Our previous article (Part 3) of our series regarding two of W. Edwards Deming’s famous 14 Points of Management and Quality was directed at creating pride in workmanship standards and driving out fear throughout the organization.
Deming continues with his push on developing a team and eliminating zero-defect requirements with the goal of increased productivity. These points relate back to help define tools and ways to achieve continual improvement.
Break down barriers between departments. People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team to foresee problems of production and in use that may be encountered with the product or service.
Only a team approach to production and service improvements can combine the voice of the customer, through the sales team, back through engineering and production to ensure the product or service is leading the industry. Avoid internal competition between departments and instead focus on aligning the goals of the company. Dr. Demining would relate a ‘parable of the shoes’ where the technical staff of a shoe manufacturer designed a product that was sure to be a hit and the sales force sold thousands all before consulting manufacturing, which could not fulfill all of the orders and left the warehouses empty. Locally, OEMs have pushed for quick turnaround on quotes and just in time production which is sure to lead to problems when the job reaches the shop floor. Though difficult in the job shop environment, quoting teams must include sufficient review to eliminate risk prior to accepting work.
Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the work force that ask for zero defects and new levels of productivity.
Management that does not fully understand the process may instead attempt to drive productivity with simple solutions like telling their employees to “do a good job” and “not mess up,” which is at best condescending. Spend time instead on driving improvement throughout the organization with real change where there is no substitute for tools, training and knowledge.