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14 Points of Deming

written by: Ronda Bowen • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 10/31/2010

If you've been wanting to undertake a quality improvement project, you should be familiar with Deming's 14 Points. Learn about the 14 Points for quality improvement projects and make your next efforts towards total quality management successful ones.

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    What Are Deming's 14 Points?

    Are You familiar with Deming's 14 Points? W Edwards Deming is the person most often credited with the invention of Total Quality Management. In constructing this theory for improving the quality of company products and services, Deming came to the conclusion that any Total Quality Management theory would have to include these fourteen points. Deming's 14 Points will help you in all of your quality improvement endeavors. By familiarizing yourself with the theories behind the practices, you can better prepare yourself for any situation your company may be faced with.

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    1. Stop Putting Out Fires

    Stop reacting to issues as they confront your company. Instead of turning to short-term reactive planning, instead, make a commitment to long-term planning. By making a commitment towards quality improvement from the get go, you can ensure that your quality improvement implementations sizzle, not fizzle.

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    2. Get Management on Board

    Every member of management really needs to adapt a philosophy of commitment towards being consistent in improvement efforts. If management does not adopt the philosophy, and demonstrate a commitment towards quality improvement in all products and services, then they cannot possibly expect for employees to get on board with the improvements.

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    3. Prevention, Not Inspection

    In the commitment towards making products and processes meet company standards, it is important to reduce variation in processes as much as possible. By focusing on preventing errors and defects instead of inspecting final products, both time and money can be saved in the long run.

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    4. Reduce, Reduce, Reduce

    Reduce the number of suppliers for your parts. If you are relying on a multitude of suppliers, your risk of running into errors and defects is much higher than it would be should you reduce your suppliers to a single company. If you cannot rely on only one company to provide you with goods and services, this number should be as small as possible.

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    5. No One Night Stands

    When you are working on a quality improvement effort, you need to be sure that you are looking at quality improvement as a constant, forever-kind of process. You don't just make improvements once. Instead, you constantly look and evaluate places where quality can be improved, and then create a plan to implement those improvements.

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    6. Will Train!

    Provide on-the-job training for your employees. In order to reduce variation, and focus on prevention, it is absolutely essential that your employees are properly trained. By providing adequate training for every employee, variation in process is greatly reduced.

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    7. Take Me to Your Leader

    Bring leadership practices into your company instead of simple supervisory tasks. By training supervisors and managers to be leaders, rather than supervisors, it helps to build the team's cohesion, and helps to develop a culture of quality improvement practices.

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    8. No Fear Allowed

    Make fear a dirty word in your organization. By driving out fear, you are eliminating a block to long-term quality improvement success. Deming's 14 points rely upon the focus on the long-term, and ridding employees of fears is one thing conducive to long-term progress. By eliminating fear in all of its instantiations, your company will be rid of counter-productive emotions.

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    9. Tear Down That Wall

    For any successful quality improvement effort, you need to break down barriers to effective communication between departments. While traditional setups have managers that departments report to, Deming's idea of total quality management relies upon cross-departmental communication.

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    10. No More Cheesy Sayings

    It is vital that you eliminate slogans from your company's vocabulary. If you are relying upon a slogan to explain a business process, you are making a huge mistake, and getting caught in a process that may no longer work for your quality improvement efforts.

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    11. No Objectives-Based Management

    If you eliminate the idea that management should be about making employees meet objectives, quotas, targets, etc. imagine what sort of progress can be made! Focus on quality, not objectives.

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    12. Can Get...Satisfaction?

    Make sure you've eliminated any barriers that could stand in the way of your employee and the ability of that employee to experience pride of workmanship. It is vital that your employees feel good about what they do.

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    13. Betterment Attained Here

    Be sure that you have implemented a plan for betterment and self-improvement into your company. If there are more things to learn, this will motivate employees.

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    14. Everyone Participates

    Deming's final point is that the commitment to quality improvement belongs to everyone. Don't let anyone sit on the sidelines!

    Photo Courtesy of sxc.hu/andrea j.