Words of Wisdom from W. Edwards Deming

In celebration of Manufacturing Day this coming Friday, October 6, I would like to share some final comments by Dr. Deming just before he died.

Dr. Deming was a pioneer in the areas of business management, particularly in the continuous pursuit of total quality.  He focused both on statistics and human psychology to arrive at his beliefs.  Although he did not focus specifically on the manufacturing business, his ideas were significant in improving manufacturing operations.  Among many things, he is perhaps most famous for assisting Japanese industries recover from World War II.  Bringing his ideas to America in the 1980’s, he wrote a book entitled, 14 Points for Management, emphasizing the need for constant transformational management to stay on top of changes.  He died in December, 1993 at the age of 93.

In one of his last interviews, Industry Week Magazine conducted an interview with him to summarize all that he learned.  In it, he said management does not fully understand its role in operations.  He added that innovation is basically top down, with companies designing new products that it believes the customer would want, and not having customers dictate their ideas to management.  Also, for innovation to thrive, employees need to have an environment that is conducive to free expression of ideas.

In the second installment, he emphasized the need for “outside thinking” for solving problems, along with an continuous quest for “profound knowledge” in finding ideas and solutions to problems.

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