What follows is a discussion between me & my son, who works for Big Co, Inc. Edwards Deming was an Industrial Engineer ( I think) who, in the 1960s sought answers to many issues related to efficient factory production. Green, blue & magenta are my comments; black full width are his. Some of this is on the edge of jargon: Tigercat and Timberpro are brands of forestry equipment. If you have questions, please don’t be afraid to ask. I plan to try to expand on some topics, such as the problems associated with competitive bidding, in future posts.
Christopher (son) prefaced it with the following: “Here are some interesting points concerining people management. This guy seems like he had some really neat ideas. When I looked at them my first reaction was ‘That’s completely untenable, if you remove quotas then how do you know if you reached your goal?’ but the more I think about it, if you shift the focus to quality and hard work/pride in your work, then you don’t need the quotas to begin with. Curious to know if you agree or disagree and any other thoughts you might have.###
Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive, to stay in business and to provide jobs. Sort of a linear programming approach. we have to operate within these constraints, but we can still optimize outcomes, based on the criteria we select.
- Adopt the new philosophy. We are in a new economic age. Western management must awaken to the challenge, must learn their responsibilities, and take on leadership for change.
- Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for massive inspection by building quality into the product in the first place. Assumes employee buy-in and a quality of employee that is hard to find. Team approach w/ accountability can certainly help, but my observations of human nature are that they will cut corners & try to get away with whatever they can. There needs to be an accountability mechanism, whether random inspections or whatever.
- End the practice of awarding business on the basis of a price tag. Absolutely! This is one of the things about competitive bidding that sucks. HIGHEST (OR LOWEST) bid gets the job. Never mind the quality of work. Trick is to identify quantifiable criteria which correlate with performance/quality Instead, minimize total cost. Move towards a single supplier for any one item, on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust. I’m a little uneasy w/ single supplier. Long term relationships are good. One problem is that customers are focused on price rather than other criteria. See, for example, Tigercat’s cost spreadsheet.
- Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease costs.
- Institute training on the job. Cross training helps employees understand the impacts of their actions, so that they are willing to take an extra second to make the next step easier or improve flow dynamics.
- Institute leadership (see Point 12 and Ch. 8 of “Out of the Crisis”). The aim of supervision should be to help people and machines and gadgets do a better job. Supervision of management is in need of overhaul, as well as supervision of production workers. At one point I told my old boss that I was a tool at his disposal, capable of amazing accomplishments if properly used. So discernment of gifts/aptitudes is important both to self actualization & to production optimization. In a factory production environment, that’s hard: keep the work interesting & still get product out the door.
- Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company. (See Ch. 3 of “Out of the Crisis”) Fear can be important in keeping people from doing dangerous things. It has its place. I don’t recall fear being part of Maslow’s hierarchy. Positive emotions are even more powerful motivators, but must be allowed to flourish in a safe environment.
- Break down barriers between departments. People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team, in order to foresee problems of production and usage that may be encountered with the product or service.
- Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the work force asking for zero defects and 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 lie beyond the power of the work force. Focus on what USFS calls “desired future condition:” outcomes. Focus on what makes achieving outcomes difficult w/ gap analysis or root cause analysis. Focus on the problems and issues, not the people associated w/ them, with the recognition that sometimes the people are the problem.
- Eliminate work standards (quotas) on the factory floor. Substitute with leadership. Lead by example, but have some sort of disciplinary structure as a backup. That can be team accountability. As you know from school science projects, sometimes there’s a slacker in the ‘hood.
- Eliminate management by objective. Eliminate management by numbers and numerical goals. Instead substitute with leadership.
- Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of his right to pride of workmanship. The responsibility of supervisors must be changed from sheer numbers to quality.
- Remove barriers that rob people in management and in engineering of their right to pride of workmanship. This means, inter alia, abolishment of the annual or merit rating and of management by objectives (See Ch. 3 of “Out of the Crisis”).
- 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’ve seen the problems associated with both paying by the piece (load), and paying a straight hourly rate. It is important to understand that, like cup holders in minivans, people often are unaware of their true needs, desires, and motivations. Deming mentions some things about how management should lead. That has to include the politics and culture of the company.