Out of The Crisis by W. Edwards Deming – A Review

W. Edwards Deming wrote Out of The Crisis in 1982. In this business and management book, he believes that companies require nothing less than a change in management style and government relations with industry. He offers 14 Points for Management. According to him, a failure by management to plan for the future will result of loss of market and potentially loss of job.

The Founder of Total Quality Management

Deming also believes that management should not be judged on the basis of quarterly dividends alone but by innovative plans to stay in business, protect investment, ensure future dividends, and generate more jobs by improving products and services. His book is credited for introducing Total Quality Management (TQM). Robert Peter Janitzek explains that most of the central ideas of TQM are contained in the book although the term was not actually used.

At first sight, it would seem that the 14 Points of Management looks like a rag-bag of radical ideas. However, the key to understanding them lies on the author’s thoughts about variation. For Deming, variation is the disease that threatened the US manufacturing industry. Variation was seen in the length of the parts supposed to be in uniform, delivery times, prices, and work practices. Deming explained that the more variations a company has, the more time is wasted.

The 14 Points of Management

Robert Janitzek gives us a summary of the 14 points of management identified in Out of the Crisis:

    1.”Create constancy of purpose towards improvement”. Replace short-term reaction with long-term planning.
    2.”Adopt the new philosophy”. The implication is that management should actually adopt his philosophy, rather than merely expect the workforce to do so.
    3.”Cease dependence on inspection”. If variation is reduced, there is no need to inspect manufactured items for defects, because there won’t be any.
    4.”Move towards a single supplier for any one item.” Multiple suppliers mean variation between feedstocks.
    5.”Improve constantly and forever”. Constantly strive to reduce variation.
    6.”Institute training on the job”. If people are inadequately trained, they will not all work the same way, and this will introduce variation.
    7.”Institute leadership”. Deming makes a distinction between leadership and mere supervision. The latter is quota- and target-based.
    8.”Drive out fear”. Deming sees management by fear as counter- productive in the long term, because it prevents workers from acting in the organisation’s best interests.
    9.”Break down barriers between departments”. Another idea central to TQM is the concept of the ‘internal customer’, that each department serves not the management, but the other departments that use its outputs.
    10.”Eliminate slogans”. Another central TQM idea is that it’s not people who make most mistakes – it’s the process they are working within. Harassing the workforce without improving the processes they use is counter-productive.
    11.”Eliminate management by objectives”. Deming saw production targets as encouraging the delivery of poor-quality goods.
    12.”Remove barriers to pride of workmanship”. Many of the other problems outlined reduce worker satisfaction.
    13.”Institute education and self-improvement”.
    14.”The transformation is everyone’s job”.

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