Deming's 14 Points

Michael Robinson Michael Robinson Connect Nov 06, 2023 · 5 mins read
Deming's 14 Points

Deming’s teachings are profoundly affecting how I view challenges faced at work. I will write further on specific elements in future, but want to post his 14 points first as I will refer back to them.

If you want to learn more from the source, I recommend The Essential Deming, a collection of speeches, essays and lectures from the father of quality.

It is not enough for everyone to do his best. Everyone is already doing his best. Efforts, to be effective, must go in the right direction.

Only top management can bring about the changes required. Failure of top management to act on any one of the 14 points listed will impair efforts on the other 13.

The 14 Points

1. Create a constant purpose toward improvement

  • Plan for quality in the long term.
  • Resist reacting with short-term solutions.
  • Don’t just do the same things better – find better things to do.
  • Predict and prepare for future challenges, and always have the goal of getting better.

2. Adopt the new philosophy

  • Embrace quality throughout the organization.
  • Put your customers’ needs first, rather than react to competitive pressure – and design products and services to meet those needs.
  • Be prepared for a major change in the way business is done. It’s about leading, not simply managing.
  • Create your quality vision, and implement it.

3.Stop depending on inspections

  • Inspections are costly and unreliable – and they don’t improve quality, they merely find a lack of quality.
  • Build quality into the process from start to finish.
  • Don’t just find what you did wrong – eliminate the “wrongs” altogether.
  • Use statistical control methods – not physical inspections alone – to prove that the process is working.

4. Use a single supplier for any one item

  • Quality relies on consistency – the less variation you have in the input, the less variation you’ll have in the output.
  • Look at suppliers as your partners in quality. Encourage them to spend time improving their own quality – they shouldn’t compete for your business based on price alone.
  • Analyze the total cost to you, not just the initial cost of the product.
  • Use quality statistics to ensure that suppliers meet your quality standards.

5. Improve constantly and forever

  • Continuously improve your systems and processes. Deming promoted the Plan-Do-Check-Act approach to process analysis and improvement.
  • Emphasize training and education so everyone can do their jobs better.
  • Use kaizen as a model to reduce waste and to improve productivity, effectiveness, and safety.

6. Use training on the job

  • Train for consistency to help reduce variation.
  • Build a foundation of common knowledge.
  • Allow workers to understand their roles in the “big picture.”
  • Encourage staff to learn from one another, and provide a culture and environment for effective teamwork.

7. Implement leadership

  • Expect your supervisors and managers to understand their workers and the processes they use.
  • Don’t simply supervise – provide support and resources so that each staff member can do his or her best. Be a coach instead of a policeman.
  • Figure out what each person actually needs to do his or her best.
  • Emphasize the importance of participative management and transformational leadership.
  • Find ways to reach full potential, and don’t just focus on meeting targets and quotas.

8. Psychological safety

  • Allow people to perform at their best by ensuring that they’re not afraid to express ideas or concerns.
  • Let everyone know that the goal is to achieve high quality by doing more things right – and that you’re not interested in blaming people when mistakes happen.
  • Make workers feel valued, and encourage them to look for better ways to do things.
  • Ensure that your leaders are approachable and that they work with teams to act in the company’s best interests.
  • Use open and honest communication to remove fear from the organization.

9. Break down barriers between departments

  • Build the “internal customer” concept – recognize that each department or function serves other departments that use their output.
  • Build a shared vision.
  • Use cross-functional teamwork to build understanding and reduce adversarial relationships.
  • Focus on collaboration and consensus instead of compromise.

10. Get rid of unclear slogans

  • Let people know exactly what you want – don’t make them guess. “Excellence in service” is short and memorable, but what does it mean? How is it achieved? The message is clearer in a slogan like “You can do better if you try.”
  • Don’t let words and nice-sounding phrases replace effective leadership. Outline your expectations, and then praise people face-to-face for doing good work.

11. Eliminate management by objectives

  • Look at how the process is carried out, not just numerical targets. Deming said that production targets encourage high output and low quality.
  • Provide support and resources so that production levels and quality are high and achievable.
  • Measure the process rather than the people behind the process.

12. Remove barriers to pride of workmanship

  • Allow everyone to take pride in their work without being rated or compared.
  • Treat workers the same, and don’t make them compete with other workers for monetary or other rewards. Over time, the quality system will naturally raise the level of everyone’s work to an equally high level.

13. Implement education and self-improvement

  • Improve the current skills of workers.
  • Encourage people to learn new skills to prepare for future changes and challenges.
  • Build skills to make your workforce more adaptable to change, and better able to find and achieve improvements.

14. Make transformation everyone’s job

  • Improve your overall organization by having each person take a step toward quality.
  • Analyze each small step, and understand how it fits into the larger picture.
  • Use effective change management principles to introduce the new philosophy and ideas in Deming’s 14 points.

This 14 points list was adapted from The University of Tennessee Health Science Center Lean Content page.

Michael Robinson
Written by Michael Robinson Connect
I specialise in creating change that ensures technology organisations provide the engagement, speed and quality so critical for business success in today’s hyper competitive market.