Deming's Points of Management - 14 Key Principles

By Indeed Editorial Team

November 18, 2021

Today it's widely accepted that quality is the key to business success, and organizations need to build it into everything they do, but this was not always the case. Before globalization created competitive pressures, many companies only focused on achieving quality in the production process. The transformation in thinking is thanks to Dr. Edward Deming and his famous 14 point management philosophy. In this article, we look at who Deming was and list his 14 points of management.

Who was Dr. W. Edwards Deming?

Edwards Deming was an American statistician, engineer and business professor who went to Japan after World War II to help with the census. He played a significant role in Japan's economic recovery and earned a reputation for increasing productivity and reducing expenses in manufacturing companies throughout Japan. His experiences led to him designing the 'System of Profound Knowledge' and creating a list of 14 key principles for management.

What are Deming's points of management?

Deming's points of management are 14 points that management can follow to transform an organization from its current style of management to one of optimization and efficiency. All the principles are transformative, with an emphasis on leadership and prioritizing quality over cost reduction. Deming's points, and the philosophies they promote, apply equally to any size or type of business. Following the points principles requires a holistic management approach centered around systems and people.

Deming's 14 points of management

Deming's 14 points of management are all interconnected and work best when used together to create a management system focused on quality. Here are Deming's 14 points of management:

1. Create constancy of purpose toward improvement

Constancy of purpose is about long-term systems thinking and continuously focusing on improving products and services. Rather than focusing on short-term solutions to current problems, organizations take a long-term approach, think strategically and allocate resources to research and education. Constantly cultivating innovation and placing customers first helps build trusting relationships and ensures an organization remains competitive and successful.

Related: Systems Thinking

2. Adopt the new philosophy

Organizations need to adopt a new way of thinking that prioritizes quality and service above all else. All employees in the organization must adopt the new philosophy and work together to reduce delays, low productivity and sub-standard products. Leadership is required to ensure all employees understand the role they play in surpassing customers' expectations.

3. Cease dependence on inspections

Inspections that identify problems in a finished product or service are too late, as the quality is already in the product. Organizations should aim to implement systems that build quality into products and services throughout the production process. Improving the components and processes ensures quality is built into the product at every stage making inspections unnecessary.

4. Use a single supplier for any one item

Organizations need to see suppliers as partners and build relationships with reliable suppliers to ensure consistency and innovation. They should foster long-term relationships with suppliers who can meet the organization's quality standards and not allocate business based on price alone. Treat suppliers as part of the organization's system and assist and encourage them to improve their processes and quality.

Related: Vendors vs. Suppliers: What's the Difference?

5. Improve constantly

It's essential for organizations to constantly evaluate and improve systems and processes to maximize productivity, improve quality and decrease costs. Continual process improvement can take many forms, including training and education, better understanding how customers interact with products and building relationships with suppliers. Constant improvement forever is a process that involves all levels in an organization.

6. Institute on-the-job training

When organizations invest in training employees, it enables them to contribute everything they have to offer. Building a foundation of common knowledge that helps employees understand the importance of consistency, the organization as a system and their role in it will help them improve their efficiency. Providing an environment and culture that promotes effective teamwork and allows employees to learn from each other is crucial.

Related: What Is On-the-Job Training?

7. Institute leadership

For Deming, instituting leadership meant focusing on the importance of management that actively removes the causes of failure and helps employees do a better job. Managers must understand their staff and the processes they use and strive to be leaders and coaches, not supervisors. Finding ways to help their team members reach their full potential should be their primary focus, not quotas and targets.

8. Eliminate fear

Fear is unhelpful and hinders the success of an organization as decision-makers often don't get accurate data and honest figures. Whether the fear is fear of failure, reprisals or management, it may keep employees from acting in the organization's best interests and impact strategic decisions. Organizations can eliminate fear by encouraging open and honest communication, teamwork and mutual respect at all levels.

9. Break down barriers between departments

Producing high-quality products and services for external customers requires cooperation from all departments in an organization. To achieve this, organizations should focus on collaboration, building a shared vision and ensuring everyone understands how each part of the organization works. Breaking down barriers promotes the "internal customer" concept, where employees recognize that each department creates outputs that serve other departments.

Related: How To Break Down Silos Within an Organization (With Steps)

10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets

Positive slogans, exhortations and targets are intended to motivate but often have the opposite effect and create conflict and strained relationships. Systemic issues usually cause low-quality products and low productivity and not the employees. Thus slogans and exhortations directed at employees without improving processes often result in frustration and resentment.

11. Eliminate quotas and numerical targets

Quotas and numerical targets emphasize quantity rather than quality leading to high outputs and lower quality products. This outcome is incompatible with striving for continuous improvement. Organizations should aim to measure the process, not individual employees. Providing leadership, resources and support will make high leaves of quality and productivity achievable without quotas.

12. Remove barriers to pride of workmanship

Measuring employees using productivity targets or rewards often denies employees the opportunity to do their best and take pride in their work. Management who understand the organization as a system and give their staff the knowledge and tools to do their best will improve quality. Pride of workmanship increases employee satisfaction, and over time, a management system focused on quality will naturally increase job satisfaction and productivity.

13. Institute education and self-improvement programs

Instituting ongoing education and self-improvement programs that encourage employees to learn new skills is essential for organizations striving for continuous improvement. Making training and self-development a fundamental part of an employee's job improves morale, optimizes performance and opens up growth opportunities. Building new skills also makes staff adaptable and allows them to detect problems and offer ideas for improvement.

14. Make transformation everyone's job

The transformation of an organization is everyone's job, and it takes hundreds of small individual steps to achieve consistent quality. Transformation is an interconnected process that requires the active participation of everyone in the company, but it's up to management to provide the leadership to drive the process. Deming suggests using change management principles to build skills, confidence and trust so that employees can put the new ideas into practice.

Related Articles

26 Storyboard Software Tools for 2022