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Dr. William Edwards Deming was a statistician, professor, author, lecturer and consultant.

He received his BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wyoming. An MS from the University of Colorado, and a PhD from Yale University. His graduate degrees were in mathematics and physics.



W. Edwards Deming

He is best known for his quality improvement work in Japan after WWII. In the 1950’s he taught hundreds of Japanese engineer’s Statistical Process Control and other quality tools such as Pareto Charts.

His message to Japan's chief executives was that quality improvement would reduce expenses and increase productivity and market share. Japanese manufacturers applied his principles and experienced unheard-of levels of quality and productivity improvement.


Dr. Deming's quality improvements created new levels of demand for Japanese products. So grateful were the Japanese that they named their National Quality Award after him 1950.

To this day the Deming Prize is awarded each year to the company showing the best quality improvement. Yearly, the award ceremony is aired on Japanese national television.



Dr. Deming also created his System of Profound Knowledge. He believed that traditional management was plagued with problems and called these problems the Seven Deadly Diseases. To cure these diseases he created the Deming 14 Key Points.


  1. Lack of constancy of purpose to plan and deliver products and services that will help a company survive in the long term.
  2. Emphasis on short-term profits caused by short-term thinking (which is just the opposite of constancy of purpose).
  3. Performance appraisals that promote fear and stimulate unnecessary competition among employees.
  4. Mobility of management (i.e., job hopping), which promotes short-term thinking.
  5. Management by use of visible figures without concern about other data, such as the effect of happy and unhappy customers on sales, and the increase in overall quality and productivity that comes from quality improvement upstream.
  6. Excessive medical costs, which now have been acknowledged as excessive by federal and state governments, as well as industries themselves.
  7. Excessive costs of liability further increased by lawyers working on contingency fees.


  1. Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service.
  2. Adopt the new philosophy. Commonly accepted levels of delays, mistakes, defective materials, and defective workmanship are now intolerable. We must prevent mistakes.
  3. Cease dependence on mass inspection. Instead, design and build in quality.
  4. Don't award business on price tag alone (but also on quality, value, speed and long term relationship).
  5. Continuously improve the system of production and service.
  6. Institute training on the job.
  7. Institute leadership (modern methods of supervision). The best supervisors are leaders and coaches, not dictators.
  8. Drive out fear. Create a fear-free environment where everyone can contribute and work effectively.
  9. Break down barriers between areas. People should work cooperatively with mutual trust, respect, and appreciation for the needs of others in their work.
  10. Eliminate slogans aimed solely at the work force. Most problems are system-related and require managerial involvement to rectify or change.
  11. Eliminate numerical goals, work standards, and quotas. Objectives set for others can force sub-optimization or defective output in order to achieve them.
  12. Remove barriers that hinder workers (and hinder pride in workmanship).
  13. Institute a vigorous program of education and self improvement.
  14. Take action to accomplish the transformation. Create a structure in top management that will promote the previous thirteen points.


Dr. Deming is credited with popularizing Walter Shewhart’s Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) improvement strategy. Ultimately the strategy became known as the Deming Cycle. Within industry the process is typically known as PDCA. A Pareto Chart can be used to identify a problem and then PDCA can be used to fix it.

Dr. Deming always went out of his way to credit and attribute both PDCA and Statistical Quality Control to Walter Shewhart, the father of both.


  1. Plan the improvement change
  2. Do the change, preferably on a small scale.
  3. Check and observe the results of the change.
  4. Act on the results, implement on a large scale or make needed corrections.

Dr. Deming was trained as a mathematician and applied this knowledge to quality improvement. He was not all science though; he recognized the importance of employee attitudes and the impact upon organizations.

He understood and preached that systemic change rested directly at the feet of management.



walter shewhart

Walter Shewhart

Dr. Walter Shewhart was a physicist, statistician, engineer, and author. He, along with Dr. Deming, are the fathers of Statistical Quality Control and quality improvement.Dr. Shewhart attended the University of Illinois. He was awarded a PhD in Physics from the University of California, Berkley.


It was Shewhart who in the 1920’s applied the Gaussian (normal) distribution to industrial processes. Using charts, Shewhart showed the statistical points where a process should be adjusted.

His application of the normal distribution to industrial processes is the back bone of quality sciences even to this day.

He differentiated process variation into two categories...

  • Common-cause variation which is caused by random chance and,
  • Assignable-cause (special-cause) variation which is caused by a meaningful process event.

In 1938 Dr. Deming came across Dr. Shewhart's work in quality improvement. This began a long relationship with both doing work for the war effort during WWII. Dr. Deming ultimately took Dr. Shewhart’s work to Japan and put the country on the road to prosperity.


joseph juran

Joseph Juran

Dr. Juran was a consultant and an author and preacher for Quality. He earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota. He graduated from the Chicago School of Law and was admitted to the Illinois bar. He never practiced law.

