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W. Edward Deming and Tqm

Autor:   •  December 3, 2011  •  Case Study  •  732 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,319 Views

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W. Edward Deming and TQM

W. Edwards Deming was a pioneer in the field of Total Quality Management. In an era when middle-class Americans routinely worked for the same company from their entrance into the job market to their retirement, Deming put forth radical theories on increasing product quality and overall profits through eliminating quotas on the production floor. Deming's ideas were not thoroughly considered in the U.S. in the 1950s largely due to the fact that the United States was already the world economic leader and many businesses saw little need to go out on a limb with some of these pioneering ideas. In the 1980s, executives at Ford Motors started to get nervous due to the increasing market share of Japanese auto manufacturers who had readily adopted Deming's new ideas and invited him to speak with their engineers and management staff.

One of Deming's most radical ideas in the 1950's was the concept of eliminating numerical measures of productivity, such as quotas. He believed that if a process was stable, there would be no need for a quota, as the process would produce consistently good results. If the process was not stable, quotas were useless because there is no defined method to achieve them and results cannot be predicted. One of the reasons this was considered radical at the time was that quotas were the standard method for measuring production efficiency in the 1950's, as they are in many production facilities to this day.

The idea of measuring the quality of an employee's work instead of the quantity must have seemed very counter-intuitive to managers at the time. The main difference between using quality as an end goal instead of quantity is that it is very difficult to quantify the quality of a product. Many of Deming's 14 points work together in tandem, which is why many of his ideas suggesting improvement and quality analysis are done on the process level rather than by individual product. Measuring quality becomes much less of an issue when the process being used is streamlined and error-free.

Another reason that quotas should be eliminated, according to Deming, was that numerical measures of performance usually guarantee inefficiency and incur extra costs. Many employees, when faced with a quota, or certain number of units to be completed in a given amount of time, will do quick and sloppy work, often cutting corners in an attempt to meet their quota. Not meeting quotas can also lead to reduced employee morale and problems with order fulfillment. These problems with product quality can lead to extra costs and a reduced reputation for the company as a whole.

It seems to me that this idea of measuring the quality of a process rather than how many units can be produced in the shortest amount of time is still highly relevant in the business world today. Many of today's strongest


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