Rethink Your Business: Deming's 14 Points

Dr. W. Edwards Deming is credited with transforming postwar Japanese manufacturing and business management. Many consider him to be the father of Lean manufacturing and related quality improvement endeavors.

Deming's timeless principles of management apply to small organizations and large ones, and are equally relevant for business, education and government. They seem as important or even more important today than they were sixty-one years ago.

Every time I review these concepts, I discover new insights. Perhaps you will, too.

Deming's 14 Points for Management

1. Create constancy of purpose for the improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive, stay in business, and provide jobs.

2. Adopt a new philosophy of cooperation (win-win) in which everybody wins and put it into practice by teaching it to employees, customers and suppliers.

3. Cease dependence on mass inspection to achieve quality. Instead, improve the process and build quality into the product in the first place.

4. End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag alone. Instead, minimize total cost in the long run. Move toward a single supplier for any one item, based on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust.

5. Improve constantly, and forever, the system of production, service, planning, of any activity. This will improve quality and productivity and thus constantly decrease costs.

6. Institute training for skills.

7. Adopt and institute leadership for the management of people, recognizing their different abilities, capabilities, and aspirations. The aim of leadership should be to help people, machines, and gadgets do a better job. Leadership of management is in need of overhaul, as well as leadership of production workers.

8. Drive out fear and build trust so that everyone can work more effectively.

9. Break down barriers between departments. Abolish competition and build a win-win system of cooperation within the organization. People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team to foresee problems of production and use that might be encountered with the product or service.

10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets asking for zero defects or 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.

11. Eliminate numerical goals, numerical quotas and management by objectives. Substitute leadership.

12. Remove barriers that rob people of joy in their work. This will mean abolishing the annual rating or merit system that ranks people and creates competition and conflict.

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.

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See also: Deming Institute

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