Oil and Gas Industrial zone,The equipment of oil refining,Close-up of industrial pipelines of an oil-refinery plant,Detail of oil pipeline with valves in large oil refinery.



6. Deming – Quality Control


Secondary-Ed at the high school allowed me to engage in off-campus activities. While working evenings on the masters degree, I also worked weekends and summers at a local factory, Signetics Corp. This role gave me excellent savvy of the integrated circuit assembly process.

After seven years at the school I accepted a position at Signetics as Maintenance Manager, learning well the issues the company struggled with to make money. I was introduced to the moniker Good-Cheap-Fast, as the key to survival that made a lot of sense. The product must meet the spec (Good), it must be delivered at a cost that will attract customers (Cheap), and be delivered on time (Fast). As a member of the management team, I shared in several drives to improve the quality (Good-Cheap-Fast) bottom-line.

William Edwards Deming was an American statistician, college professor, author, lecturer, and consultant. He is noted for improving production in the US during World War II. He is best known, however, for his work in Japan following the war. Signetics employed a quality guru to teach us Deming’s principles. During the first of several sessions, it was clear Deming was different. There was no talk of inspection, a key element to what we knew as quality.

Quality had been a system inspecting final product to know when to adjust the machine(s). Deming taught this view was incorrect. If quality is built in, rather than inspected in, then quality is a function of management. Not of the workforce!

In those first sessions, the Deming model destroyed my notions of management. We learned the important things we’d been taught were wrong. Not only were they wrong, but they led to poor quality, unhappy customers and an unhappy workforce.

The leader posed the question, “When is a firm getting the best quality from its people?” One of our group responded, ”I think people have to be happy for there to be quality.” That response was a thundering wake-up to our group! That it came from our group magnified its impact. The leader responded, “Not a bad answer. Quality is pride of workmanship.”

Deming listed obstacles to the quality effort, saying an emphasis on short-term profit heads the list. He offered 14 key principles for management to follow to improve their business. The points were first presented in his very famous book “Out of the Crisis.” Below is the condensation of the 14 Points for Management as they appeared in the book:

Rule #1 – Create constancy of purpose for improving products and services: Plan for quality in the long term. Don’t just do the same things better – find better things to do.

Rule #2 – Adopt the new philosophy: Embrace quality throughout the organization. Create your quality vision, and implement it.

Rule #3 – Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality: Inspections are costly and unreliable – and they don’t improve quality, they merely find a lack of quality.

Rule #4 – End the practice of awarding business on price alone: instead, minimize total cost by working with a single supplier: Look at suppliers as your partners in quality. Encourage them to spend time improving their own quality – they shouldn’t compete for your business based on price alone.

Rule #5 – Improve constantly every process for planning, production and service: to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease costs.

Rule #6 – Institute training on the job: build a foundation of common knowledge. Allow workers to understand their roles in the “big picture.”

Rule #7 – Adopt and institute leadership: Don’t simply supervise – provide support and resources so that each staff member can do his or her best. Be a coach instead of a policeman.

Rule #8 – Drive out fear: Allow people to perform at their best by ensuring that they’re not afraid to express ideas or concerns. Make workers feel valued, and encourage them to look for better ways to do things.

Rule #9 – Break down barriers between staff areas: People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team, to foresee problems of production and in use that may be encountered with the product or service.

Rule #10 – Eliminate slogans, exhortations and targets for the workforce: Let people know exactly what you want – don’t make them guess. Don’t let words and nice-sounding phrases replace effective leadership.

Rule #11 – Eliminate numerical quotas for the workforce and numerical goals for management: Look at how the process is carried out, not just numerical targets. Measure the process rather than the people behind the process.

Rule #12 – Remove barriers that rob people of pride of workmanship, and eliminate the annual rating or merit system: This means the abolishment of the annual or merit rating and of management by objective.

Rule #13 – Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement for everyone: Improve the current skills of workers. Encourage people to learn new skills to prepare for future changes and challenges.

Rule #14 – Put everybody in the company to work accomplishing the transformation: The transformation is everybody’s job. Improve your overall organization by having each person take a step toward quality.

That is a very long list for a manager to consider, but success will only come with everyone on board – from the on-line worker to the company president. That is the genius of W. Edwards Deming.

Deming placed quality in two main groups:

1) Features

2) Freedom from defects.

85% of reasons for failure are deficiencies in the process rather than the employee. Management’s role is to change the process rather than badgering individuals to do better. Two important features underlie all issues:

a) Journey from Symptom to Cause is the Diagnostic.

b) Cause to the Fix is remedial, much easier.

