Summary of Out of the Crisis

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W. Edwards Deming could be called the Mozart of quality control, the Shakespeare of business consulting, the Michelangelo of management science. Deming is the sine qua non of modern business thought. He helped engineer the rise of Japanese competitiveness in the consumer goods sector, thereby giving a major prod to globalization. Perhaps his only failure was not envisioning the extremes to which others would later push his ideas of “constancy of purpose” (for example, continuous quality improvement). Then again, their own ideas often come back to haunt prophets and, on most points, Deming passes the test of time with flying colors. In this reprint of his 1986 classic, his eloquent arguments for single supplier sourcing and for leadership rather than supervision, and against production quotas and the absurd practice of management by walking around, ring as true today as ever. getAbstract suggests revisiting this classic often and highly recommends Deming’s seminal work for the wisdom it offers to people at all levels of business and management.

About the Author

Consultant W. Edwards Deming helped revolutionize quality control and productivity management, particularly in Japan. In 1987, President Ronald Reagan awarded him the National Medal of Technology. Deming also wrote The New Economics For Industry, Government, and Education.



A Business Revolution

The time has come for revolution or transformation. This is not a call for reconstruction or revision, but for an entirely new foundation for American business, a movement that addresses unemployment, the economy and the basic sickness in US industry.

The problem of quality begins with US manufacturing folklore, which contends that quality and production are incompatible, and that you cannot have both. In the experience of most plant managers, pushing production means sacrificing quality; enhancing quality means that production will suffer. This dilemma stems from the fact that the manager actually doesn’t know what quality is nor how to achieve it. In truth, production increases as quality improves, because high-quality goods waste less time and require less “rework.” Making excellent products gives employees far deeper satisfaction, which leads to greater productivity. In the West, unlike in Japan, businesses are more interested in the cost of quality and how to audit it. Managers ask: How much quality is it possible to sacrifice before the lack of quality drives customer away?

Quality in Japan

In Japan, the typical response to...

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