Deming’s 14 Points in Small Manufacturing – Part 1

Last updated Feb 23, 2017

small manufacturing quality

Author of Out of Crisis, W. Edwards Deming is famous for developing 14 points of Management and Quality to push American Manufacturing during the initial exodus of business to Japan and China. Often called the father of the Quality Movement, these 14 points set the road map for Quality Management in 1986, challenging American Manufacturers to look at business in a new way. These 14 points are still relevant today and must be considered by all small business to ensure continued success. Over the next series of posts we will be highlighting a selection of the points and detailing how they connect to small manufacturing today.

1. Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive and to stay in business, and to provide jobs.
The goal of your business should not be the short term as companies must take the long view to remain competitive. Make appropriate investment in the products and services in relation to the demands of the customers. Stay customer focused, weather for an OEM or developing your own product. It is critical to understand their requirements and make investments to meet them. Locally we have seen OEMs pushing for automotive level documentation (PPAPs), cleanliness, environmental compliance and materials testing. If you have not prepared for the new demands of your customers you will be left behind. Deming challenges companies to articulate and communicate their purpose throughout the organization so everyone is working towards a common objective. Be careful not to be too broad with your goals, we all want to grow and make high quality innovative products, instead define your market and your strengths. If you define what you do, what you are good at and where you want to go and implement a plan to get there you will retain your talent and grow your business.

2. Adopt the new philosophy. We are in a new economic age. Western management must awaken to the challenge, must learn their responsibilities, and take on leadership for change.
These words were written during the time when the Japanese Automotive industry was beginning to make significant inroads into the US market with cars that had better overall quality at a lower cost. The US auto industry was caught on its heels and has only recently begun to catch up to the Japanese production capability and quality. The issue Deming is identifying is the “We have always done it that way” syndrome. It is time for management to get involved in corrective actions that are meaningful and get to the root cause of issue, which most likely relates to management or the system they have put into place. Focusing on customer expectations and enacting meaningful change is critical to staying competitive in an international markets. Dr. Deming said, “We will have to undergo total demolition of the American style of management…,” with his focus on our history of limited international competition allowing management to not perfect a process and instead accept poor quality. He challenges American management to become leaders within their organizations to drive improvement and create meaningful change.

In need of assistance with developing your Continual Improvement Plan? Contact Ledge today for assistance.

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Adam Marsh

Adam Marsh

President, Ledge Inc.

Adam is a Penn State engineer that has served as a Data Analyst and Engineer at St. Onge Company for 5 years, prior to establishing Ledge Inc. While maintaining a focus on simple solutions, Ledge Inc. has provided quality system implementation, process design, database development, quality tools, quality training, and data analysis to over 35 companies in South Central Pennsylvania and throughout the country. Adam currently serves as the sitting Chair for American Society for Quality Harrisburg Section 503 and as a member of the board for The Manufacturers’ Associations of South Central PA.

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