W. Edwards Deming – PDCA – Quality Management

Edwards Deming

W. Edwards Deming – PDCA – Quality Management – Content

  • W. Edwards Deming Biography
  • W. Edwards Deming – Big Ideas:
    • PDCA
    • Quality Management
  • Interesting Facts and Insights about W. Edwards Deming
  • Career Advice Quotes by W. Edwards Deming
  • Business Advice Quotes by W. Edwards Deming
  • Leadership and Management Advice Quotes by W. Edwards Deming
  • W. Edwards Deming – Quality Advice Quotes
  • W. Edwards Deming Inspirational Quotes
  • Books by W. Edwards Deming
  • Books about Quality Management
  • Questions about W. Edwards Deming
  • W. Edwards Deming– Videos

W. Edwards Deming Biography

William Edwards Deming (1900 – 1993) was an engineer, statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and management consultant. Deming helped develop the sampling techniques still used by the U.S. Department of the Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Deming is best known for his work in Japan after WWII, with the leaders of the Japanese industry on “Statistical Product Quality Administration.”

In his book “The New Economics for Industry, Government, and Education,” Deming championed statistical process control and operational using the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) method.

Many in Japan credit Deming as one of the inspirations for what has become known as the Japanese economic miracle of 1950 to 1960. Japan became the second-largest economy in the world through processes partially influenced by the ideas Deming taught.

W. Edwards Deming was honored in Japan in 1951 with the establishment of the Deming Prize. In the U.S., President Ronald Reagan awarded him the National Medal of Technology in 1987. The National Academy of Sciences gave Deming the Distinguished Career in Science award in 1988, a few years before his death in 1993.


W. Edwards Deming – Big Ideas:

PDCA

PDCA – “Plan–Do–Check–Act” or “Plan–Do–Check–Adjust” is an iterative four-step management method used in business for the control and continuous improvement of processes and products. It is also known as the Deming cycle or “Plan–Do–Study–Act” (PDSA).

PDCA – “Plan–Do–Check–Act” method was made popular by W. Edwards Deming, who is considered by many to be the father of modern quality control. The PDSA cycle was used to create the model of the know-how transfer process and other models. The meaning of the various steps are as follows:

  • PLAN: Establish the objectives and procedures required to deliver the desired results.
  • DO: The Do phase measures the plan execution. Small changes are tested, and data is gathered to see the effect of the change.
  • CHECK: During the Check phase, data is compared to the expected outcomes. The testing process is also evaluated. The data is charted to make it easier to see any trends.
  • ACT / ADJUST: This phase is where a process is improved. Records from the “do” and “check” stages help identify issues and gaps with the process. These issues may include problems, non-conformities, opportunities for improvement, and inefficiencies. Root causes of such issues are investigated, found, and eliminated by modifying the process. Work in the next Do phase should not create a recurrence of the problems identified; if it does, then the action was not sufficient.

Deming emphasized an iterative process to improve the system. This approach is based on the belief that our knowledge and skills are limited, but improving. The PDCA has its origins in the scientific method, which provides feedback to justify hypotheses and increase knowledge.

W. Edwards Deming - PDCA - Quality Management

Rather than enter “analysis paralysis” to get it perfect the first time, it is better to be approximately right. With improved knowledge, one may choose to refine or alter the goal. The PDCA cycle aims to bring its users closer to the selected goal.


Quality Management

W. Edwards Deming later applied statistical process control methods in the U.S. to successfully improving quality in the manufacture of products during World War II. After the war, Japan decided to make quality improvement a national imperative as part of rebuilding its economy and sought the help of Deming, amongst others.

Deming championed Walter A. Shewhart’s ideas in Japan from 1950 onwards. Shewhart made a significant step forward in the evolution towards quality management by creating a method for quality control for production, using statistical methods, first proposed in 1924.

Deming is best known for his Quality Management philosophy establishing quality, productivity, and competitive position. He formulated a Quality Management system, which was a high-level abstraction of many of his deep insights. His ideas include vital concepts, such as:

  • Break down barriers between departments
  • Management should take on leadership
  • Supervision should be to help people to do a better job
  • Continuously Improve the systems of production and service
  • Institute a program of education and self-improvement

Quality management ensures that an organization, product, or service is consistent. It has four main components: quality planning, quality assurance, quality control, and quality improvement.


