Thursday, August 6, 2009

Was Deming Just a Fad?

It seems to be so if I count all the Six Sigma books on the business shelves these days. Based on what I've been reading, some of the organizations/companies that have adopted the Deming approach seem to have done well.

Mary Walton's Deming Management at Work features 5 organizations:
1. Florida Power and Light
2. Health Corporation of America
3. Tri Cities Tenessee
4. United States Navy
5. Bridgestone

A chart of the stock price of FPL indicates that it is doing extremely well. HCA has been taken private amidst some controversy over Medicare fraud so it is hard to judge. Likewise it's hard to judge outcomes for the US Navy but population of Tri Cities Tenessee has continued to increase and Bridgestone has gone on to take over Firestone.

Another book on Deming by Rafael Aguayo, Dr Deming – The American Who Taught the Japanese About Quality is a brief overview of the Deming method. I was surprised to learn that even though the method is all about measurement and continuous improvement, he was opposed to using the outcomes (the "stuff" measured) to judge performance of individuals. Using outcomes for continuous improvement however is incredibly hard and challenging because the work is never done.

1 comment:

curiouscat said...

I do not think it is just a fad. Many of the ideas have been adopted but it is true few companies have taken a full Deming approach. I believe that we will continue to move closer to Deming's ideas over the long term. Some of my posts on Deming
http://management.curiouscatblog.net/2007/12/17/deming-companies/
http://management.curiouscatblog.net/2007/08/14/stop-demotivating-me/
http://management.curiouscatblog.net/2006/10/16/deming-institute-conference-tom-nolan/