Who is W. Edwards Deming?

‘A bad system will beat a good person every time’
W. Edwards Deming

William Edwards Deming (1900 to 1993) was an American Statistician who developed ‘better ways for people to work together’. His philosophy outlined the continual improvement of products, services, processes, systems and people. His philosophy was adopted by Japanese companies after World War II and it is believed that it was these philosophies that helped their export industries recover so effectively. He took the view that in order to improve the quality and quantity of what you are producing you must treat every aspect of manufacturing as a ‘system’ not as bits and pieces that can be bolted together at the end.

Deming developed 14 principals of working practices – many of which have been adopted by successful manufacturers worldwide – his ideas now seem common sense and even obvious – but this is because they have become so embedded in our working lives that we cannot imagine a time when they were not considered.

At its simplest his philosophy was to continually:

Plan – do – check – and take action.

In Simple terms Deming believed

  • A company’s aims and purposes must be clearly communicated to all employees
  • A company must adapt to current trends and philosophies
  • You can build quality into a product through the production process
  • Create long term relationships based on loyalty and trust rather than on having the lowest price tag
  • Work to constantly improve quality and productivity of people and machines
  • Have structured and efficient on the job learning
  • Train in ‘leadership’ to improve all job functions
  • Creating a trusting not fearful environment
  • Reduce internal/departmental conflicts
  • Focus on the systems and morale of the workforce
  • Use leadership methods for improvement rather than production ‘quotas’
  • Avoid numerical goals instead learn how to improve the process
  • Enable people to take pride in their workmanship
  • Include everyone within the company to help accomplish the purpose of the company.

At Continua we are constantly looking to improve everything we do – we don’t take this challenge lightly but we do all take the challenge together.

To find out more about W Edwards Deming and his manufacturing philosophy visit