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The Deming Approach

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The Deming Approach

W. Edward Deming's philosophy is one that focuses on continuous improvement at all levels of an organization for all products and services. The philosophy is articulated in Deming's 14 Points and Seven Deadly Diseases. Deming's philosophy and TQM go hand in hand. You would be hard-pressed to find a TQM implementation that did not have Deming's philosophy as part of its foundation. Deming noted the villain was variation, and variation exists in everything. Our challenge is to identify and reduce variation in order to improve the quality of the items produced or services provided.
For years, many struggled with Deming's points. Some complained that many of the points were not realistic, asking, for example, how can you run a business without using numbers? Doing so was just not possible, they said. In his 1993 book, The New Economics for Industry, Government & Education, Deming provided insight into his thinking. In the text is a chapter titled Theory of Profound Knowledge. Here, Deming outlined the basic thinking for creating change. There were some who intuitively understood his theory years before it was published. Those were the people and groups that had been successful in implementing TQM. The changes required to implement Deming's philosophy are not easy and will take time, but the rewards are worth the changes. We only need to look a Toyota to see just what can be accomplished!
For many, if not most, U.S. businesses, Deming's ideas are revolutionary and insightful. By adding the customer to the process, he took Walter Shewhart's Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) plan for continuous improvement and provided us with one of the first looks at a systems approach for running a business. Refer to Figure 1.3 in the textbook for details. We can now see how a systems view can benefit everyone in the system, including the customer.
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