[permaculture] The Deming 14 Points of Management

Lawrence F. London, Jr. lflj at intrex.net
Sat May 17 02:24:01 EDT 2008

The Deming 14 Points of Management

Dr. W. Edwards Deming is known as the father of the Japanese post-war industrial revival and was regarded by many as the 
leading quality guru in the United States. He passed on in 1993.

Trained as a statistician, his expertise was used during World War II to assist the United States in its effort to 
improve the quality of war materials.

He was invited to Japan at the end of World War II by Japanese industrial leaders and engineers. They asked Dr. Deming 
how long it would take to shift the perception of the world from the existing paradigm that Japan produced cheap, shoddy 
imitations to one of producing innovative quality products.

Dr. Deming told the group that if they would follow his directions, they could achieve the desired outcome in five 
years. Few of the leaders believed him. But they were ashamed to say so and would be embarrassed if they failed to 
follow his suggestions.
As Dr. Deming told it, "They surprised me and did it in four years."

He was invited back to Japan time after time where he became a revered counselor. For his efforts he was awarded the 
Second Order of the Sacred Treasure by the former Emperor Hirohito.

Japanese scientists and engineers named the famed Deming Prize after him. It is bestowed on organizations that apply and 
achieve stringent quality-performance criteria.

Deming's business philosophy is summarized in his famous "14 Points," listed below. These points have inspired 
significant changes among a number of leading US companies striving to compete in the world's increasingly competitive 

But the 14 Points pose a challenge for many firms to figure out how to apply them in a meaningful way that will result 
in continual improvement. Leadership Institute has developed powerful processes for coaching executive teams, and 
eventually their entire organizations, to begin accomplishing what Deming referred to as "the transformation."

His work is outlined in two books: Out of the Crisis and The New Economics, in which he spells out his System of 
Profound Knowledge.

1. Constancy of purpose

Create constancy of purpose for continual improvement of products and service to society, allocating resources to 
provide for long range needs rather than only short term profitability, with a plan to become competitive, to stay in 
business, and to provide jobs.

2. The new philosophy

Adopt the new philosophy. We are in a new economic age, created in Japan. We can no longer live with commonly accepted 
levels of delays, mistakes, defective materials, and defective workmanship. Transformation of Western management style 
is necessary to halt the continued decline of business and industry.

3. Cease dependence on mass inspection

Eliminate the need for mass inspection as the way of life to achieve quality by building quality into the product in the 
first place. Require statistical evidence of built in quality in both manufacturing and purchasing functions.

4. End lowest tender contracts

End the practice of awarding business solely on the basis of price tag. Instead require meaningful measures of quality 
along with price. Reduce the number of suppliers for the same item by eliminating those that do not qualify with 
statistical and other evidence of quality. The aim is to minimize total cost, not merely initial cost, by minimizing 
variation. This may be achieved by moving toward a single supplier for any one item, on a long term relationship of 
loyalty and trust. Purchasing managers have a new job, and must learn it.

5. Improve every process

Improve constantly and forever every process for planning, production, and service. Search continually for problems in 
order to improve every activity in the company, to improve quality and productivity, and thus to constantly decrease 
costs. Institute innovation and constant improvement of product, service, and process. It is management's job to work 
continually on the system (design, incoming materials, maintenance, improvement of machines, supervision, training, 

6. Institute training on the job

Institute modern methods of training on the job for all, including management, to make better use of every employee. New 
skills are required to keep up with changes in materials, methods, product and service design, machinery, techniques, 
and service.

7. Institute leadership

Adopt and institute leadership aimed at helping people do a better job. The responsibility of managers and supervisors 
must be changed from sheer numbers to quality. Improvement of quality will automatically improve productivity. 
Management must ensure that immediate action is taken on reports of inherited defects, maintenance requirements, poor 
tools, fuzzy operational definitions, and all conditions detrimental to quality.

8. Drive out fear

Encourage effective two way communication and other means to drive out fear throughout the organization so that 
everybody may work effectively and more productively for the company.

9. Break down barriers

Break down barriers between departments and staff areas. People in different areas, such as Leasing, Maintenance, 
Administration, must work in teams to tackle problems that may be encountered with products or service.

10. Eliminate exhortations

Eliminate the use of slogans, posters and exhortations for the work force, demanding Zero Defects and new levels of 
productivity, without providing methods. Such exhortations only create adversarial relationships; the bulk of the causes 
of low quality and low productivity belong to the system, and thus lie beyond the power of the work force.

11. Eliminate arbitrary numerical targets

Eliminate work standards that prescribe quotas for the work force and numerical goals for people in management. 
Substitute aids and helpful leadership in order to achieve continual improvement of quality and productivity.

12. Permit pride of workmanship

Remove the barriers that rob hourly workers, and people in management, of their right to pride of workmanship. This 
implies, among other things, abolition of the annual merit rating (appraisal of performance) and of Management by 
Objective. Again, the responsibility of managers, supervisors, foremen must be changed from sheer numbers to quality.

13. Encourage education

Institute a vigorous program of education, and encourage self improvement for everyone. What an organization needs is 
not just good people; it needs people that are improving with education. Advances in competitive position will have 
their roots in knowledge.

14. Top management commitment and action

Clearly define top management's permanent commitment to ever improving quality and productivity, and their obligation to 
implement all of these principles. Indeed, it is not enough that top management commit themselves for life to quality 
and productivity. They must know what it is that they are committed to—that is, what they must do. Create a structure in 
top management that will push every day on the preceding 13 Points, and take action in order to accomplish the 
transformation. Support is not enough: action is required!

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