Improvement of Quality and Productivity, to be successful in any company, must be a learning process, year by year, top management leading the whole company.
It is extension of application that discloses inadequacy of a theory, and need for revision, or even new theory. Again, without theory, there is nothing to revise. Without theory, experience has no meaning. Without theory, one has no questions to ask. Hence without theory, there is no learning.
Does the customer invent new product or service? The customer generates nothing. No customer asked for electric lights. There was gas and gas mantles, which gave good light. The first electric lights had carbon filaments. They were fragile and inefficient. No customer asked for photography. No customer asked for the telegraph, nor for a telephone. No customer asked for an automobile. We have horses: what could be better? No customer asked for pneumatic tires. Tires are made of rubber. It is silly to think of riding on air. The first pneumatic tires in the United States were not good. The user had to carry with him rubber cement, plugs, and a pump, and know how to use them.
I should estimate that in my experience most troubles and most possibilities for improvement add up to the proportions something like this:
94% belongs to the system (responsibility of management)
A common disease that afflicts management and government administration the world over is the impression that “Our problems are different.” They are different, to be sure, but the principles that will help to improve quality of product and of service are universal in nature.