demings-14-points

Deming’s 14 Points In A Nutshell

Deming’s 14 points, also known as the Deming model of quality management, is the brainchild of American engineer, professor, statistician, and management consultant Edwards Deming.  Deming’s 14 points clarify how an organization can transform into a more efficient and optimized management style.

Understanding Deming’s 14 points 

After the conclusion of World War II, Deming traveled to Japan where he played a pivotal role in the country’s economic recovery.

More specifically, Deming visited manufacturing companies and used statistical analysis to increase productivity and reduce expenses.

Deming took what he learned in Japan and developed the “Systems of Profound Knowledge” which are comprised of 14 key principles for management.

These principles, which were first presented in the 2000 book Out of the Crisis, enable companies to transition from the present style of management to one of optimization. 

Deming’s 14 points of quality management

Deming’s 14 points serve as principles that any organization can follow as part of total quality management (TQM) implementation.

Each principle is transformative, emphasizes leadership, and prioritizes quality. Each is also interconnected, which means they are most effective when applied at the same time.

With that said, let’s take a brief look at the principles below.

1 – Create constancy of purpose toward improvement

Rather than devising short-term solutions, organizations should think long-term and continuously focus on enhancing their products and services.

2 – Adopt the new philosophy

This calls on management to choose to no longer accept the current or ingrained level of delays, mistakes, or defects that arise from workers or materials.

3 – Cease dependence on inspections

Prevention of defects is a better option than trying to detect them. Statistical evidence can then prove that quality is built into processes. 

4 – Use a single supplier for any one item

When companies deal with multiple suppliers, the likelihood of variation increases.

The best course of action is to develop long-term relationships with fewer suppliers based on the quality level of their output.

Businesses should never enter into relationships with suppliers based on cost considerations alone.

Further to the point above, suppliers who cannot provide statistical evidence of exceptional quality should be avoided.

5 – Improve constantly and forever

This means constant evaluation and improvement of systems and processes to maximize productivity. It involves every level of the organization.

6 – Institute on-the-job training

On-the-job training enables the organization to build a solid foundation of common knowledge.

Investment in training also helps employees understand the meaning of consistency and their role in the context of broader objectives. 

7 – Institute leadership

Deming’s idea of a leader is one who takes an active role in removing the causes of failure.

Leaders must also strive to coach subordinates on the best course of action and help them reach their full potential.

8 – Eliminate fear

Management by fear may be somewhat effective in the short term but is counterproductive in the long term.

Eventually, employees will not act in the organization’s best interests.

9 – Break down barriers between departments

Quality products and services require collaboration and cooperation across multiple departments.

To facilitate this, Deming created the “internal customer” concept where each department (or function) is in service to any other that uses its outputs.

10 – Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets

Slogans such as “Excellence in service” are vague and leave employees wondering what is required of them.

What’s more, exhortations directed toward employees without an associated improvement in processes creates conflict and resentment.

Leaders should outline their expectations face-to-face and let people know exactly what is required of them from the start. 

11 – Eliminate quotas and numerical targets

Companies need to consider how the process is carried out and avoid becoming preoccupied with targets.

Deming noted that production targets favor high output but low quality. To increase quality, the necessary support and resources must be in place.

12 – Remove barriers to pride of workmanship

This means all employees can take pride in their work which is not rated or compared to the work of others. 

Instead of using reward systems to encourage quality output, use the quality systems themselves.

13 – Institute education and self-improvement programs

Employee education is essential if an organization is to continuously improve. Education is a form of self-development that increases performance and morale and opens up new growth opportunities.

14 – Make transformation everyone’s job

Lastly, Deming noted that everyone is responsible for transformation since organizations and the departments they comprise are interconnected.

Leaders must drive the process and allow employees to build the trust and skills to confidently implement new ideas.

Key takeaways:

  • Deming’s 14 points clarify how an organization can transform into a more efficient and optimized management style.
  • Deming’s 14 points serve as principles that any organization can follow as part of total quality management (TQM) implementation. Each principle is transformative, emphasizes leadership, and prioritizes quality.
  • Some of Deming’s 14 points relate to long-term thinking, avoidance of fear-based management, and the elimination of slogans, exhortations, quotas, and numerical targets.

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