Deming’s 14 Points

Table of Contents:-

  • Deming’s 14 Points
  • Who was Demings?
  • Deming’s Contributions to Quality
  • Deming’s Chain Reaction
  • Deming’s Deadly Sins

Deming’s 14 Points

The famous Deming’s 14 Points are listed as follows:

  1. Create Constancy of Purpose
  2. Adopt a New Philosophy of Quality
  3. Cease Dependence on Final Inspection
  4. Wastes should be Eliminated
  5. Encourage Workers
  6. Barriers should be Removed
  7. Eliminate Slogans and Exhortations for Workers
  8. Encourage Self-Improvement
  9. Encourage Education
  10. Eliminate Numerical Goals and Targets
  11. Drive out Fear
  12. Institute On The Job Training
  13. Consider the Total Cost, not just the Initial Price
  14. Top Management Commitment

Deming’s 14 Points are summarised below:

1) Create Constancy of Purpose

Consistency of purpose is a must for the continuous improvement of a product. Managers must make sure that the company’s vision of quality is understood by all the employees and that they move constantly towards it.

2) Adopt a New Philosophy of Quality

Continuous change and innovation are required for the survival of every organization in a dynamic business environment. In today’s complex business situations, a small group of managers can’t identify and sort out quality problems. Therefore, all the employees have to be actively involved in this process.

3) Cease Dependence on Final Inspection

Quality cannot be achieved only by inspection. Inspection wastes valuable production time and adds to the product’s cost without any value addition. Inspections may not be perfect, therefore, it may cause some defects to be passed on to the customer. Defects are symptoms removed by inspection, while the disease (root cause) remains intact. Inspections create a gap between the processes and people and that introduces defects and the processes and people that detect defects.

4) Wastes should be Eliminated

Waste should be eliminated not just in production but in every functional area. Even processes in accounting, HRM, customer service, and sales affect the quality of the product and, thus, generate waste. Therefore, the whole organization should contribute towards quality enhancement.

5) Encourage Workers

The attitude of managers and supervisors towards workers should be that of a facilitator. Supervisors should treat errors by workers as an opportunity to learn the process and systems better. Teamwork should be promoted and rewarded.

6) Barriers should be Removed

The barriers between individuals and departments should be removed. Problems should not be handled within strict functional limits and the concerns raised by related functional areas should not be ignored.

7) Eliminate Slogans and Exhortations for Workers

Posters and slogans should be eliminated. These methods must not be used to convince the workers to work hard. Instead, they should be provided with tools and training, so that they can work smartly which may lead to better quality of work life.

8) Encourage Self-Improvement

Remove obstacles in the good workmanship of hourly workers to instil a sense of pride in them.

9) Encourage Education

Vigorous programmes of education and retraining of employees are a must.

10) Eliminate Numerical Goals and Targets

Numerical targets and work standards may affect quality. Reasonable numerical targets make the workers complacent, while excessively demanding ones may lead to a compromise on quality to achieve the targets. Such targets cannot be eliminated, but can be set such that quality is not compromised,

11) Drive out Fear

Encourage workers to share quality improvement ideas without any kind of hesitation. Workers often withhold new ideas for change due to the potential need to adopt unfamiliar methods instead of relying on familiar but inefficient ones. Additionally, there is a concern that the failure of their ideas could greatly impact their performance appraisal, which may lead to job insecurity.

12) Institute On-The-Job Training

Employees should be trained on the job. Training on quality techniques should be continuous in an organization, as learning is part of the job and it never ends.

13) Consider the Total Cost, not just the Initial Price

The lowest price should not be the sole criterion for selecting a supplier. Suppliers who quote the lowest prices often provide low-quality products, resulting in an overall increase in costs for the buyer. This is due to additional expenses related to scrap, inspection, rework, and inventory replacement for defective items, among other factors. Therefore, it is advisable to choose the supplier offering the lowest total cost.

14) Top Management Commitment

The top management’s commitment to ever-improving quality is a must.

Who was Demings?

W. Edwards Deming, an American quality expert, became a Parama-guru (Guru par excellence) in Japan because he preached the philosophical basis of quality and productivity which were accepted, absorbed and implemented with sustained positive results by the Japanese. The highest award in the Japanese industrial circles is the Deming Prize for Quality.

Deming defines quality as a predictable degree of uniformity and dependability at a low cost and suited to the market. Deming teaches that 96% of variations have common causes and 4% have special causes. He views statistics as a management tool and relies on statistical process control as a means of managing variations in a process.

Deming developed what is known as the “Deming chain reaction”: As quality improves, costs decrease, and productivity increases, leading to more jobs, greater market share, and long-term survival. Although it is the worker who ultimately produces quality products, Deming emphasizes worker pride and satisfaction rather than the establishment of quantifiable goals. His overall approach focuses on the improvement of the process, in that the system, rather than the worker, is the cause of process variation.