Juran only held positions in Quality and began his career working in a complaint department. This is likely what ignited his passion for Quality.



Pareto Principle – Application to quality problems Juran discovered the work of Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist, and began applying his Pareto principle to quality issues in the form of a chart.

The principle states that 80% of the problems are a result of 20% of the causes. A Pareto Chart points to the high frequency problems that must be worked on to improve quality. To this day the Pareto Chart is probably the most popular quality improvement tool.

pareto chart


He also developed the "Juran Trilogy". The trilogy contains three managerial processes; quality planning, quality control and quality improvement. The purpose of quality planning is to make sure that the people that run the processes have what they need to produce.

  1. Quality control is monitoring and inspection to ensure that requirements are met.
  2. Quality improvement is constantly improving fitness-for-use and reducing defects.
  3. Quality improvement seeks new levels of performance superior to the previous level.


During a trip to Japan, Juran learned about Quality Circles. A Quality Circl is a team brought together to make improvements. Quality Circles are usually overseen by a supervisor. Team members have training in the use of Quality Improvement Tools.

Quality Circles support operator ownership and quality improvement.

Juran brought the Quality Circles technique back to the US. The process swept through US industry as a quality improvement technique.

Juran created a Quality Planning Roadmap. The roadmap is used to understand customer requirements, create a design, and develop capable processes.

The road map consists of the following steps:

  1. Identify the customers.
  2. Determine the needs of the customers.
  3. Translate customer needs into our language.
  4. Develop a product that can respond to those needs.
  5. Optimize the product features so as to meet our needs as well as customer needs.
  6. Develop a process which is able to produce the product.
  7. Optimize the process.
  8. Prove that the process can produce the product under operating conditions.
  9. Transfer the process to Operations.



Philip Crosby

Philip Crosby was a quality professional, consultant, and author. He earned his degree in Podiatry but quickly turned his attention to business.

In the 1950’s Philip Crosby joined the American Society for Quality and also became a Senior Quality Engineer at Martin Marietta. While there he developed his improvement strategy known as Zero Defects. 

He was eventually hired by International Telephone & Telegraph as their Vice President of Corporate Quality.


Book: Quality is Free

Philip Crosby authored numerous books but in 1979 his book Quality is Free swept through the business world. It added further fuel to the US Quality Improvement Revolution.

In his book he pointed out that achieving quality cost money but that poor quality costs even more.

He is the founder of his consulting firm Philip Crosby Associates and the Crosby Quality College.


Crosby’s Four Absolutes of Quality

  1. Quality is defined as conformance to requirements.
  2. The system for improving quality is prevention.
  3. The performance standard is zero defects.
  4. The measurement of quality is the price of nonconformance.

To support his Four Absolutes of Quality he developed the Quality Management Maturity Grid and the Fourteen Steps of Quality Improvement.

quality management maturity grid

Quality Management Maturity Grid


  1. Make it clear that management is committed to quality.
  2. Set up quality improvement teams with representatives of the team drawn from each department.
  3. Identify where current and potential non conformance problems come from.
  4. Evaluate the cost of quality and explain its use as a management tool.
  5. Raise the quality awareness and personal concern of all employees.
  6. Take actions to correct problems identified through previous steps.
  7. Establish a committee for the zero defects program.
  8. Train supervisors to actively carry out their part of the quality improvement program.
  9. Hold a ‘zero defects day’ to let all employees realize that there has been a change.
  10. Encourage individuals to establish improvement goals for themselves and their groups.
  11. Encourage employees to communicate to management the obstacles they face in attaining their improvement goals.
  12. Recognize and appreciate those who participate.
  13. Establish quality councils to communicate on a regular basis.
  14. Do it all over again to emphasize that the quality improvement program never ends.


bill smith

Bill Smith is the "Father of Six Sigma", a powerful business improvement strategy. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.


In 1987 Smith joined Motorola. He served as a Quality Manager and Vice President. After the implementation of Smith’s Six Sigma, Motorola won the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

Smith passed of a heart attack in the Motorola cafeteria in 1993. He never made a dime, above his annual salary, on Six Sigma.



mikel harry

Dr. Mikel Harry is credited with being a cofounder of Six Sigma.

In 1989 Motorola invited Harry to head up its Six Sigma Research Institute. In his work with Bill Smith, Harry wanted to create a method to put quality tools into the hands of the masses.

He developed four stages of the five stage Six Sigma process; Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control (MAIC). The (D) Define was later added by General Electric. The improvement cycle is known as DMAIC. Harry later cofounded the Six Sigma Academy and was instrumental in helping to deploy Six Sigma world wide.

From Deming to Quality Management.

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