William Edwards Deming was an American statistician, professor, author, lecturer and consultant. He made a significant contribution to Japan's later reputation for innovative high-quality products and its economic power. There, from 1950 onward, he taught top management how to improve design (and thus service), product quality, testing, and sales (the last through global markets) through various methods, including the application of statistical methods. W Edwards Deming placed great importance and responsibility on management, at the individual and company level, believing management to be responsible for 94% of quality problems. He is regarded as having had more impact upon Japanese manufacturing and business than any other individual not of Japanese heritage. Despite being considered something of a hero in Japan, he was only just beginning to win widespread recognition in the U.S. at the time of his death. President Reagan awarded the National Medal of Technology to Deming in 1987. He received in 1988 the Distinguished Career in Science award from the National Academy of Sciences The Life of William Edwards Deming
Deming was born on October 14, 1900 in Sioux Falls, Iowa, but spent the majority of his youth in Powell, Wyoming. He was raised on a government granted section of farmland with one brother and two sisters (www.deming.org). The Deming family struggled just to survive. Deming’s parents believed in the importance of an education and stressed this to their children. His mother had studied music and his father, mathematics and law. His mother’s love of music influenced Deming’s interest in music and composition later in life. In 1917, Deming began his own education at University of Wyoming at Laramie. Four years later, he graduated with a degree in electrical engineering. Deming continued with his education, completing his master's degree in mathematics and physics from the University of Colorado, and his PhD in mathematical physics from Yale University (http://deming.org/). After receiving his PhD, Deming was offered a position with the Western Electric Company, but decided to pursue work at the Fixed Nitrogen Research Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Agriculture instead. It was there that Deming encountered statistics and probability and also met Walter Shewhart. Shewhart’s ideas inspired Deming to apply his knowledge of statistics to management and Deming’s theory of management was born (www.deming.org). In 1939, Deming began work at the Bureau of the Census, while at the same time, teaching statistics courses at the USDA Graduate School and Stanford. Through his teaching, Deming discovered that “quality can be improved only if top management is part of the solution (www.deming.org).” In the fall of 1950, Deming took his ideas for management’s role in quality to Japan where his vision was well received. By December, the Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers had created the Deming Prize, a prize given annually for “excellence in quality (http://deming.org/).” The next phase of Deming’s life included work as a consultant in statistical surveys and as a member of the faculty at the New York University Graduate School of Business and Columbia University. In fact, Deming taught up until ten days before his death in 1993 (http://deming.org/). Throughout Deming’s life he received numerous prestigious awards and wrote several books. Deming also composed many pieces of music, including a version of the Star Spangled Banner. Deming’s humble upbringing was most likely responsible for his strong belief system. “Do your best, continually seek to improve that best, look out for the people you are responsible for, and recognize that everyone is in this together (http://deming.org/).” The Philosophies of Deming
Deming presented his ideas to 10,000 managers a year through his standard four-day seminar (www.deming.org). He saw quality as an entire philosophy of management, not as a specific process or set of procedures...
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