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February 05, 2007

Redux: Deming's 14 Points

W. Edwards Deming, who died in 1993, was a statistician and consultant credited with the rise of Japan as a manufacturing power, revitalizing the Total Quality Management (TQM) movement and creating interest in management systems of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). In 1982, he published his 14 points so that American business could effectively compete in the new global marketplace. The 14 points can apply to a law firm delivering services as well as to a multi-national manufacturing company selling products world-wide. And they can certainly apply to the operations of a law firm's business clients:

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 aspiration. 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 or 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 lie 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.

Posted by JD Hull at February 5, 2007 10:37 PM


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