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William Deming

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William Deming Biography

William Edwards Deming (October 14, 1900 – December 20, 1993) was an American engineer, statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and management consultant. A native of Sioux City, Iowa, United States.

When he was a child he moved to Powell, Wyoming due to a lawsuit his father was facing. After that, his father lost credibility as a lawyer and left them ruined, living in a humble home. Being only 8 years, Deming had to work in a local hotel. At the age of 17, he moved alone to Laramie city where the University of Wyoming is and in which he would get his B.S on physics and mathematics in 1921.

Since the beginning of his career, he devoted himself to the statistical control of quality. However, in the American context, this idea was not embraced by the effects of the World War II, which produced an excessive demand for products for war, which made the company’s focus on mass production, characterizing the market of this period in a standardized and very closed market. A question that did not allow that the approaches of Shewhart, Deming, and others had an impact.

During and after the war confrontation Deming worked in the United States Census Bureau. In 1950, he had to conduct a population census in Japan. He also would give lectures on statistical quality control in important companies. Deming sold the idea of ​​the importance of becoming a leader in quality control. The Japanese, unlike the Americans, saw a gold mine in this idea that would help them to get out of the catastrophic situation in which the country had remained after being military defeated. In consequence, Japan assumed and developed, Deming’s proposals, turning them into their national business development strategy. One of the most important Japanese developers of Deming’s idea was Kaoru Ishikawa.

The Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers (JUSE), invited him in the mid-fifties to give a series of lectures to improve the economy of this country. The JUSE created the Deming Prize, in honor of William Deming, which today is the most honorable and important awards in Japan. In the official report of the NBC, in 1980 was proclaimed the “founder of the third wave of the Industrial Revolution”.

William’s approach to quality affirmed that quality must be governed by a degree of uniformity and reliability, manage low costs and respond to market demands. In short, quality is everything that the consumer needs and craves. It always must be constantly changing, for that the needs and desires of the consumer are in motion. He was also a great driver of statistical control because it allows predicting the limits of variations which are divided into common and special. Deming was a strong critic of the administration style in the United States and a defender of the power of the worker in the companies. This idea would be taken by Ishikawa later.

He stated that management must ensure that staff work with more enthusiasm and not with more effort. Deming insists that the administration must ensure that the worker can develop an efficient task, for this the managers must ensure an adequate environment. It also promoted the use of a single source of supply, ensures that contacting multiple suppliers is a costly practice and that having a single provider generates greater commitment.

In Deming’s book, called “Out of the Crisis”, the famous 14 Points of Deming are explained with more detail. Basically, fundamental points are touched on: the improvement of the product and the service, the business culture, the establishment of an objective for the organization of the company, evaluation of the commitment of the management, assume new roles in the leadership, the implementation of tools modern quality, such as the statistical control of processes, evolutionary operations, the design of experiences and the deployment of the function of quality.

Deming, purposed a hypothesis on the obstacles to succeed in companies, such as: neglect planning and long-term transformation, the misuse of automation, not following the basic principles of quality, ignoring the problems of the company, outdated by all workers, reduce quality management to the control departments, staff’s responsibility for a failure, use of quality inspection, among other points. These expositions are elucidated in his book Fourteen Points and Seven Deadly Diseases of Management.

William died on December 20, 1993, due to his advanced age. He is currently considered one of the pioneers of quality management and is still recognized as the forerunner of the third industrial revolution. He has earned the respect of the Japanese community for his great contributions in the moments of war and lived instability. In addition, he was the inspirer of the influential innovative quality management Ishikawa.

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