Demingís 14 Points
A Refresher of the Basics of Quality Productivity

W. Edwards Deming was the senior 'guru' of quality management, and his 14 points are his prescription for the achievement of quality. His basic message is that the cause of inefficiency and poor quality is the system, not the people, and it is management's responsibility to correct the system to achieve desired results. Here is a refresher on the basics of quality productivity - the foundation for much of our current management thinking.

Deming's 14 point prescription for quality:

1. Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service with a plan to become competitive and to stay in business. Decide whom top management is responsible to. 

2. Adopt the new philosophy. We are in a new economic age. We can no longer live with  commonly accepted levels of delays, mistakes, defective materials, and defective  workmanship.

3. Cease dependence on mass inspection. Require, instead, statistical evidence that  quality is built in. (Prevent defects rather than detect defects.)

4. End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag. Instead, depend on meaningful measures of quality, along with  price. Eliminate suppliers that cannot qualify with statistical evidence of quality.

5. Find problems. It is managementís job to work continually on the system (design, incoming materials, composition of material, maintenance, improvement of machine, training, supervision, retraining.)

6. Institute modern methods of training on the job.

7. The responsibility of foremen must be changed from sheer numbers to quality ...  [which] will automatically improve productivity. Management must prepare to take immediate action on reports from foremen concerning barriers such as inherent defects, machines not maintained, poor tools, fuzzy operational definitions.

8. Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company.

9. Break down barriers between departments. People in research, design, sales, and  production must work as a team, to foresee problems of production that may be encountered with various materials and specifications.

10. Eliminate numerical goals, posters, and slogans for the work force, asking for  new levels of productivity without providing methods.

11. Eliminate work standards that prescribe numerical quotas.

12. Remove barriers that stand between the hourly worker and his [or her] right to pride of workmanship.

13.Institute a vigorous program of education and retraining.

14. Create a structure in top management that will push every day on the above 13 points.


W. Edwards Deming, Quality Productivity and  Competitive Position (Cambridge, Mass. MIT, Centre for Advanced Engineering Study, 1982).

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