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Paula Marshall's Blog

The musings of a female CEO, trying to change the way business is done.

I want to elaborate on W. Edwards Deming’s 14 Points of Management. The 14 Points are “a signal that the management intend to stay in business and aim to protect investors and jobs.” (Deming Institute) Deming’s goal is not to find cheaper jobs overseas, it is to maintain existing jobs. Shipping jobs overseas may save money in the short run, but it demolishes morale and internal structure. There can be no cohesion when half a company’s employees are on the other side of the world, when they don’t speak English, and when they are being paid a fraction of what American employees make. This breeds insecurity. “When will my job be outsourced? Am I worth keeping” It’s only a matter of time.”

Deming’s points must be integrated wholeheartedly to make any effect.

These are the first 7 of Deming’s 14 points.

  • Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive and to stay in business, and to provide jobs. This is the cornerstone of any Deming-infused system. At Bama, we implement the Six Sigma business management strategy which focuses on eliminating defects on the product line. There must be a system in place dedicated to constantly improving our products. We can’t be complacent, or think that something is “good enough.”
  • Adopt the new philosophy. We are in a new economic age. Western management must awaken to the challenge, must learn their responsibilities, and take on leadership for change. When Deming was writing, the U.S. was losing a lot of manufacturing business to the Japanese. It was important at the time to recognize that we couldn’t just keep forcing a system that wasn’t working. A lot of businesses today are still stuck in those old ways.
  • Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for inspection on a mass basis by building quality into the product in the first place. Inspection is fixing what you’ve done wrong after the fact. It causes waste, and is an acceptance of existing problems instead of curing the problem at the root. Fixing problems at the root eliminates the need for over-inspection.
  • End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag. Instead, minimize total cost. Move toward a single supplier for any one item, on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust. Having suppliers that you can trust, and trust you, is priceless. At Bama we try to have only one supplier for each product. It cuts down on paperwork, and gives us more time to cultivate a relationship with the supplier, and keep them happy.
  • Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease costs. Improvement doesn’t always mean eliminating defects. It means making your product the best choice for the customer. If your product doesn’t have the most competitive price, then it isn’t the most competitive. You could have the best product, with no defects, but that does the customer no good if they can’t justify paying the price.
  • Institute training on the job. No one person has all the education needed for any one job. On the job training is vital to your employees’ success.
  • Institute leadership. The aim of supervision should be to help people and machines and gadgets to do a better job. Supervision of management is in need of overhaul, as well as supervision of production workers. See my post on Organic Leadership for more tips on how to integrate true leadership into your organization. Bosses are mentors, not time-keepers. We must teach each other how we feel comfortable being led and the most productive ways for us to be managed.

Stay tuned for the next 7 points, coming next blog!


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