W. Edwards Deming is a giant figure in the realm of quality management. In the aftermath of the second world war, Japanese companies turned to Deming, an industrial expert, for his input on creating top quality products.
These same companies, including Toyota and Sony, rebuilt the Japanese economy and became global competitors, besting many American companies.
Deming identified fourteen key principles that companies should follow in pursuit of quality. I highlight some of them and examine them from a 40 Principles point of view.
Deming Principle 1:
Create constancy of purpose for improving products and services.
Here Deming is making the point that quality is not something looked at periodically. It is a constant activity. The inventive principle here is Principle 20 – Continuity of Useful Action.
Deming Principle 3:
Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality.
This relates closely to the first Deming principle, encouraging us to create processes that don’t rely on inspection but rather have quality “baked in”. For example, if a process to join two parts is error prone, work on the process, don’t rely on inspection to catch bad work. This results in rework costs and risks that errors won’t be caught. Principle 2 – Taking Out
Deming Principle 4:
End the practice of awarding business on price alone; instead, minimize total cost by working with a single supplier.
The emphasis here is on total cost. It may be possible to flit from one supplier to another when the part cost is lower, but this overlooks the value of continuous improvement and its impact on quality. A new supplier’s parts may disrupt this progress. Sticking with one supplier encourages a true partnership, merging the capabilities of the two companies. Principle 5 – Merging
Deming Principle 5:
Improve constantly and forever every process for planning, production and service.
This is another parallel with Principle 20 – Continuity of Useful Action.
Deming Principle 9:
Break down barriers between staff areas.
Beyond a certain size any organization will use segmentation (Principle 1 – Segmentation) to organize its activities. This segmentation can lead to communication barriers. Deming is encouraging each segment of the company to be more “porous”, i.e. to let ideas and information in and out more easily. Principle 31 – Porous Materials
Deming Principle 13:
Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement for everyone.
A quality organization needs quality people, and allowing your people the time to pursue self-development is key to this. Principle 25 – Self Service
The focus of Deming’s 14 principles is that an engaged and educated team can work together to fix the problems that cause errors, rather than devote time to fixing errors. Principle 10 – Prior Action