The Essential Deming

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The Essential Deming W. Edwards Deming
Another one from the anti-modernist school, Deming was an American engineer, physical professor and statistician who spent time in Japan after the war helping tool up Japan’s manufacturing industries, and later moved to management consulting. His view is that American industry — by which he meant the management of American industry — had dug itself into a complacent hole. His prescription were charmingly counter-faculty, molesworthian, back-of the classroom hiffing paper-darts efforts.

Best known for Out of the Crisis.

The problem of improving and innovating does not lie with the production worker, but with management: attempts by workers at the coalface to make things better often, strategically, make them worse. This is not the fault of the production worker — the great majority of workers want to do the best job they can and generally do so. In fact, it is management’s responsibility to get this right, so that the production line doesn’t have to. Put another way, if it is the production line’s problem what is management actually for? What is needed for management is not goals, but the constant improvement of design and process at the source.

Management should be hard. It should involve engagement with the production line.

It will not suffice to match the competition. it is necessary to outdo specifications: to move continuously towards better and better products. There is no optimum equilibrium point.

Seek loyal, not just satisfied, customers. It will not suffice to have customers that are merely satisfied. Satisfied customers switch for no good reason, just to try something else. Profit and growth come from customers who can boast about your service. Loyal customers don’t need to be advertised to: they do the advertising for you. Don’t focus on the product, focus on the satisfaction of the customer.

Performance appraisal rewards people who conform to the system; it does not reward attempts to improve the system.

If you run your company on visible figures you will have neither figures nor a company. Important figures are unknowable: the multiplying effect of a happy customer who brings repeast business to the company, or the group of employees who function as an effective team (again this observastion that the difference between performance and effective performance - the work-to-rule.

Forced ranking and grades. and the gasmification of business. Why do we insist there is only one winner? the whole lesson of commerce is that it is not a zero-sum game.