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Dr. W. Edward Deming PDF Print E-mail

Dr. Deming is known as the father of the Japanese post-WWII revival and a leading figure in quality control in the United States.


He used his expertise to advise the U.S. government on the quality of war materials during World War II and afterward worked for the Japanese.  The best demonstration of his ability is the little known fact that after World War II, Japan was seen as a nation which created inferior products no one wanted to buy.  He said he could turn the nation around five years and was surprised and gratified when they did it four.


His efforts were so successful, he became a revered figure in Japan and was awarded the Second Order of the Sacred Treasure by the former Emperor Hirohito.  The Deming Prize, for organizations that apply and achieve stringent quality-performance criteria, was named in his honor.


Dr. Deming’s 14 Points


Dr. Deming is most famous for his 14 points of creating and operating a business with high quality control.


1 – Constancy of purpose – Dr. Deming believed in planning for the long term, including how to find and keep employees, how to stay an industry leader, and plan for where the business will be in many years rather than right now.  We have created Scout Programs which change and grow with our Scouts; we are intentionally created imperfect so our members can influence and change our Scout Programs to serve them better.


2—The new philosophy – before Dr. Deming it was accepted that some level of poor service were just a natural part of doing business.  He made it clear that while no one is perfect, error should always be minimized and there is nothing wrong with shooting for perfection.  We constantly improve our Scouts Programs to better serve our members. 


3—Cease dependence on mass inspection – He believed building quality into the product or service in the first place was the best way to avoid the very inefficient mass inspection.  Products and services should be evaluated on performance.


4—End lowest tender contracts—Dr. Deming believed the price of production was far less important than the quality.  With fewer returns and complaints, the higher quality way would turn into the cheaper way in a few years.  We aim to be the foremost member service oriented entity in the United States and to constantly improve based on what our members need.


5—Improve every process—He believed improvement was never “done.”  That every process from ideas to manufacturing to customer service could constantly be improved.  We strive to be the foremost member service oriented entity in the United States and we are never finished improving.


6—Institute training on the job – When expected to train in their own time, most employees opt not to.  Dr. Deming believed it was good for an organization in the long run to spend the time and money to train employees well and keep them in the company through training for a better job within the company.  We are nondiscriminatory in our hiring as well as in our Scout Programs.  We seek staff who embrace the spirit of Adventure Scouts USA and keep quality people.


7--- Institute leadership—Dr. Deming saw that many of the obstacles to high quality performance are in the hands of management.  Equipment and training must always be improved and management must be aimed at helping employees get what they need to do a better job, rather than sheer number of supervisors.  Our view of leadership is unique; Team Leader responsibility is making sure other Scouts participate and have an active role in their own Scout Programs.


8—Drive out fear – Dr. Deming recognized that many employees fear telling their bosses what they really think, ideas which could help the company, and many customers fear speaking up when they receive a poor product or service.  Only through free communication with no retaliation can the company improve.  We encourage free communication.  Respect is built into our nondiscriminatory Scout Programs from the local team level to our staff.


9—Break down barriers – He recognized that when different departments never communicate, no one really knows what is going on.  The entire company is one big team, so he recommended splitting employees up into small groups, with members from varying places within the company.  We have a particular program dedicated to bringing together people in the community from every level to break down barriers.  In our own Scout Programs, our members on the local level are those who influence their own teams.  We are a “bottom up” organization; our members tell us what they need and we serve them.


10—Eliminate Exhortations-- It was popular at the time to put up signs with slogans such as “Zero Errors.”  With no real plan as to how that can happen, such messages make employees feel intimidated and as if they are being blamed for things not within their control.  A true plan for improvement is better.  We promise our Scouts and members many advantages, and we have proven how we fulfill each one.  We do not engage in rhetoric, but in action.


11-Elimate arbitrary numerical targets—Dr. Deming believed quotas and targets do not help efficiency.  If an employee spent the time instead on improving quality for all, that time was not lost and he should not be penalized.  Leadership can be used more to increase efficiency.  Our target is to be the foremost member service oriented entity in the United States.  We do not ask for a certain number of Scouts or level or popularity, but to do the best thing for our members.  Our Scout Programs speak for themselves.


12—Permit pride of workmanship—Dr. Deming knew employees worked harder and were more loyal when they were proud of their accomplishments.  Simply getting a shoddy product out the door faster was not beneficial. 


13—Encourage education – He thought a company should encourage additional education by instituting a program aimed at education and making it easy for employees to become more educated.  Education is a focus of our Scout Programs.  We support educators in their goal of educating our Scouts and we encourage education among our staff.


14—Top Management commitment and action – Top management must be committed to constant improvement, but Dr. Deming found many managers did not know what they were supposed to be doing to achieve that.  He advised they go through the other 13 points regularly in order to increase quality.  Each level of our Scout Programs, from the local level to the national level are in constant communication.  Our national level exists to serve the local level – our Scouts and members.


Our Scout Programs


We share Dr. Deming’s philosophy of quality.  We too strive to constantly improve.  In fact, we are created imperfect so our members can improve our Scout Programs as they see fit.  We have a total member focus, and it is our goal to the foremost member-service oriented entity in the United States. 


We are encourage suggestions and value participation, and we involve our members in every part of that goal.


We remember his own philosophy:  “It is important that an aim never be defined in terms of activity or methods.  It must always relate directly to how life is better for everyone…The aim of the system must be clear to everyone in the system.  The aim must include plans for the future.  The aim is a value judgment.” – W. Edward Deming.

Adventure Scouts USA