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.

Deming's 14 Principles of Managing

Principle Number Principle Description What Companies Should Do?
1 Create constancy of purpose Establish long-term objectives for innovation, quality, and productivity. 1. Set clear long-term goals.
2. Communicate objectives to employees.
3. Align projects and initiatives with objectives.
2 Adopt the new philosophy Embrace the philosophy of continuous improvement and strive for excellence. 1. Train employees in continuous improvement methods.
2. Encourage innovation.
3. Recognize and reward excellence.
3 Cease dependence on inspection Build quality into the process, rather than relying on inspection to identify defects. 1. Implement quality control processes.
2. Use statistical process control.
3. Monitor and improve processes.
4 End the practice of awarding business on price alone Choose suppliers based on quality, reliability, and long-term partnerships. 1. Evaluate suppliers on multiple criteria.
2. Establish long-term relationships.
3. Collaborate to improve performance.
5 Improve constantly and forever Commit to continuous improvement in every aspect of the organization. 1. Set improvement targets.
2. Implement improvement projects.
3. Review and adjust regularly.
6 Institute training on the job Provide employees with the necessary skills and knowledge to perform their jobs effectively. 1. Assess skill gaps.
2. Provide relevant training.
3. Monitor progress and adjust training as needed.
7 Institute leadership Develop leaders who understand and guide their teams toward continuous improvement. 1. Identify potential leaders.
2. Train and mentor them.
3. Foster a culture of leadership and improvement.
8 Drive out fear Create an environment where employees feel safe to express their ideas and concerns. 1. Encourage open communication.
2. Address concerns promptly.
3. Create a blame-free culture.
9 Break down barriers between departments Encourage collaboration and teamwork across the organization. 1. Foster cross-functional teams.
2. Encourage information sharing.
3. Set shared objectives.
10 Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets Focus on the system and processes, not just numerical goals. 1. Set realistic targets.
2. Measure process performance.
3. Promote a culture of improvement.
11 Eliminate numerical quotas Replace quotas with continuous improvement and capacity planning. 1. Use process metrics.
2. Focus on customer needs.
3. Improve capacity planning.
12 Remove barriers to pride of workmanship Enable employees to take pride in their work by providing the necessary resources and support. 1. Provide resources and tools.
2. Encourage employee ownership.
3. Recognize good work.
13 Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement Invest in the development of employees at all levels of the organization. 1. Offer training opportunities.
2. Support career development.
3. Encourage continuous learning.
14 Transformation Involve everyone in the organization in the pursuit of continuous improvement. 1. Communicate the vision.
2. Assign roles and responsibilities.
3. Monitor and celebrate progress.

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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Genichi Taguchi

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