A problem many face is confusing the symptom with the cause for the reject, or problem. We in America have worried about specifications, focused on meeting the spec, sounding the alarm when a spec is not met.

We’ve learned to live in a world of mistakes and defective products as if they were necessary to life. It is time we adopt a new philosophy in America.

Deming Truisms:

‘Rational behavior requires theory. Reactive behavior requires only reflex action.”
“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you are doing.”
“You should not ask questions without knowledge.”
“The result of long-term relationships is better and better quality, and lower and lower costs.”
“Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your product or service, and that bring friends with them.”
“We’ve learned to live in a world of mistakes and defective products as if they were necessary. It is time we adopt a new philosophy in America.”
“Eighty-five percent of the reasons for failure are deficiencies in the systems and process rather than the employee. The role of management is to change the process rather than badgering individuals to do better.”
“Don’t just do the same things better – find better things to do.”

I was stunned. No talk of inspection or of the minimum acceptable level of quality. The one time quality had been mentioned during my previous business education was as a system of inspection of final product to determine when a machine had to be adjusted. I now know this was totally incorrect. If quality is not inspected in but is built in, if quality is integral to the product or service, then quality is a function of management.

In that first course Deming proceeded to destroy every important notion of management I had been taught. He showed me that the important things I had learned in business school were wrong. Not only were they wrong, but they led to inferior results, poor quality, and customer dissatisfaction.” He said, “Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of his right to pride in workmanship. Institute a vigorous program of education and self- improvement. Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody’s job. We in America have worried about specifications: Meet the specification!“ There is clearly more to it that that.

Deming highlights Seven Deadly Diseases and Obstacles:

1. Lack of constancy of purpose, planning product that will have a market, keeping the company in business and providing jobs.
2. Emphasis on short term profits (just the opposite from constancy of purpose to stay in business).
3. Evaluation of performance, merit rating, or annual review.
4. Mobility of management; job hopping.
5. Management using only visible figures, with little or no consideration of figures that are unknown.
6. Excessive medical costs
7. Excessive costs of liability, swelled by lawyers working on contingency fees.

Deming taught his position(s) with a graphic called the Red Bead exercise. He scoops a paddle with 50 slots into a bucket with red and white beads. The bead bucket has 10% red beads and 90% white. A scoop with holes drilled part-way into the board collects red and white beads with each scoop. The objective is to get only white beads.

Deming enlists class members to try their hand with scoops, but find they are unable to get only white beads. Point of interest:

Will punishing the operators (bead scoopers) for getting red beads improve the Bead Scoop process?

Deming: “Don’t just do the same things better – find better things to do.”

What is the role of Quality Control? It is critical for QC to understand their role. Their role is to correlate the tasters, to understand the taste of our competition, to what’s acceptable and to keep consistent. For example, if we bake a cake: QC is the taster, and the only one. If you have the best baker in the world, but you have a tighter taste test, you may…

Goal is not to be a catcher of boulders, but a monitor of the process (measuring, so as to feedback to manufacturing & tell them ‘that’s better, that’s worse…’) & they are looking as we turn the crank. The Goal is to measure the process. Any sampling plan with catch the boulders.

Deming went to Japan first and taught the math of CONTROL, he then told the Japanese they needed to talk to his friend Juran, who taught IMPROVEMENT (the management side of the coin). Juran had published his Quality Control Handbook in 1951, which the Japanese got hold of and asked, who is Juran? We’ll see more about Juran later.

A firm wanted to make the world’s best dog food. Used the latest animal nutrition, made in spotless automatic kitchens, packaged so that it would jump off the supermarket shelves into the shopping cart. It was supported with award winning commercials.

The product took off, then died. An international marketing consultant was brought in to see what went wrong. When he came back with his report, it simply said, “The dogs don’t like it!” What does this tell us about producing quality?

Good, cheap, fast, happy…

Listen, care, risk, have fun…

The Deming Secret ls really Many secrets!


Funditty #6

“I am easily satisfied with the very best.”
Winston Churchill

Bob Robertson

Bob Robertson

Bob Robertson is a retired professional quality engineer and educator with extensive experience in manufacturing environments throughout the world, including Singapore, Indonesia, Russia, and various locations throughout the United States. Besides all that, he Leslie Householder's admired and revered father, and she is pleased to spotlight his "Expat" stories here on her Rare Faith blog.