This article describes Deming’s 14 points for Management by William Edwards Deming in a practical way. After reading you will understand the definition and basics of this powerful management tool.
What are Deming’s 14 points for Management?
As a management consultant, William Edwards Deming is known for the so-called PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) Circle. Herein he emphasises the importance of continuous improvement within an organisation, as opposed to making changes after the fact.
He also developed a type of 10 commandments: the 14 points of knowledge, where the management of an organisation need to adhere to in order to be successful. Applying the Deming’s 14 points for Management throughout the different organizational levels results in a complete transformation. By going through these 14 points in all layers of the organisation, an entire transformation can be achieved.
William Edwards Deming indicates that every company – large or small, serving or producing, profitable or non-profit – always deals with universal knowledge. Deming calls this profound knowledge, which penetrates a company from the outside. That leads to transformation, where the sitting management needs to be open to.
According to William Edwards Deming, the system of profound knowledge is made up of four components through which the world is looked at simultaneously. These components function as lenses through which we see, and all four are related to each other:
- Valuing the system
- The concept of variation and knowledge about this
- The theory of knowledge
Deming’s 14 points for Management
Deming’s 14 points for Management were first presented in his book Out of the Crisis. With the 14 important management principles he offered a way to drastically improve the a company’s effectiveness. Many of these management principles are philosophical in nature, and some are more programmatic.
All Deming’s 14 points for Management can bring about transformation. Below you will find a short description of the 14 points:
1. Create constancy of purpose
Strive for constant improvement in products and services, with the aim of becoming competitive and ensuring consistency in the way business is done, which will ensure retention of employment. Do not just make adjustments at the end of the production process, but evaluate if improvements are necessary during the process and get started immediately.
2. The new philosophy
A new (economic) time offers new chances and challenges, and management must take responsibility for being open to such changes. Without change, a company can not sustain itself in a time when innovation occurs every day.
3. Cease dependence on inspection
End the dependence on inspections and final checks to ensure quality. It is better to that quality checks take place during the process so that improvements can be made earlier. This section links back to the first point, which promotes the importance of interim improvements.
4. End ‘lowest tender’ contract
Move towards a single supplier for any one item. Stop doing business and negotiate with suppliers based on the lowest price. It is worthwhile in the long term to build a good and long-standing relationship with suppliers, which fosters trust and increases loyalty. An organisation should be able to rely on their suppliers; they supply the parts for the production line and are the first link to a high quality product.
5. Continually seek out problems
Improve constantly and forever. Continuous process improvement of production and service results in improved quality and productivity, which in turn leads to cost reduction. This part also relates to the first and third points. Improved quality leads to less waste of other raw materials, which subsequently has a cost-effective effect.
6. Institute training on the job
Training and development of employees is necessary for the survival of an organisation. By integrating it into the organisation, it will be considered as normal for the employees, as part of their Personal Development Plan.
7. Institute supervision
Adopt and institute leadership. Leadership needs to be stimulated. By leading and supervising, managers are able to help employees and make machines work better. Their helicopter view ensures that they can see everything that happens on the workplace. They will also have to delegate more tasks so that they can fully focus on the big picture.
8. Drive out fear
Fear is paralysing. Therefore, fear must be eliminated on the work floor so that everyone can work effectively for the company, feel safe and take risks. Transparent communication, motivation, respect and interest in each other and each other’s work can contribute to this.
9. Break down barriers
By eliminating the boundaries between departments, cooperation can be better and different expert teams will understand each other better. This can be done by, for example, the creation of multifunctional teams, each with an equal share and open to each other’s ideas.
10. Eliminate exhortations
Remove ‘stimulating’ slogans from the workplace. Such slogans, warnings and exhortations are perceived as being patronising. Quality and production problems do not arise from the individual employee, but from the system itself.
11. Eliminate targets
No more focus on achieving certain margins; that impedes professionals from performing their work well and taking the necessary time for it. Rushing through the work can cause production errors. Managers should therefore focus on quality rather than quantity.
12. Permit pride of workmanship
Let employees be proud of their craftsmanship and expertise again. This relates back to the eleventh point. Employees feel more satisfaction when they get a chance to execute their work well and professionally, without feeling the pressure of deadlines.
13. Institute education
Integrate and promote training, self-development and improvement for each employee. This directly connects to the sixth point. By encouraging employees to work for themselves and to see their studies and training as a self-evident part of their jobs, they are able to elevate themselves to a higher level.
14. The transformation is everyone’s job
Transformation is the work of everyone. Set forth concrete actions to implement and realise transformation and change throughout the organisation.
By being open to change, an organisation opens itself to transformation. The first step is the transformation of the individual; every employee separately. This transformation does not take place at the same pace. For some it goes quicker than for others.
When the individual employee opens himself up for transformation, he can experience new meaning in his life regarding events, figures and deadlines and interactions between people. Therefore, he will apply his principles in any form of relationship with other people. He will lay the foundation for evaluating his own choices and how he can apply this in the organisation where he works.
As a result, he is able to act as an example, listen well to others and constantly listen and learn from others. When all employees transform in this way, the entire organisation will transform and apply a new philosophy according to Deming’s 14 points for Management.
It’s Your Turn
What do you think? What are your experiences with the Deming’s 14 points for Management within your organization? Do you recognize the practical explanation or do you have more additions? What are your success factors for applying the different points within your business?
Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.
- Deming, W.E. (2000). Out of the Crisis. The MIT Press.
- Neave, H.R. (1987). Deming’s 14 points for management: framework for success. The Statistician, 561-570.
- Neave, H.R. (1990). The Deming Dimension. SPC Press.
- Stotz, A. (2015). Transform Your Business with Dr. Deming’s 14 Points. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
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