The Life and History of William Edwards Deming

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Who is William E. Deming? What is he credit with?

William Edwards Deming was a native of Sioux City, Iowa. He received a PhD at the Yale university in the field of Theoretical Physics. After graduating from Yale University he worked as a laboratory research in the Department of Agriculture. He worked for the Department of Agriculture for ten years on the development of nitrate fertilizers. Also, Dr. Deming used to give training for the Department of Agriculture engineers on Statistics to better help the employees. In 1939, Dr. Deming joined the Bureau of the Census in Washington, DC. His knowledge of Statistics became very helpful in the development of a new kind of survey, which was based on sampling. This technique of the Census was then adopted worldwide. In 1946 he retired from the Administration and became consultant in Statistical Studies and Professor of Statistics at New York University (France Deming, 1996). While in Washington, during World War II, Deming used his knowledge to help the Armed Services. He joined a long time friend Walter A. Shewhart and they organized management seminars at Stanford University with the aim to improve productivity and the quality of military equipment. The project was the outcome of studies they had been making together since 1938(France Deming, 1996). After the outcome of the studies thousands of engineers and managers from army factories made the trip to Stanford to attend the seminars. This project only had a limited impact because many senior executives did not commit themselves to using the information learned at the seminars. With that being said productivity did not improve and quality did not improve the army. Around 1947, Deming went to Tokyo as an advisor to the Allied Forces Headquarters on his sampling techniques. While in Tokyo he had the opportunity of working with some of the Japanese managers, who were interested in his management theories. He invited them to one of his lectures and

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