The Deming Legacy
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Last updated on 2014-10-31
About the Book
In his career of nearly 60 years, W. Edwards Deming (1900-1993) contributed to the development of statistical methods to improve manufacturing quality, and introduced these methods with great success in Japan in the 1950s. As his work finally began to be appreciated in the US in the 1980s, he expanded his focus to business management in general, and expressed ideas that were in sharp disagreement with the prevailing wisdom of the time, as expressed in the writings of Peter Drucker.
Deming's 14 points are the best known part of his legacy. He made them in a book called Out of the Crisis, but which crisis was it about? The title begs the question, but the answer is elusive. When the book first came out, in 1982, as Quality, Productivity, and Competitive Position, the US was in a recession, and some industries, like steel, shipbuilding, cars, consumer electronics, and semiconductors, were feeling the sting of Japanese competition, but the appreciation that there was more to it than imitation, low wages and hard work was slow in coming.
The title Out of the Crisis was only given to the book in 1986, at a time the country was booming. The book is still a bestseller, which is quite an achievement for a 30-year old technical book. And 30 years on is a good time to ponder how much of Deming's advice has been followed and how much is still relevant.
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