Paula Marshall’s Presentation at Our 2015 Conference on Using Deming’s Ideas at The Bama Companies

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

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Paula Marshall, CEO of The Bama Companies, tells us about her experiences with Dr. Deming and his influence on the family business in her presentation at out 2015 annual conference. Also see Paula’s presentation at the 2014 Deming Conference Webcast.

Speaking of the long term relationship with McDonald’s (currently $250 million a year):

McDonald’s in the only one that today, still, does not put any stock in a contract. They put stock in relationships.

She talks about how her father grew their business alongside McDonald’s without contracts. That included investing in personnel and factories in new countries as McDonald’s expanded without contracts between them and McDonald’s. The business relationship was a true partnership based on trust.

Today The Bama Companies has some factories that supply only McDonald’s. This relationship is possible through trust and a commitment to a long term supplier partnership (not a contract but something stronger in reality).

I tell our people that our company would not be in existence if I hadn’t met him [Dr. Deming]. Because at a point in time, McDonald’s said, “enough.”

McDonald’s head of quality forced Paula to watch “If Japan Can Why Can’t We” and attend a 4 day Deming seminar with the expectation she would then lead improvements at The Bama Companies in order to meet McDonald’s expectations.

She talks about how Dr. Deming began what became a long term journey by explaining that he needed to learn from her how to reach more CEO’s. Deming understood that he wasn’t reaching enough CEO’s (she was the only CEO of 500 people at that seminar). And she saw the opportunity to change her thinking and the way her company was managed based on the ideas, that she found so powerful, that Deming’s was presenting.

Over the next few years I was able to transform my company because of my conversations and my work with Dr. Deming… I would take to Dr. Deming the most complicated problems I had… and he would always have simple questions back for me.

Related: Baking Apple Pies Using the Deming Management SystemApplying Deming’s Management Thinking at PatagoniaFord and Managing the Supplier Relationship

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