W. Edwards Deming’s Improving Quality Approach

W. Edwards Deming was the American who showed first the Japanese and then the world how to improve quality while simultaneously reducing manufacturing costs. The Deming Prize is the oldest and most widely recognized quality award in the world given to both individuals and organizations.

The underlying principle of the Deming approach is continuous self-inspection and self-improvement. In traditional approaches, quality control is a specialized task placed at the end of the manufacturing process. If the product failed to pass inspection, the cost of producing the product was wasted.

Deming showed how to build quality into the manufacturing process by empowering workers through collaboration.

The result was zero defects and improved the quality at less cost.

Deming believed that, in an atmosphere of cooperation and collaboration, everyone wins.

This view is in contrast to the usual competitive approach, which implies that if one person wins, the other person loses—that the winner gets the loser’s piece of the pie.

Deming showed that people working together can make the pie bigger. Rather than building barriers, which is often a result of competition, he believed in breaking down barriers so that people could derive more joy from their efforts.

Among his prime principles were continuous improvement, driving out fear, and building trust—rather than aiming at control.

Deming understood that you cannot legislate or dictate desire and that it is internal motivation, such as desire, that is the key to improved results.

This is from the Phi Delta Kappan article by Dr. Marvin Marshall