W. Edwards Deming was a man of many skills: professor, author, lecturer, mathematician. His most famous contribution was in the area of management. Specifically, in the world of quality management, Deming's methods aided Japan's transformation from a third-world country to the richest in the world in the 1980s.
There is a great deal to learn from Deming. My short study of the man has given me the following, which I wish to pass along. "The 14 Points" is from Out of Crisis. This is organizational management at its finest!
The 14 points
1. Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive and to stay in business, and to provide jobs.
2. Adopt the new philosophy. We are in a new economic age. Western management must awaken to the challenge, must learn their responsibilities, and take on leadership for change.
3. Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for inspection on a mass basis by building quality into the product in the first place.
4. End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag. Instead, minimize total cost. Move toward a single supplier for any one item, on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust.
5. Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease costs.
6. Institute training on the job.
7. Institute leadership. The aim of supervision should be to help people and machines and gadgets to do a better job. Supervision of management is in need of overhaul, as well as supervision of production workers.
8. Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company.
9. Break down barriers between departments. People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team, to foresee problems of production and in use that may be encountered with the product or service.
10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the work force asking for zero defects and new levels of productivity. Such exhortations only create adversarial relationships, as the bulk of the causes of low quality and low productivity belong to the system and thus lie beyond the power of the work force.
* Eliminate work standards (quotas) on the factory floor. Substitute leadership.
* Eliminate management by objective. Eliminate management by numbers, numerical goals. Substitute leadership.
11. Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of his right to pride of workmanship. The responsibility of supervisors must be changed from sheer numbers to quality.
12. Remove barriers that rob people in management and in engineering of their right to pride of workmanship. This means, inter alia, abolishment of the annual or merit rating and of management by objective.
13. Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement.
14. Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody's job.
The point about driving out fear (#14) is very important, in my opinion. I worked for a company where management "lead" with fear rather than respect. It resulted in a lot of mistakes and poor workmanship getting farther into the system than they should have, because people were afraid to admit their mistakes.
The worst of these mistakes, during my time with the company, cost them $10,000. If people hadn't been afraid to admit their mistakes, the error likely would have been much less costly as it would have been dealt with much sooner.
But, because there was an atmosphere of fear, the person who made the error didn't own up to it until he was unable to deny it. By that point, it was too late.
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