William Edwards Deming

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W. Edwards Deming

William Edwards Deming (October 14, 1900 - December 20, 1993) was one of the world's famous American Total Quality Management gurus since 1940's. He was born in Sioux City, Iowa, USA. He studied on university of Wyoming, Colorado and Yale. After studies he worked with Walter A. Shewhart in Bell Laboratories. During the World War II, he was related with military industry. After the war, he went to Japan in 1950's to help reconstruct Japanese industry. During that time he developed a theory in which he stated that: higher quality can mean lower costs. When he returned to USA, he founded a consulting company.

Japanese approach to quality management was discovered by western enterprises only in early 80-ties, after an interview with Deming in NBC. This is viewed as beginning of new quality movement in USA and Europe.

To appreciate impact of Deming on Japanese industry, his name was given to the first quality award. Deming Prize was established in Japan in 1951[1].


William Edwards Deming is known for his work in the field of quality management, specifically his 14 points for management and his focus on continuous improvement. He is also known for his work in the field of statistics and his application of statistical methods to quality control. Deming's ideas and methods have been influential in the manufacturing and service industries, and have been credited with helping to improve the quality of products and services in the United States and Japan. He also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985.

The main Deming's achievements are:

Examples of William Edwards Deming achievements

  • William Edwards Deming was a highly influential statistician and business consultant who developed a system of Total Quality Management. He developed the "Deming Cycle," which helps organizations analyze processes to identify areas for improvement and then implement changes to improve those processes. His teachings have been adopted by many organizations worldwide and have become an integral part of modern business practices.
  • One example of Deming's teachings was his concept of continuous improvement. He argued that organizations should strive to constantly improve their processes and products, rather than simply relying on traditional methods of quality control. This concept has been embraced by many organizations, who have implemented systems such as Six Sigma to help them achieve their goals.
  • Another example of Deming's teachings was his insistence that an organization should strive to create an environment where employees feel empowered and respected. He argued that a company should make sure that employees are given the resources and freedom to make decisions and take ownership of their work. This has been adopted by many organizations, who have implemented systems such as employee engagement surveys and management development programs to ensure that their employees feel valued.
  • A third example of Deming's teachings was his belief that an organization should focus on customer satisfaction. He argued that companies should measure customer satisfaction regularly and strive to improve it. This has been adopted by many organizations, who have implemented systems such as customer surveys and customer feedback programs to ensure that customers are happy with their experiences.
  • Finally, Deming was a strong advocate of collaboration. He argued that organizations should strive to create an environment where employees can work together and share ideas. This has been adopted by many organizations, who have implemented systems such as team building exercises and brainstorming sessions to help create a collaborative environment.

Advantages of William Edwards Deming approach

Here are some advantages of William Edwards Deming's contribution to the field of quality control:

  • Deming's 14 Points for Management provided a comprehensive approach to quality control that focused on the importance of management's involvement in the improvement of quality.
  • He believed that total quality management is the responsibility of everyone in the organization, and that quality improvement is a continuous process.
  • Deming's ideas on quality improvement and employee motivation have been adopted by numerous organizations around the world and have helped them to become more efficient and productive.
  • He also developed the Deming Prize, which is awarded annually to recognize individuals and organizations that have demonstrated outstanding achievements in quality management.
  • Deming's books and lectures have inspired many to pursue careers in quality management and to become successful executives.

Limitations of William Edwards Deming approach

William Edwards Deming was an influential statistician, author, and consultant who revolutionized the manufacturing industry in the post-war period. However, his ideas and methods have their limitations, including:

  • His approach focused on the quality of individual processes, but it did not necessarily address larger systemic issues in the organization.
  • He did not provide specific tools and techniques to help organizations implement his ideas, leaving companies to figure out how to apply his principles in their own way.
  • His methods do not necessarily incorporate customer feedback and market trends, which could limit the effectiveness of the solutions he proposed.
  • The success of his approach is often dependent on the ability of organizations to implement it properly and consistently, which may be difficult to achieve in practice.

William Edwards Demingrecommended articles
Joseph M. JuranArmand FeigenbaumDeming prizePhilip B. CrosbyKaoru IshikawaTotal Quality ManagementDeming 14 pointsKaizenISO 9001


  • Mann, Nancy (1989), "Keys to Excellence: The Story of the Deming Philosophy - 3rd Edition"
  • Deming, W. Edwards (1986), "Out of the Crisis"
  • Deming, W. Edwards (2000), "The New Economics for Industry, Government, Education (2nd ed.)"

Author: Rafał Szkaradek