Edwards Deming – Life Story and Teachings

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Deming Is best known for:

The 14 points for Managing: Deming's fourteen points are management for transformation.

The Deming Cycle: PDCA Cycle for continual improvement.

The system of Profound Knowledge: (How should managers acquire new knowledge of the system?)

KEY Takeaways

  • Deming's teaching had much impact in the world of management.
  • His concepts shaped the way manufacturing industries worldwide operate today.
  • Deming's fourteen points helped transform manufacturing in America and changed the way we think about management forever.

A Brief Introduction:

Edwards Deming was a prominent consultant, teacher, and author on the subject of Quality Management. Deming has published more than 200 works, including well-known books "Quality, Productivity and Competitive Position" and "Out of the Crisis".


1946: After sharing his expertise in statistical quality control to help the US war effort during World War II, the War Department sent Deming to Japan to help the nation recover from its wartime losses. Deming taught Statistical Process Control (SPC) to the leaders of prominent Japanese organizations.

1951: The Deming Prize was established. The first Deming Prize ceremony was held on Sept 22, 1951.

1956: Deming was awarded the Shewhart medal by the American Society for Quality Control (ASQC - Now ASQ)

1960: Deming was honoured by the Japanese Emperor with the Second Order of the Sacred Treasure for his teachings

If Japan can Why can't we?

This was an American television episode broadcast by NBC News. This was part of the television show NBC White Paper on June 24, 1980. This TV documentary is credited with beginning the Quality Revolution in America and introducing the methods of W. Edwards Deming to American managers.

The Deming Cycle - PDCA

PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) is an iterative four-step management method used in business to control and continuously improve processes and products. It is also known as the Deming circle or the Shewhart cycle.

A variation of this is the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle.


Plan the action. Assess the current and future state, and plan how to close the gap. Identify alternate solutions.


Try out or test the solutions (sometimes at a pilot level).


Check to see if the tested solutions accomplished the objective.


Analyze the difference between actual and planned results. If the gap is significant, determine the root cause and request corrective action.

The Deming System of Profound Knowledge

The System of Profound Knowledge, or management by positive cooperation, is described in its four interrelated elements.

Appreciation for a System

The need for managers to understand the relationships between functions and activities and that the long-term aim is for everyone to win employees, shareholders, customers, suppliers and the environment.

Knowledge of Variation

Knowledge and understanding of variation, process capability, control charts, interactions and the loss function.

Theory of Knowledge

As all plans require prediction based on historical information, the theory must be understood before it can successfully be copied.

Knowledge of Psychology

Understanding human interactions, how people are motivated and what disillusions them.

The 14 points of managing

Deming's fourteen points for Total Quality Management include:

1. Create constancy of purpose

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

2. Adopt the new philosophy

Adopt the new philosophy. We are in a new economic age. Western management must awaken to the challenge, learn their responsibilities, and take on leadership for change.

3. Cease dependence on inspection

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

End the practice of awarding business on the basis of the 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

Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service to improve quality and productivity, thus constantly decreasing costs.

6. Institute training

Institute training on the job.

7. Institute leadership

Institute leadership (see Point 12). The aim of supervision should be to help people and machines and gadgets to do a better job. Supervision of management needs an overhaul, as well as supervision of production workers.

8. Drive out fear

Drive out fear so that everyone may work effectively for the company.

9. Break down barriers

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

Eliminate work standards (quotas) on the factory floor. Substitute leadership.

Eliminate management by objective. Eliminate management by numbers and numerical goals. Substitute leadership.

11. Pride of workmanship

Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of his right to pride in workmanship. The responsibility of supervisors must be changed from sheer numbers to quality.

12. Abolishment of the annual or merit rating

Remove barriers that rob people in management and engineering of their right to pride in workmanship. This means, among other things, abolishing the annual or merit rating and Management by Objectives.

13. Education and self-improvement

Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement.

14. Transformation

Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. Transformation is everybody's job.

The Deming Chain

The Deming chain explains why companies should invest efforts, time, and resources into improving their products or services.

Improving quality leads to fewer mistakes, leading to decreased costs by reducing the amount spent on reworks and corrections. It also leads to better productivity.

The decreased cost and better productivity allow companies to make their product or deliver their service at a lower price.

With lower prices and better quality, companies can compete better and capture a bigger market share. This will lead them to stay and grow in the competitive market.

This, in turn, will provide better employment opportunities to workers and a better return on investment to the management and shareholders.


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