Understanding Deming’s 14 Point-Philosophy
Dr. W. Edwards Deming came up with 14 principles of management which were aimed at significantly improving the efficiency of the top brass of an organization. A good number of the principles are philosophical, but others are programmatic. However, all stress transformation of the enterprise. The principles were first published in his book Out of the Crisis.
The 14 principles of quality management offer the foundation for business leaders to follow good management practices. Each is listed below with a brief explanation of the major takeaway from each point:
- Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive and to stay in business and to provide jobs:
Management could become overcome by today’s challenges, forgetting the fact that future problems require dedication and constant purpose if the company is to survive the modern competitive environment.
- Adopt the new philosophy. We are in a new economic age. Western management must awaken to the challenge, must learn their responsibilities, and take on leadership for change:
Antitrust rules and regulations set out by governmental agencies should be designed to be supportive of the well-being of the people behind organizations.
- Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for inspection on a mass basis by building quality into the product in the first place:
Once a product is out in the market, it is too late to rectify quality issues. They need to be handled in production.
- End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag. Instead, minimize total cost. Move toward a single supplier for any one item, on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust:
No matter how good suppliers or service providers are, if they try to drive down a product’s price without considering quality, they will soon be out of business.
- Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease costs:
Constant improvement in testing methodologies is necessary if an organization wants to understand the value a product provides to the customer.
- Institute training on the job:
Management needs to understand the problems that workers face and resolve them so that they can complete their tasks satisfactorily.
- Institute leadership. The aim of supervision should be to help people and machines and gadgets to do a better job:
Managers should learn to fix problems instead of reacting to each fault as a special cause, as it can result in a higher occurrence of defects.
- Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company:
Employees should be given the freedom to ask questions and express ideas. When they fear management, then they may end up padding figures and hiding mistakes.
- Break down barriers between departments. People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team to foresee problems of production and use that may be encountered with the product or service:
Teamwork and communication is an important part of a properly functioning and successful enterprise.
- Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the work force asking for zero defects and new levels of productivity:
Putting up slogans creates adversarial relationships within an organization. Most of the causes of low quality and reduced productivity are systematic and not as a result of the work of any one individual.
- Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of his right to pride of workmanship. The responsibility of supervisors must be changed from sheer numbers to quality:
Workmen need to be encouraged to take pride in their work by eliminating work quotas. If leadership takes the place of work standards, there is a corresponding increase in productivity and job satisfaction.
- Remove barriers that rob people in management and in engineering of their right to pride of workmanship. This means, inter alia, abolishment of the annual or merit rating and of management by objective:
Merit rating offers rewards to individuals who perform well within an existing system, but does not recognize attempts at improvement of business processes.
- Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement:
Management needs to put in place a policy that encourages employees to pursue education and embrace self-improvement.
- Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody’s job:
Everyone in the organization should be given a chance to put forward their ideas and formulate new plans that can contribute to customer satisfaction.
Dr. Deming, through his 14 points, shows that many of the problems organizations face when trying to achieve their goals are down to systemic errors and not employee faults. He arrived at his conclusions through the use of statistical analysis and comparison of the effect of people and the system on corporate performance.