Interesting Facts and Insights about W. Edwards Deming

  • Born: William Edwards Deming was born in 1900 in Sioux City, Iowa.
  • Parents: Deming’s mother had studied in San Francisco and was a musician. Deming’s father had studied mathematics and law.
  • Bachelor Degree: Deming received a BS in electrical engineering from the University of Wyoming at Laramie,1921.
  • Masters: Deming was awarded an MS from the University of Colorado in 1925.
  • Ph.D.: Ph.D. earned a Ph.D. from Yale University in 1928. Both his graduate degrees were in mathematics and physics.
  • Shewhart: In 1927, Deming met Walter A. Shewhart and found great inspiration in the work of Shewhart, the originator of the concepts of statistical control of processes and the related technical tool of the control chart.
  • Government Role: W. Edwards Deming worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Census Department.
  • Statistical Methods: Deming became interested in the application of statistical methods to industrial production and management.
  • Sampling Techniques: Deming developed the sampling techniques that were used for the first time during the 1940 U.S. Census.
  • World War II: During World War II, Deming was a member of the five-person Emergency Technical Committee. He worked on the compilation of the American War Standards.
  • Japan: W. Edwards Deming worked for General Douglas MacArthur as a census consultant to the Japanese government.
  • SPC: Deming was invited to teach Statistical Process Control (SPC) methods while in Japan.
  • JUSE: The Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers (JUSE) invited Deming to talk directly to Japanese business leaders, about his theories of management, and he returned to Japan for many years to consult.
  • Quality Management: Deming saw that Shewhart’s ideas could be applied not only to manufacturing processes but also to the processes by which enterprises are led and managed. This fundamental insight made possible his influence on the economics of the industrialized world after 1950.
  • Influence in Japan: Deming’s message to Japan’s chief executives was that improving quality would reduce expenses while increasing productivity and market share.
  • Japanese Quality: Japanese manufacturers applied Deming’s techniques widely and experienced superior levels of quality and productivity. The improved quality, combined with the lowered cost, created new international demand for Japanese products.
  • Professor: Deming was a professor of statistics at New York University’s graduate school of business administration (1946–1993), and taught at Columbia University’s graduate school of business (1988–1993).
  • Deming Prize: JUSE’s board of directors established the Deming Prize in 1950 to recognize Demming’s contributions. The Deming Prize continues to exert influence on the disciplines of quality control and quality management in Japan.
  • Author: Deming was the author of “Quality Productivity and Competitive Position, Out of the Crisis” in 1982, and “The New Economics for Industry, Government, Education” in 1993, and other books on statistics and sampling.
  • Japanese Honours: In 1960, the Prime Minister of Japan awarded Deming Japan’s Order of the Sacred Treasure, Second Class. The citation recognizes Deming’s contributions to Japan’s industrial rebirth and its worldwide success.
  • W. Edwards Deming Institute: In 1993, Deming founded the “W. Edwards Deming Institute” in Washington, DC. The institute aims to “Enrich society through the Deming philosophy.”
  • Death: Deming died at the age of 93 in his Washington home from cancer in 1993

Career Advice Quotes by W. Edwards Deming

“It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.”

“Learning is not compulsory… neither is survival.”

“Everyone is a customer for somebody or a supplier to somebody.”

“Information is not knowledge. Let’s not confuse the two.”

“Innovation comes from people who take joy in their work.”

“Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.”

“A bad system will beat a good person every time.”

“A goal without a method is cruel.”


“It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best.”

– W. Edwards Deming

Business Advice Quotes by W. Edwards Deming

“All anyone asks for is a chance to work with pride.”

“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.”

“I am not reporting things about people. I am reporting things about practices.”

“Innovation comes from the producer–not from the customer.”

“The prevailing system of management has crushed fun out of the workplace.”

“People don’t like to make mistakes.”

“It is a mistake to assume that if everybody does his job, it will be all right. The whole system may be in trouble.”

“Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your project or service, and that bring friends with them.”


“Let us ask our suppliers to come and help us to solve our problems.”

– W. Edwards Deming

Leadership and Management Advice Quotes by W. Edwards Deming

“Lack of knowledge… that is the problem.”

“Manage the cause, not the result.”

“It is easy to date an earthquake, but not an economic decline.”

“Management by results is like driving a car by looking in the rearview mirror.”

“Whenever there is fear, you will get the wrong figures.”

“Any manager can do well in an expanding market.”

“A leader’s job is to help his people.”

“If someone can make a contribution to the company he feels important.”

“It is wrong to suppose that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it – a costly myth.”

“If you destroy the people of a company, you do not have much left.”

“The worker is not the problem. The problem is at the top! Management!”

“The most valuable “currency” of any organization is the initiative and creativity of its members. Every leader has the solemn moral responsibility to develop these to the maximum in all his people. This is the leader’s highest priority.”

“If you wait for people to come to you, you’ll only get small problems. You must go and find them. The big problems are where people don’t realize they have one in the first place.”

“85% of the reasons for failure are deficiencies in the systems and process rather than the employee. The role of management is to change the process rather than badgering individuals to do better.”


“If you wait for people to come to you, you’ll only get small problems. You must go and find them. The big problems are where people don’t realize they have one in the first place.”

