Deming philosophy is given in 14 points. Most of these points were given in a seminar for 21 presidents of leading Japanese industries in 1950. The rest were developed and the original ones modified over a period of three decades.
Deming does not consider it as sufficient merely to solve problems, big or small. He seeks a major transformation in the current practices of Western management. He suggests that a basis for this transformation is provided by his fourteen points, whose adoption and implementation would be a sign that the management intends to stay in business and aims to protect investors and jobs. The fourteen points also provide the basis for a theory of management. There is no excuse anymore for ignoring or misusing the science of managing for quality. An applicable theory does exist, a theory that has already been successfully put into practice by the Japanese. Deming’s theory of management defines the steps required for transforming a company’s quality culture, but also extends to the definition of what he calls the deadly sins and diseases that are crippling virtually every company in the West.
What has to be clearly appreciated before any attempts are made at implementing Deming’s philosophy is the level of corporate cultural change required. The quality initiative has to start at the top and many traditional views have to be substantially altered. A management commitment to a complete transformation of the current (bad) practices is absolutely necessary for survival and competitive success in this new economic age. This necessity is revealed by almost all of Deming’s fourteen points. [ Deming Philosophy ]
Create Constancy of Purpose for Continual Improvement of Product and Service
Management should demonstrate constantly their commitment to this statement. Set the course today in order to be in business tomorrow, to become more competitive and to provide more jobs. Provide for long-term needs rather than short-term profits. Investment on preventive maintenance today can avoid major operational problems tomorrow. Investment in quality and innovation now is certain to ensure the existence and competitiveness of the company ten, twenty or thirty years from now. This is because quality in processes and products always results in less scrap, less reworking, reduced inspection and warranty costs and higher productivity and customer satisfaction. On the other hand, innovation guarantees the consumer’s repeated return and the company’s enhanced reputation and market share.
The long-term constancy of purpose for continuous improvement and innovation is an obligation that management should accept as a number one priority. Management should confront any deviations from this direction and immediately deal with them. Resources have to be allocated for long-term planning with the faith that there will be a future. This faith has to be demonstrated continuously on a day-to-day basis by top management in order to motivate employees and convince them of the seriousness of their efforts. Convincing can become easier if genuine long-term aims about quality are properly communicated in the form of clear policies which leave no doubt about their long-term purpose. In this way, nobody will be in any doubt about why the company is in business and what the future holds in store. If the thinking is only short-term, the decline is guaranteed.
The right balance has to be found in the allocation of efforts for dealing, on the one hand, with the problems of today and, on the other, with the problems of tomorrow. While you firefight for the sake of today, your competitor does not stand still.
The investment in innovative methods and techniques, in new skills and materials, in research and education and in continuous improvement in the design of products and services are the elements that can demonstrate constancy of purpose for survival, today and tomorrow. The constancy of purpose for competitive success is demonstrated by continuous consumer research. Without it, a manufacturer can hardly hope to stay ahead of the competition. As Deming says, it is not merely enough to satisfy the customer. If you do not want to lose the customer to a competitor, you should completely delight him/her with your product or service, so that she/he can boast about it and bring more customers. Investigating what the customer needs or will need tomorrow should be an integral part of production activities. Consumer research has to continue after a product has been sold. This has to be done in order to investigate whether the product fulfils its purpose, what the user thinks of it and perhaps more importantly, why the non-user has not bought it. Valuable information thus gained could make all the difference between future success and failure for the company. This information can make it easier to make predictions, a necessity for proper future planning. But no prediction is possible without stability. [ Deming Philosophy ]