.
- Eliminate exhortations for the work force; instead, focus on
the system and morale.
- (a) Eliminate work standard quotas for production. Substitute
leadership methods for improvement.
(b) Eliminate MBO. Avoid numerical goals. Alternatively, learn
the capabilities of processes, and how to improve them.
- Remove barriers that rob people of pride of workmanship
- Educate with self-improvement programs.
- Include everyone in the company to accomplish the
The first of the 14 Points charges management with establishing
continual improvement through the redefinition of the company's
purposes. Quite simply, the company must survive, compete well,
and constantly replenish its resources for growth and improvement
through innovation and research.
In the fifth point, Dr. Deming states that only a commitment to a
process of continual improvement truly rewards. A company cannot
expect to ignite and feed a quality revolution from which it will
prosper for all time. Instead, it must adopt an evolutionary
philosophy; such a philosophy prevents stagnation and arms the
company for the uncertain future. Part of the evolutionary
mentality is to abandon practices that, despite their obvious
short term benefits, ultimately detract from the company's
Point number four specifically warns against this scenario: the
purchasing department of a company consistently patronizes those
vendors who offer the lowest prices. As a result, the company
often purchases low quality equipment. Dr. Deming urges
companies to establish loyal ties with suppliers of quality
Point five condemns mass inspection procedures as inefficient; a
product should be monitored by the workers, throughout the
assembly process, to meet a series of quality standards. In the
long term, the use of better equipment and a more intense
worker-oriented method of inspection will markedly improve
productivity and lower costs. In order to accomplish these
goals, a company must develop a consistent, active plan that
involves its entire labor force in the drive toward total
Dr. Deming based his new business
philosophy on an ideal of cooperation. In order to fulfill its
own potential, a company must harness the power of every worker
in its employment; for that reason, the third point bars shoddy
workmanship, poor service, and negative attitudes from the
Theory of Profound Knowledge --
In order to promote
cooperation, Deming espouses his Theory of Profound Knowledge.
Profound knowledge involves expanded views and an understanding
of the seemingly individual yet truly interdependent elements
that compose the larger system, the company. Deming believed
that every worker has nearly unlimited potential if placed in an
environment that adequately supports, educates, and nurtures
senses of pride and responsibility; he stated that the
majority--85 percent--of a worker's effectiveness is determined
by his environment and only minimally by his own skill.
A manager seeking to establish such an environment must:
employ an understanding of
psychology--of groups and individuals.
eliminate tools such as production quotas and sloganeering which
only alienate workers from their supervisors and breed divisive
competition between the workers themselves.
form the company into a large team divided into sub-teams all
working on different aspects of the same goal; barriers between
departments often give rise conflicting objectives and create
spread profit to workers as teams, not individuals.
eliminate fear, envy, anger, and revenge from the workplace.
employ sensible methods such as rigorous on-the-job training
In the resulting company, workers better understand their
jobs--the specific tasks and techniques as well as their higher
value; thus stimulated and empowered, they perform better. The
expense pays for itself.
The ideas of W. Edwards Deming may seem common or obvious now;
however, they've become embedded in our culture of work. Dr.
Deming's ideas (and personal example) of hard work, sincerity,
decency, and personal responsibility, forever changed the world
of management. "It is not enough to just do your best or work
hard. You must know what to work on."- W. Edwards Deming
As the sun rose on the 20th century, a
baby was born to the Deming family in a small town in Iowa. W.
Edwards Deming would become a colossus of modern management
thinking. He would live through most of the century, and have a
tremendous impact on its second half.
The Demings moved from Iowa to Wyoming, and in 1917, Edwards
entered the University of Wyoming. To fund his education, he
worked as a janitor. He graduated in 1921, and went on to the
University of Colorado, where he received a M.S. in physics and
mathematics. This led towards a doctorate in physics from Yale
From physics, Dr. Deming gravitated towards statistics. The U.S.
Census Bureau hired Dr. Deming in 1940, just at the time that the
Bureau shifted its procedure from a complete count to a sampling
method. Upon completion of the 1940 census, Deming began to
introduce Statistical Quality Control into industrial operations.
In 1941, he and two other experts began teaching Statistical
Quality Control to inspectors and engineers.
Dr. Deming started his own private practice in 1946, after his
departure from the Census Bureau. For more than forty years his
firm served its clientele--manufacturers, telephone companies,
railways, trucking companies, census takers, hospitals,
governments, and research organizations. As a professor emeritus,
Dr. Deming conducted classes on sampling and quality control at
New York University. For over ten years, his four-day seminars
reached 10, 000 people per year.
The teachings of Dr. Deming affected a quality revolution of
gargantuan significance on American manufacturers and consumers.
Through his ideas, product quality improved and, thus, popular
satisfaction. His influential work in Japan--instructing top
executives and engineers in quality management--was a driving
force behind that nation's economic rise. Dr. Deming
contributed directly to Japan's phenomenal export-led growth and
its current technological leadership in automobiles, shipbuilding
and electronics. The Union of Japanese Science and Engineering
(JUSE) saluted its teacher with the institution of the annual
Deming Prize for significant achievement in product quality and
dependability. In 1960, the Emperor of Japan bestowed on Dr.
Deming the Second Order Medal of the Sacred Treasure.
Stateside, the American Society for Quality Control awarded him
the Shewhart Medal in 1956. In 1983, Dr. Deming received the
Samuel S. Wilks Award from the American Statistical Association
and election to the National Academy of Engineering. President
Reagan honored him with the National Medal of Technology in 1987,
and, in 1988, the National Academy of Sciences lauded him with
the Distinguished Career in Science award. He was inducted into
the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1991.
Dr. Deming was a member of the International Statistical
Institute. He was elected in 1986 to the Science and Technology
Hall of Fame in Dayton. From the University of Wyoming, Rivier
College, the University of Maryland, Ohio State University,
Clarkson College of Technology, Miami University, George
Washington University, the University of Colorado, Fordham
University, the University of Alabama, Oregon State University,
the American University, the University of South Carolina, Yale
University, Harvard University, Cleary College, and Shenandoah
University, Dr. Deming received the degrees L.L.D. and Sc.D.
honorius causa. From Yale University, he won the Wilbur Lucius
Cross Medal, and the Madeleine of Jesus from Rivier College.
Dr. Deming authored several books and 171 papers. His books,
Out of the Crisis
(MIT/CAES, 1986) and The New
(MIT/CAES, 1994) have been translated into several
languages. Myriad books, films, and videotapes profile his life,
his philosophy, and the successful application of his worldwide
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