Before Deming’s 14 Points for Management

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By John Hunter, author of the Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog (since 2004).

The French Deming Association has a mission to implement the management theory designed by Deming. They offer The New Economics and Out of the Crisis in French as well as other related books.

Their web site also offers several interesting papers including: Before Deming’s 14 Points for Management by Jean-Marie Gogue, The French Deming Association.

In that paper Jean-Marie examines a speech W. Edwards Deming gave in Tokyo at the International Conference on Quality Control, with the title a “Quick Review of Some New Principles of Administration.” In that speech Dr. Deming proposed 25 principles for management (as Jean-Marie’s title suggests this is before Deming used the 14 points for management).

(principles 1 to 5) – The new philosophy
These five principles concern the supervision of production-workers, the best practices for training and hiring, the failure of specification limits to guide the production-worker and the need to include the concept of statistical control in job descriptions. It is clearly stated that management must use control charts in order to separate problems which belong to the system from those which belong to individuals or special events.

(principles 6 to 11) Economic losses
These six principles require management to take measures in order to reduce chaos in the company, and consequently to eliminate the source of big economic losses. They establish that causes of high production costs may be usefully subsumed under two categories called: «Faults of the system (common or environmental causes)» and «Special causes». Percentages are estimated: 85% for the former and 15% for the latter.

(principles 12 to 15) Constantly improve the production-line, viewed as a system
These four principles stress the fact that problems of the system are problems for management and show the way to solve them.

(principles 16 to 21) The consumer is the most important point
This six principles concern the producer-consumer relations. A fundamental rule, that Deming explained later in Out of the Crisis, was stated as follows: «Performance of a product is the result of interaction between three participants: (1) the product itself; (2) the user and how he uses the product; (3) instructions for use, training of customer; service provided for repair.

photo of Dr. Deming shaking hands with workers at Ricoh
The photo shows W. Edwards Deming greeting workers at Ricoh in Japan in the 1970s. It wasn’t taken at the speech discussed in this post.

The paper provides a fascinating look at the history of the presentation of Deming’s ideas. Even more important the paper provides insight into the Deming management system and the challenges of convincing managers to adopt new ideas in their practice of management.

Related: The Development of Deming’s Management System (Mike Tvitte’s presentation at the Annual Deming Conference)Speech by Dr. Deming to Japanese Business Leaders in 1950Dr. Deming’s Work Papers at the Library of CongressRon Moen Webcast: Prediction is the ProblemThe History and Evolution of the PDSA Cycle

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