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Jan. 3, 1994 DIED. W. EDWARDS DEMING, 93, American industrial-efficiency expert and guru of the postwar Japanese economic miracle; in Washington. Deming was a modern illustration of the biblical truth that a prophet is without honor in his own land. Educated in mathematics and physics, he worked with Bell Labs' Walter Shewhart during the 1930s developing quality-control theories that stressed achieving uniform results during production rather than through inspection at the end of the production line. During World War II Deming successfully ; applied his approach to the making of airplane parts. Ignored by postwar American industry, the irascible Deming took his gospel to Japan in 1950, where it was embraced. His ideas finally took root in the U.S. in the 1980s, when the Detroit auto industry asked for his help in competing with the very Japanese firms he had inspired.
In an era when business has been shedding layers of middle management and adhering to the late management guru W. Edwards Deming's notion of pushing responsibility down the line to those who know the customer best, it does not take a lot of imagination to see that the nation's public education systems need to do the same.
Mar. 30, 1981 | By Christopher Byron. Reported by S. Chang and Edwin M. Reingold/Tokyo
COVER STORY The world's toughest competitor stirs a U.S. trade storm Like a dazed and bleeding prizefighter trying to call time out in the middle of a round, America's automakers have been pleading for months for relief from the pummeling they have been taking from Japan. While sales of American-made cars have been slumping, Japanese-made ...
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TIME: You have talked about vision leading to strategy to tactics. Some people who follow your career would suggest the opposite was the way you got where you are today. That it began with tactics and strategy, which led to the vision. Could you, looking back, make a judgment yourself as to whether one leads to the other or whether in fact they are not necessarily sequential?
Gingrich: Well, first of all, I think they are always sequential. I think that if you are rational about it, they are always sequential. And I think that it partly goes back to [management expert] W. Edwards Deming's argument that the key to all management is a theory. And if you do not have a theory of how you cook an egg, then why do you engage in behaviors in the kitchen?
Gore says the jobs-vs.-environment argument is based on the same flawed logic that caused American businesses to disregard business guru W. Edwards Deming's seminal ideas on quality in past decades. "American manufacturers assumed that market forces had already perfectly balanced quality against cost and that any improvements would hurt the bottom line," says Gore. "Deming took his ideas to the Japanese, who proved that you could simultaneously improve quality and profits and proceeded to steal markets from American companies." Gore argues that Bush is now making the same mistake with pollution. The Japanese, already more energy efficient than the U.S., recognize that excessive pollution is a sign of inefficiency and that reducing pollution can help make industry more competitive. For Gore the real job of a competitiveness council would be to foster similar efforts to develop efficient technologies in the U.S.
Nov. 13, 1989 | By Janice CastroTo a great degree, American business has turned to its principal competitor, Japan, to learn how to restore quality. Ironically, what U.S. executives think of as "the Japanese method" was pioneered largely by an American statistician, W. Edwards Deming, 89, who began preaching the quality gospel to receptive Japanese industrialists in 1950. During the 1980s, thousands of U.S. companies borrowed the so-called quality-circle concept, in which teams of employees are encouraged to participate actively in monitoring and improving their part of the production process
And so they did, pointing the way to a revolution in manufacturing. The companies began a $70 billion capital spending program to build better cars and trucks. Detroit equipped itself with elaborate computerized devices to perform hundreds of tasks like precision welding and alignment of doors and fenders. Auto executives consulted with the gurus of manufacturing and quality: W. Edwards Deming, J.M. Juran and Philip B. Crosby, a Florida-based consultant whose 1979 book, Quality Is Free, sits on many Detroit desks (see box).