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Deming Revisited: The Real Quality Model for Commerce

Deming Revisited: The Real Quality Model for Commerce - Raphael L. Vitalo, Ph.D.

  Contents of the Monograph    

The Breath and Depth of Deming’s Thinking
How Deming Presents the Details of the Quality Model
The Purpose of This Monograph

Section 1. The 14 Management Points    
Overview of the 14 Management Points
Detailed Analysis of Deming’s 14 Points
A Summary of Deming’s View of the Functions of the Executive as Described in His 14 Management Points
Section 2: The Organization for Improvement of Quality and Productivity    

Reporting Relationships
Is the Quality Organization as a Specific Organizational Unit Relevant Today?

Section 3: Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge    

The Scope of the System
Theory of Organization
The Concept of Variation and Its Significance
Deming’s Theory of Knowledge
The Nature of People and Its Significance
The Consequences of Ignorant Management

Section 4. The Path of Transformation  
The Flow of Transformation
The Detailed Process
Section 5. What’s Wrong With the Quality Model?    
One Answer Is, “Nothing”
Another Answer Is, “Everything”
Appendix A: Deming’s Guidance for Implementing of Executive Functions    
Exhibit A1. How People Implementing the Executive Functions Realize the Purpose of Effectiveness
Exhibit A2. How People Implementing the Executive Functions Realize the Purpose of Sufficiency
Exhibit A3. How People Implementing the Executive Functions Realize the Purpose of Synergy
About the Author    
Download the Monograph    

I came to prepare this monograph on the work of W. Edwards Deming by way of researching the roots of the lean enterprise model. It was clear to me, based on my earlier reading of Deming, that he had a major contribution to the lean model. This judgment was based on four facts. First, Deming’s views and the lean model’s views concerning the role of executives, managers, and supervisors are essentially identical. Second, Deming taught the leaders of Japanese industry about the quality approach to commerce through the auspices of the Union of Japanese Science and Engineering (JUSE) in the early 1950s. Third, Deming played a pivotal role in enabling the resurrection of Japanese industry to its place of worldwide importance in the post World War II era. Indeed, Japan as a nation recognized Deming's contributions to the resurrection of their industry by extending to him the Second Order Medal of the Sacred Treasure. And fourth, Deming's contributions to the lean model as practiced by Toyota Motor Corporation were personally acknowledged and appreciated by Dr. Shoichiro Toyoda, the son of the founder of the Toyota Motor Corporation and its chairman from 1992–1999. "Everyday I think about what he [Deming] meant to us," said Dr. Toyoda, "Deming is the core of our management" (Toyoda, 1988). As you probably know, the Toyota Production System is often cited as a foundation for the lean enterprise model.

What I uncovered as I dug into his works was an alignment between the Quality approach to commerce and the lean enterprise approach that was far broader and deeper than I first presumed. By the time I finished, it seemed to me that Deming’s work represents the heart and soul of lean enterprise, especially given his understanding of people and their striving, his sensitivity to their needs and wants, and his recognition that they possessed an immense pool of untapped and largely ignored creativity. Beyond his understanding of the primary importance of people, other core elements of Deming’s thinking confirmed my judgment. These include:

      • his anchoring of enterprise on maximizing the delivery of value to customers as judged by customers,
      • his view of the absolute synergy between personal development and organizational success,
      • his inclusive perspective of whom must benefit from commerce,
      • his identification of learning as the engine of success, and
      • his continuous pursuit of perfection defined as a ‘zero loss function.’

Once a proper understanding of his work is realized, the narrowing of his contribution to the notion of teaching the application of statistical quality control borders on the criminal. Indeed, it was with ever-greater dismay that I recognized how inadequately the totality of Deming’s thinking was understood. In its fullness, it represents nothing less than an alternative approach to commerce. Its breath and depth renders its reduction to process control charts, the use of statistical methods to stabilize processes, or even the application of Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) to make process improvements as worse than a caricature.

For those who value fact over fancy or popular narrative, the facts about Deming’s Quality model are essential. Facts allow proper analysis and interpretation. They open up possibilities that do not fit within popular narratives. They enable a correct grasp of the origins of current directions, what new ideas they truly contain, and what past and still valid contributions they have left out. When a body of thought is fully documented, it provides a true student of those ideas a resource essential to understanding the original intent and scope of those ideas. No one seeking to operate from a base of knowledge—which Deming viewed as essential to responsible conduct—would be satisfied with less.

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Revised 2/26/2014, May 17, 2016