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Deming's 14 Points and the Supply Chain

Written by Ken Kinlock
Published on Monday, 12 November 2012

iStock 000019549761XSmallQuality pioneer W. Edward Deming is best known for the improvements he made in the post World War 2 Japan, but he also worked with many American companies. In his book:  "Out of the Crisis", Dr. W. Edwards Deming shows 14 steps toward an improved management.  It is not easy in the American Culture to establish such changes. Perhaps that barrier is keeping the American Industry from achieving as impressive results as the ones reached by the Japanese. While he wrote primarily for the “four walls” of traditional manufacturing, his 14 points apply to the extended supply chains that now exist.

Let's take a look at his 14 Points and see how they apply to the Extended Supply Chain:

(1) Create constancy of purpose to achieve quality. The whole purpose of each member of the Extended Supply Chain (ESC) is to be competitive, create jobs and grow their business.

(2) Adopt the quality way of thinking. In a global economy, we must awaken to the challenge, learn our responsibilities and take on leadership for change.

(3) Stop depending on inspection to achieve quality. Each member of the ESC must learn to build quality into their product in the first place.

(4) End the practice of awarding business to suppliers on price alone instead minimize cost by working closely with only one or two vendors. Vendors sell hot dogs; suppliers advance to become long term partners.

(5) Constantly improve every process involved in planning, production, and service. Improved quality and productivity across the ESC will constantly decrease costs.

(6) Institute on-job training for all employees. Here is where collaboration using social networks such as Retail Universe will allow best practices to filter across the ESC.

(7) Adopt and institute leadership. The aim of supervision should be to better help people and machines do a better job.

(8) Drive out fear from the work environment. The goal in any partnership is success because everyone wants it to succeed

(9) Break down barriers between the workers and the management. Tear down silos; communicate how everyone should strive to treat the entire ESC as a team.

(10) Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets. Such exhortations only create adversarial relationships. It is the same across the ESC as inside the “four walls.

(11) Eliminate quantity-quotas and targets for the workforce and management. Substitute leadership.

(12) Remove barriers that rob people of their pride in workmanship, and eliminate the annual rating or merit system. Supplier Report Cards go out the window!

(13) Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement for everyone. Again, another good use of tools like Retail Universe.

(14) Put everyone in the organization to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody's job, from the smallest supplier to the largest distributor.

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