Deming’s 14 Points – Business Improvement through Quality Control: Part 2 – Points 6-10

In part one of this series, we discussed the first five of Dr. Deming’s 14 Points. The first two points recommend creating a “constancy of purpose for improving products and services,” and then adopting this philosophy of a quality-oriented business.
 
He continues in point number three to implore us to “cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality.” The net result of which should ensure that quality control is integrated into the entirety of production processes, rather than something special that is performed “out of the normal process flow” of business activity.  
Dr. Deming's 14 Points
We reviewed point number four where Dr. Deming recommends ending “the practice of awarding business on price alone; instead, minimize price by working with a single supplier.” With this in mind, I stated that our statistical process control (SPC) software includes unique acceptance sampling features, which help manufacturers “minimize inspection costs, manage risk, and prevent off-quality product from entering their production processes.” The results from these acceptance sampling activities can be used to identify the finest vendors and to support the goal of working with a single supplier. Doing so helps ensure minimization of product variation, and a long-term, mutually-beneficial relationship with fewer vendors.  [Please feel free to check out this Acceptance Sampling blog for more details.]

And, of course, we looked at point number five, "Improve constantly and forever every process for planning, production, and service.” This is the essence of what we offer here at InfinityQS. As you'll see, further examination of Dr. Deming's 14 points will only help to emphasize this.
 
[Note: If you haven’t read the foundation of Dr. Deming’s thoughts, what he calls the “System of Profound Knowledge,” I urge you to do so.]
 
Now that we’re all caught up, let’s continue to points six through ten.
 

Culture Shift

The next few points, I would say, can require somewhat of a shift in corporate culture for some organizations not attuned to Dr. Deming’s philosophies:
Dr. Deming's points 6-10
To me, points 6-10 above are all part of ensuring that everyone in an organization—from operators and frontline workers to administrative and managerial staff—is considered integral to quality. Everyone should receive the necessary training to ensure that they can perform their specific job well, and to ensure job satisfaction. A disgruntled employee is not conducive to achieving quality goals.
 
If constant (or continuous) improvement is practiced every day in every aspect of your business, then it must also be applied to the workforce as well. Keeping your modern workforce up to date on the latest technologies and software is integral to keeping your production lines running at full capacity.
 
As my colleague, Brad Forrest, InfinityQS Account Manager, said in his blog, Training for Success, “Your untrained workers are less efficient. You end up spending more time (and we all know time = money) and effort when employees aren’t fully or properly trained to perform the tasks they need to, or to fulfill their responsibilities. Let’s face it, it probably takes them longer to do their work.” I couldn’t agree more.
 
When Dr. Deming talks about fear in point number eight (“Drive out fear”), he’s talking about punishment for mistakes in the workplace. When punishment is your primary check on the performance for your employees, you’re being counterproductive. And that’s a big no-no for Dr. Deming, who believes that managers should consider themselves coaches who are interested in the well-being and improvement of employee performance. Coaches are helpers. They can point out opportunities for improvement, but only to help the employee improve. In turn, improved performance helps all of us to have pride—even joy—in our work activities.
 
Punishment tends to discourage employees from working in the company’s best interest. They do just enough “to not get yelled at” or “to stay out of trouble,” rather than trying to excel at their jobs. If you want constant improvement, you need employees who are internally motivated to excel at their jobs and coaches who focus on supporting employee performance improvement.
Deming and Leadership

Leadership

The leadership to which Dr. Deming alludes in point number seven (“Adopt and institute leadership”) is about more than just management or supervision. It’s about showing the way, rather than just talking about it. Dr. Deming believed that leadership is responsible for creating management systems that ensure employees can take pride in their work. To ensure business continuity, Dr. Deming preached that leaders should understand their organization as a system, and apply improvement concepts to those systems so that their business would become better and more efficient over time, and he was known for employing these same tactics in his own life.
 
We’ve all heard the stories of great sports team managers, or officers in the military, who would never ask anyone on their team to do something they wouldn’t do themselves. Leading by example is brilliant because if leaders adopt and live the new philosophy of a quality-oriented business, then employees are likely to follow.
 
I would add that point number nine, “Break down barriers between the workers and management,” is an extension of point seven. The importance of a unifying, relevant, and engaging mission statement cannot be overstated here. It helps define how management, employees, and the entire company work cohesively to achieve company goals.
 
Different levels and divisions of a company should have a supplier-customer relationship with each other that fosters professionalism, reinforces accountability, and ensures that your teams work together to ensure quality and achieve the company’s mission. Dr. Deming is definitely not talking about your organizational hierarchy here, but rather about how your internal teams and processes are designed (or not designed) to work positively with each other.
Deming and Goals

Goals

Dr. Deming’s point 10 is not about elimination of goals. Rather, it is about arbitrary and capricious goals where employees have been provided no tools for achieving those goals. In years past, I was in a plant where big banners stated proudly, “We are committed to zero defects.” While an admirable goal, plant floor employees were frustrated because they were not able to completely eliminate defects. They wanted to, but they couldn’t. The reason? Outdated machinery, shop-worn tools, and a focus on short-term economic results without the means to achieve them.
 
If, however, the management team had upgraded systems, put in place maintenance programs specifically designed to support defect elimination, and provided tools specifically designed to achieve the goal of zero defects, then there would likely have been less cynicism on the part of employees.
 
Dr. Deming’s point number 10 is meant to encourage and reinforce the notion of systematizing an ongoing, unceasing improvement of manufacturing processes. A healthy, growing, inclusive business—where the tools to support never-ceasing improvement are provided for employees—helps ensure not only business longevity, but also employee satisfaction and pride of workmanship. 
 

Summary

In our first two blogs in this series, we discussed ten of Dr. Deming’s 14 points for management. We’ve covered a lot of ground—from company philosophy and how to do business with vendors, to reasons for a potential culture shift and how organizations handle leadership.
 
Please come back for part three, in which we will take a look at the last four of Dr. Deming’s points of management—including his views on quotas, cultivating your employees’ mindset, and organizational “transformation.”

  • Read Part 1 of this series (points 1-5)
  • Read Part 3 of this series (points 11-14)
 
Take advantage of the technology at your fingertips today: contact one of our account managers (1.800.772.7978 or via our website) for more information.
 

 
Douglas C. Fair
By Douglas C. Fair
Chief Operating Officer
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