W. Edward Deming was a champion of quality. If you're trying to figure out where you heard that name before, that's probably where; the concept of quality and the name of W. Edward Deming are inextricably linked.
Deming was a statistician and worked on improving manufacturing processed during World War II. After the war, though, he was virtually ignored in America. It was a boom time for the US and manufacturers were trying to keep up with demand by mass producing products of lower and lower quality to cut costs and feed consumer desire, and keep them coming back for more due to obsolescence. Products become obsolete due to breakdown and overuse, new designs and technology, or popular fads.
But Deming was in high demand in Japan. His focus on quality over cost won out in post-war Japan. Because of his advice, it should come as no surprise that Japanese manufacturers overtook American manufacturers in the late seventies and early eighties because of the quality of their product. By the mid-eighties, Deming's consultation was in high demand as American manufacturers tried to catch up. Although the electronics industry arguably never caught up, the automotive industry took notice, made changes, and saved themselves from ruin.
The Japanese credit him with transforming their country's economy. Because he raised the bar so high in Japan - and that forced the hand of American manufacturer - it's easy to see that Deming had a huge impact on global manufacturing and trade.
But Deming was more than just a statistician with some helpful suggestions on quality improvement. If you visit the Deming Institute's website at www.deming.org, you'll see that its interest is not about merely giving advice for statistical improvement. Both Deming and his company have a grand vision for global business. Deming desired to see his ideas used to promote commerce, prosperity, and peace. His grand vision should be the shared vision of every business - large and small - in the world.
Among the many helpful ideas he published, he created 14 key principles to transform the effectiveness and productivity of business. Although we won't look at them all here, we will talk about a few of his principles that you can test against your company to make sure it's building a foundation of quality for a successful future.
Deming had a vision of a company that provided quality products to its customers and a quality work environment to its employees. That company also...