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Deming’s 14 Principles of Quality: A Timeless Guide to Excellence

The 14 principles of quality according to William Edwards Deming

In the ever-evolving landscape of business and management, few theories have stood the test of time quite like Dr. William Edwards Deming’s 14 principles of quality. Crafted with the precision of a master watchmaker and the insight of a visionary, Deming’s principles offer a roadmap to excellence that is as relevant today as it was in the mid-20th century.

Whether you’re at the helm of a startup or steering a multinational corporation, these principles can guide you towards a culture of continuous improvement and unparalleled quality.

1.Vision and Goal Setting: Establishing Long-Term Objectives and Shared Vision.

The management has to formulate a goal for the long-term vision and create a shared vision and goal for the business

2.Communication of Objectives: Disseminating Goals Throughout the Organization.

That goal has to be communicated to the entire organisation.

3.Beyond Inspection: Quality Assurance Without Over-Reliance on Control.

Don’t be dependent on inspection control to guarantee the quality of the product. Controlling is essential, but when applied wrongly, can lead to big losses.3.Beyond Inspection: Quality Assurance Without Over-Reliance on Control.

4.Value-Based Purchasing: Prioritizing Overall Cost Reduction and Consistency.

With purchase, don´t think only about the price: lower overall costs by reducing variation in the delivered products.

5.Continuous Improvement Culture: Fostering Innovation and Enhancement in Work Processes.

Continuous improvement. Create a climate where everyone can find enjoyment in their job by:

-Innovation of processes, products and services

-Improvement of existing processes, products and services

6.Leadership in Skill Development: Identifying and Addressing Training Needs.

Obtaining skills. It is the leader´s job to know who has training needs and who doesn’t.

7.Knowledgeable Leadership: Understanding Employee Roles and Improvement Needs.

Leaders have to know the job of the people that they are putting in charge and if necessary, take measurements for improvement.

8.Safety and Openness in the Workplace: Creating an Environment for Questioning and Innovation.

People start performing right when they feel safe. Safe to ask questions, to come up with new ideas.

9.Interdepartmental Cooperation: Breaking Down Silos for Enhanced Collaboration.

Get rid of barriers between departments and work teams, Cooperation is key.

10.Eliminating Counterproductive Motivators: Moving Beyond Slogans and Incentives.

Get rid of slogans, incentives (for example: ´do it right in one go!´) and random goals. These will only lead to frustrations and irritations. You can’t expect someone to deliver flawless products if the machine isn’t functioning right.

11.Process Improvement over Quotas: Focusing on Enhancing Processes Instead of Setting Numeric Goals.

Get rid of numeric quota for staff on the shop floor. Improve the process for enhancing the productivity.

12.Pride in Workmanship:

a. Removing Obstacles to Job Satisfaction.

Get rid of barriers that stand in the way of an employee taking pride in the job. When the tools are worthless or even if they aren´t there, the job cannot be properly done.

b. Replacing Annual Performance Reviews with Constructive Feedback.

Stop with annual performance grading. Assessments invoke fear and disrupt the co-operation between staff (and managers).

13.Ongoing Education and Development: Commitment to Continuous Learning and Skill Advancement.

Education and development. This obligation relates to the general development of people. An organisation needs people who can develop their skills through education (these can also be private educational programmes).

14.Action Plan for Change: Developing and Executing a Strategy for Organizational Transformation.

Come up with an action plan to achieve the change. Everyone in the organisation has to cooperate with the change. The leadership will have to fight for all the points above. Some of Deming´s ´deadly diseases and obstacles´ will have to be conquered.

Wrapping up:

Dr. William Edwards Deming’s formulated principles originate from a 1950s-era American corporate and manufacturing environment. This context was characterized by intense industrial development and the simultaneous development of management philosophy.

Very few of these principles have established themselves as unconditionally fitting measures of quality management.

Their appropriateness or unsuitability for application is determined largely by the influence of different cultures and industries.

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