Deming’s Contributions to Quality

W. Edwards Deming, who died in 1993, is considered by many to be the founding father of the modern quality movement. Perhaps the most widely known of the gurus, both within and outside the quality field, Deming’s four principal contributions to quality are as follows:

  1. Deming’s Chain Reaction
  2. Deming’s 14 Points
  3. Deming’s Deadly Sins
  4. PDSA Cycle
  5. Statistical Process Control 

Deming’s Chain Reaction

Dr. Deming termed the phenomenon of the multi-directional – advantages of quality thinking as a ‘Chain Reaction’, which culminates into maximisation of benefits for the customer, increased profits through business processes, and quality learning for the people involved in product and services realisation to facilitate process improvements for both the organisation and their vendors.

The Deming philosophy focuses on continuous improvements in service and product quality by reducing uncertainty and variability in manufacturing, design, and service processes, driven by the leadership of top management. Deming also postulated that higher quality leads to higher productivity, which in turn leads to long-term competitive strength. The Deming Chain Reaction theory summarises this view:

The theory is that improvements in quality lead to lower costs because they result in fewer mistakes, less rework, fewer delays and snags, and better use of materials and time. Lower costs, in turn, lead to improvements in productivity. With lower prices and better quality, a company can achieve a higher market share and thus, stay in business, providing more jobs. Deming stressed that top management must assume the overriding responsibility for the improvement of quality.

Deming stressed that higher quality leads to higher productivity, which in turn leads to long-term competitive strength. The Deming “chain reaction”, shown in the image below, summarises this view.

Deming’s Deadly Sins

Apart from his checklist of 14 points, intended as exhortations to management about what to do and what not to do if an organisation wants to prosper, William Deming is often quoted as identifying seven deadly sins which to him encapsulate the resistance to the new TQM approach. The seven deadly sins are explained as follows:

1) Lack of Constancy of Purpose

To plan products and services that will have a market keep the company in business and provide jobs.

As long as the focus remains on short-term thinking, management will fail to plan adequately. Without good long-term planning, workers’ efforts will be irrelevant. More significantly, this disease is a warning that TQM cannot be a fad. If management changes its philosophy by whatever the latest book it reads, then there will be no long-term forward progress.

2) Emphasis on Short-term Profits

Short-term thinking (just the opposite of constancy of purpose to stay in business), fed by fear of unfriendly takeover and by a push from bankers and owners for dividends. There is nothing easier to do than boost profits in the short term. All a manager has to do is cut any expense related to the long term, such as training, maintenance, and the purchase of new capital, etc.

3) Evaluation of Performance

Personal review systems, merit rating, annual review, or annual appraisal, by whatever name, for people in management, the effects of which are devastating. Management by objectives, on a go-no-go basis, without a method for accomplishing the objective, is essentially the same thing by another name. Management by fear would still be preferable.

The problem with merit systems is that they reward results rather than process improvement. Results will almost always have a lot of luck mixed in with the system.

Some managers want to reward people who co-operate more or who seem to have better attitudes. These managers will insist that they can recognise the people who are most cooperative and have the highest work ethic.

4) Mobility of Management

This is perhaps the simplest and yet one of the most deadly of diseases. When top management changes organisations every three or four years, that means continuous improvement efforts will be broken and disjointed as the new “leaders” come on board. Moreover, with leadership changes, there is frequently a change in management philosophy. How can there be a steadiness of purpose in such an environment?

When management does not commit to the long-term, how will they ever start thinking long-term? Managers who have an eye on the next promotion want results, now, to gain the next rung on the ladder.

5) Running a company on visible figures alone

The use of visible figures only for management, with little or no consideration of figures that are unknown or unknowable. Many consultants in the quality field have been quoted as saying, “If you cannot measure it, you can’t manage it.” Certainly Deming would have been one of the first to argue that good data is essential and should be factored into all decisions whenever possible. Deming was very critical of people who fail to use data when it is available.

For example, if a quality effort is truly justified, then it should cause operating costs to decline and overall sales to rise relative to what would have happened otherwise. This leads to a basic dilemma. How do you know what would have happened if you had kept on your prior course? How do you put a dollar value on the customer loyalty won through quality improvement efforts? You can’t! These numbers are unknowable. If you decide that TQM can be justified only if the benefits are measurable, then you might leave these factors out of your analysis and erroneously conclude that TQM is causing losses when, in reality, it is generating profits.

6) Excessive Medical Costs

American auto companies pay more for medical care than they do for steel. For the economy as a whole, health care as a percentage of overall expenditures has steadily risen for decades gradually pushing numerous business and government budgets into a state of crisis. Deming would have approved of the political system trying to reform healthcare.

7) Excessive Costs of Liability

Deming partially blamed America’s lawyers for the problems in American industry. The U.S. has more lawyers per capita than any other nation across the globe. They make their livings to a considerable extent by finding people to sue. Like health care costs, Deming believed the solution to this disease would probably have to come from the government.

Lesser Category of Obstacles

i) Neglecting long-range planning,

ii) Relying on technology to solve problems,

iii) Seeking examples to follow rather than creating solutions,

iv) Excuses, such as “Our problems are different.”


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