INT 4843 Statistical Quality Assurance


Contrary to the belief of many, the ideas of Statistical Process Control did not come from Japan but rather from an obscure United States government statistician who in 1950 went to Tokyo to help in the reconstruction effort of Japan. This obscure statistician was Dr. W. Edwards Deming, an employee of the Bureau of Census who had worked during World War II as a quality expert in armament plants throughout the United States. Dr. Deming was in Japan at the invitation of General McArthur and addressed the leading industrialists of Japan on January 26, 1950.

The ideas that Dr. Deming carried to Japan were those of understanding basic statistical concepts and applying them to the understanding of industrial processes. Dr. Deming worked with top management as well as engineers and blue collar workers to help them understand how statistical techniques could help them produce higher quality products while at the same time raising productivity and decreasing costs. During the same period within the United States the concepts of increasing quality were synonymous with increasing product cost and thus the Deming concepts were not perceived as an appropriate approach in the manufacturing sector. It must be remembered that during this time Japanese industry was considered a producer of low quality, low cost items while American industry was a producer of high quality and high cost items. Dr. Deming's belief was that if we worked on the system to improve quality, productivity would automatically increase and product costs would therefore decrease. He also stressed the commitment to continuing improvement, thus helping the Japanese understand that solving a single problem meant only short term gains while continuing to work on the process provided for long term gains.

The work by Deming in Japan went unnoticed in the United States until 1980 when NBC television produced a documentary entitled "If Japan Can, Why Can't We?". This telecast revealed for the first time to both the American public and American industrialists that something had happened in Japan thus causing them to become a dominant force in the manufacture and production of products that were being sold within the United States. Dr. Deming's first work in the United States was with a company in Nashua, New Hampshire by the name of Nashua Corporation which was a producer of paper, as well as, copying machines. The company, under the leadership of William Conway, had a joint venture with a Japanese company to produce copy machines. The Japanese company was capable of producing higher quality and lower cost machines than the Nashua Corporation itself. This fact bothered Mr. Conway and he sent a team of engineers to Japan to study their production techniques. The Nashua engineers found that the Japanese supplier was focusing a great deal of employee effort upon an award identified as "The Deming Prize." Not being aware of what the Deming Prize meant, Conway asked for more information and learned that the Deming Prize was awarded annually in Japan to the company within a respective industry that had the record for highest quality and productivity.

With this knowledge in hand, Mr. Conway contacted Dr. Deming and asked him if he would begin to work with Nashua Corporation. The year was 1980, some thirty years after Deming had originally gone to Japan. Deming's work with Nashua Corporation soon spread to other companies such as Ford Motor, Eaton Corporation and the Pontiac Division of General Motors. As can be noted, this initial effort was concentrated in the automotive industry with auto suppliers becoming a major group to be impacted by the Deming Principles.

Dr. Deming's work in Japan in the '50's, '60's and '70's was more than just teaching Japanese workers about the concepts of Statistical Process Control. He initially went to Japan with statistical techniques and returned to the United States in 1980 with 14 management principles that he had developed and helped the Japanese understand during his work with them. These 14 management principles are recognized as the basis for the fourth wave of management which has been identified as "Management of Methods". Dr. Deming's management principles along with the Statistical Process Control concepts have spread throughout a number of industries attempting to be more competitive within the United States.

The concepts of Statistical Process Control therefore were initiated by an American statistician and were available and used in the United States during the 1940's. The concepts were taken to Japan in the early 50's and implemented in the reconstruction of Japanese industry. As Dr. Deming worked with the Japanese, the Statistical Process Control concepts helped him evolve a management theory based upon his fourteen principles. These concepts, along with his 14 principles, were recognized in 1980 as something we should again address in the United States and his work has spread slowly since.


Dr. Deming's 14 Principles of Quality Management

W. Edwards Deming: "The 14 points all have one aim: to make it possible for people to work with joy."

1. Create constancy of purpose for the improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive, stay in business, and provide jobs.

2. Adopt the new philosophy of cooperation (win-win) in which everybody wins. Put it into practice and teach it to employees, customers, and suppliers.

3. Cease dependence on mass inspection to achieve quality. Improve the process and build quality into the product in the first place.

4. End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag alone. Instead, minimize total cost in the long run. Move toward a single supplier for any one item, on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust.

5. Improve constantly and forever the system of production, service, planning, or any activity. This will improve quality and productivity and thus constantly decrease costs.

6. Institute training for skills.

7. Adopt and institute leadership for the management of people, recognizing their different abilities, capabilities, and aspirations. The aim of leadership should be to help people, machines, and gadgets do a better job. Leadership of management is in need of overhaul, as well as leadership of production workers.

8. Drive out fear and build trust so that everyone can work effectively.

9. Break down barriers between departments. Abolish competition and build a win-win system of cooperation within the organization. People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team to foresee problems of production and in use that might be encountered with the product and service.

10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets asking for zero defects or new levels of productivity. Such exhortations only create adversarial relationships, as the bulk of the causes of low quality and low productivity belong to the system and thus beyond the power of the work force.

11. Eliminate numerical goals, numerical quotas, and management by objectives. Substitute leadership.

12. Remove barriers that rob people of joy in their work. This will mean abolishing the annual rating or merit system that ranks people and creates competition and conflict.

13. Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement.

14. Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody's job


Class Index

School of Technology
College of Business & Applied Sciences
Eastern Illinois University