– W. Edwards Deming

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“Uncontrolled variation is the enemy of quality.”

– W. Edwards Deming

W. Edwards Deming – Quality Advice Quotes

“It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best.”

“3% of the problems have figures, 97% of the problems do not.”

“No one can measure the loss of business that may arise from a defective item that goes out to a customer.”

“Our system of make-and-inspect, which if applied to making toast would be expressed: “You burn, I’ll scrape.”

“If you do not know how to ask the right question, you discover nothing.”

“Improve quality, you automatically improve productivity.”

“Let us ask our suppliers to come and help us to solve our problems.”

“Quality comes not from inspection, but from the improvement of the production process.”

“Schools of business responded to popular demand for finance and creative accounting. The results are decline.”

“The aim proposed here for any organization is for everybody to gain – stockholders, employees, suppliers, customers, community, the environment – over the long term.”

“Inspection with the aim of finding the bad ones and throwing them out is too late, ineffective, and costly. Quality comes not from inspection but from the improvement of the process.”

“A person and an organization must have goals, take actions to achieve those goals, gather evidence of achievement, study and reflect on the data and from that take actions again. Thus, they are in a continuous feedback spiral toward continuous improvement. This is what ‘Kaizan’ means.”

“The aim of leadership should be to improve the performance of man and machine, to improve quality, to increase output, and simultaneously to bring pride of workmanship to people. Put in a negative way, the aim of leadership is not merely to find and record failures of men, but to remove the causes of failure: to help people to do a better job with less effort.”


Innovation comes from people who take joy in their work.

– W. Edwards Deming

W. Edwards Deming Inspirational Quotes

“People are entitled to joy in work”

“You don’t know what you don’t know.”

“Quality is the pride of workmanship.”

“Two basic rules of life are: 1) Change is inevitable. 2) Everybody resists change.”

“The greatest waste … is the failure to use the abilities of people…to learn about their frustrations and about the contributions that they are eager to make.”


Books by W. Edwards Deming

  • Out of the Crisis, by W. Edwards Deming, 1982
  • The new economics for industry, government, education, by W. Edwards Deming, 1993
  • The Essential Deming: Leadership Principles from the Father of Quality, by W. Edwards Deming, Edited by Joyce Orsini and Diana Deming Cahill, 2012
  • Quality, productivity, and competitive position, by W. Edwards Deming, 1982
  • Statistical Adjustment of Data, by W. Edwards Deming, 1964
  • The world of W. Edwards Deming, by W. Edwards Deming, 1988
  • Some Theory of Sampling, by W. Edwards Deming, 1950
  • Sample Design in Business Research, by W. Edwards Deming, 1960
  • The Best of Deming, by W. Edwards Deming, compiled by Ron McCoy, 1994
  • On Errors in Surveys, by W. Edwards Deming, 1944
  • Some Theories of Sampling, by W. Edwards Deming, 1967
  • Quotations of Dr. Deming: The Little Blue Book, by W. Edwards Deming, 1995

Books about Quality Management

  • Gemba Kaizen, by Masaaki Imai, 1997
  • The Lean Six Sigma Pocket Toolbook: A Quick Reference Guide to Nearly 100 Tools for Improving Quality and Speed, by Michael L. George, John Maxey, David T. Rowlands, Mark Price, 2004
  • Toyota Way, by Jeffrey Liker, 2003
  • Toyota Kata, by Mike Rother, 2009
  • The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, by Joseph Michelli, 2008
  • The Quality Toolbox, by Nancy R. Tague, 1995
  • Lean QuickStart Guide: The Simplified Beginner’s Guide to Lean, by Benjamin Sweeney, 2015
  • Value Stream Mapping: How to Visualize Work and Align Leadership for Organizational Transformation, by Karen Martin and Mike Osterling, 2013
  • Six Sigma for Dummies, by Bruce Williams, Craig Gygi, and Neil DeCarlo, 2005
  • Start with Your People: The Daily Decision That Changes Everything, by Brian A. Dixon, 2019
  • Quality Control for Dummies, by Larry Webber, 2007
  • Juran’s Quality Handbook: The Complete Guide to Performance Excellence, by Joseph A. De Feo, 2016

“Improve quality, you automatically improve productivity.”

– W. Edwards Deming

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“85% of the reasons for failure are deficiencies in the systems and process rather than the employee. The role of management is to change the process rather than badgering individuals to do better.”

– W. Edwards Deming

Questions about W. Edwards Deming


“Learning is not cumpulsory… neither is survival.”

– W. Edwards Deming

W. Edwards Deming– Videos

W. Edwards Deming: The 14 Points

W. Edwards Deming – Rare Full-Length Interview


“In God we trust; all others bring data.”

– W. Edwards Deming

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