Deming’s Approach to Management
I Basic Philosophy
Deming’s theory of management details the steps that must be taken to transform a company’s quality culture. It is a theory that means it is insufficient to simply solve problems that arise. A culture of continuous improvement must be established and maintained with the overall goal of achieving customer satisfaction. Along with the fourteen basic points of his theory of management, Deming also defines what he calls the deadly sins and diseases that virtually every company in the West is being crippled by. It is vital to grasp from the outset that Deming’s philosophy requires the highest level of corporate cultural change. The initiative to implement the Deming approach must start at the top and will almost without doubt change many of the traditional views held by the organisation. Without support from the top, changes of this nature will fail.
2 Deming’s fourteen points for management
2.1 Create constancy of purpose for continual improvement of product and service. The meaning of the first point is that the long-term future is important and should serve as the focus for changes. Target the future, become more competitive, grow, and provide for the longterm needs rather than short-term profits. The existence of a long-term purpose brings with it the climate of stability and longevity and a climate within which continuous improvement is realistic. Investment in process quality and product innovation both have their rewards in the future. Clearly, long-term constancy of purpose is a top management output. Deming considers this to be management’s number one priority and obligation. Deviations from the purpose must be dealt with by appropriate action immediately. Clear long-term aims lead to clear policies, clear targets, and clear resourcing plans etc. These make it easy to communicate what is happening within the company to the workforce which leads to higher levels of morale, lower staff turnover etc. The striving for long-term aims cannot be achieved by ignoring the day to day problems that occur. Short-term survival depends on the resolution of these problems, however Deming warns of the danger of 'staying bound up in the tangled knot of the problems of today’. A balance has to be found at all levels within the organisation. It must be remembered that if you spend all your time fire fighting to stand still you are actually slipping behind because your competitor is always moving forward.
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According to Logothetis . ‘Statistically speaking, the problem of establishing constancy and maintaining consistency of purpose can be related to the problem of respectively achieving the mean (target) and minimising the dispersion (variability) around the mean. Indeed, simply establishing constancy of purpose is equivalent to setting the course towards the target and achieving it; this is a necessary condition for business success but is not sufficient. Maintaining long-term consistency is equivalent to striving for a reduction of the spread around the course so that the target is consistently achieved. 2.2
Adopt the new philosophy for economic stability
The crux of the second point is that without innovation a company will not survive in today’s global competitive environment. Just striving to stand still will ensure failure against forward moving competition. The days of quantity being more important than quality are over, it has to be realised that quality is paramount. What is often missed is that, in the long run, higher quality actually costs less. 2.3
Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality
On line inspection and quality control is necessary although should always be there to improve the overall process. Product and process quality should be built in at the design and development stages through proactive quality assurance. To ensure thorough quality throughout the product, subcontractors and suppliers need to...
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