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W. Edwards Deming, Out of the Crisis (1982)W. Edwards Deming, Out of the Crisis (1982)


Deming (pictured right) taught the Japanese about quality improvement in the 1950’s. He died in 1993.

He was the most influential thinker in total quality management.


See also...

W. Edwards Deming in the Management Gurus section. 


Book summary


14 points for quality, competitiveness and innovation 


1. Customer driven purpose

Constantly striving to satisfy present and future customers’ needs through:W. Edwards Deming, Out of the Crisis (1982)

  • innovation.
  • better design.

Quality is customer satisfaction.


 2. People philosophyW. Edwards Deming, Out of the Crisis (1982)

The organization must value its employees and their:

  • contribution to quality improvement.
  • need for job satisfaction and employment security.

“No one should lose his job for contributing to quality and productivity”, says Deming.


3. Production process

  • replace inspection and supervision by incorporating quality into the production process.
  • make self-managing, multi-functional teams of 5-15 employees responsible for quality improvement 

These teams are “QC [quality control] circles” (now known as quality circles).


 W. Edwards Deming, Out of the Crisis (1982)

4. Teamwork

Break down barriers between departments, so that people can work in quality control circles (see point 3).



5. Cost minimization (with quality suppliers)

  • create a long term relationship with a single supplier for any one item.
  • don’t buy from a supplier on price alone.

 W. Edwards Deming, Out of the Crisis (1982)

6. Continuous improvement

Constantly improve quality, productivity and the production or customer service system.



7. Training

Encourage training on the job.

  W. Edwards Deming, Out of the Crisis (1982)


8. Drive out fear

(in the hearts of employees)



9. Eliminate slogans, exhortations and employee targets (like zero defects)

(because most causes of poor quality are not in employees’ control but in the production system).



10. Avoid numerical goals for managers and employees

Replace them with effective leadership.

 W. Edwards Deming, Out of the Crisis (1982)

11. Pride of workmanship

Emphasize the quality and fulfilment of work.


12. EducationW. Edwards Deming, Out of the Crisis (1982)

Vigorously support education - for example in

  • statistical quality control methods.
  • self-improvement.


13. Quality is everybody’s job

Every employee must work to achieve it, not just the quality control department.

The Shewhart (now sometimes called Deming) cycle is useful here:

  • plan. 
  • act. 
  • observe. 
  • evaluate.


14. Leadership

Leaders should give their long term commitment to quality and enable people to find quality improvement themselves through:W. Edwards Deming, Out of the Crisis (1982)

  • making sure employees' work is satisfying and well understood (so that they “do a better job with less effort”).
  • coaching
  • removing the causes of failure.
  • ensuring consistency of performance.
  • asking the right questions and patiently finding the right answers.

 W. Edwards Deming, Out of the Crisis (1982)

Patience is required...

Because the 14 points will take at least 10 years to implement successfully.


Key quotes on quality

Inspection to improve quality is too late, ineffective, costly...Quality comes not from inspection, but from improvement in the production process.

Quality control is an obsession.


Key quotes on customers

The customer is the most important part of the production line.

Profit comes from repeat customers – those that boast about the product or service.


Key quote on management

The job of management is not supervision, but leadership.



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