Illustrating Some of Deming's 14 Points

By Howie Fenton

In a previous issue we discussed the history of total quality management or TQM. TQM is credited with the manufacturing success of companies that make cameras (Nikon), watches (Seiko), digital electronics (SONY), cars (Honda, Ford) and computer products (Hewlett- Packard). The father of TQM is Deming and the his concepts are embodied in his 14 points. Let's illustrate some of these points with cases.

A marketing executive is judged by the number of leads generated from advertising. He/she finds that by advertising in magazines, the number of leads slows over time. To increase the numbers he/she switches magazines. The result is that the numbers of unqualified leads increased but the overall sales for the company falls.

Deming's first point says "Create Constancy Of Purpose For Improvement Of Product And Service". It means that everyone in company should understand and work towards the companies goals (increase sales, productivity and quality) and strive to achieve those goal though innovation, process improvement, research and maintenance.

In scheduling production the supervisor determines that the imagesetter operator needs to output 30 pages during his shift. However the complexity of the pages and poor preparation makes it impossible. In rushing to complete the job he does not preflight files. He simply outputs what he can and delivers 20 pages, leaves rest for second shift and considers it a success.

Deming's second point is "Adopt A New Philosophy". One interpretation is that passing incomplete work through the system clogs it. You shouldnŐt force workers to choose between doing a small number right or all wrong. We need to dismantle antiquated management.

In general, Deming said that companies are tolerant of poor workmanship and sullen performance. We need a new vision in which mistakes and negativism are unacceptable. You can’t fix a management structure that never worked right.

Your company is using an OPI strategy. You scan images and give customers low res files for position only. They return XPress files with the low res images embedded. You swap the low res files with high res images and output to film.

In this case, quality control (QC) is accomplished by mass inspection at the end of the procedure. In other words, film based proofs are used to determine quality. In calculating the percentage correct you find that 85% of the proofs are correct the first time while 15% require rework.

Deming's third point is "Cease Dependence on Mass Inspection". He learned at the Hawthorn plant that leaving QC at the end of the workflow and allowing rework is, in effect, paying workers to make mistakes and then fix them. TQM theory says that quality does not come from final inspection but from improving the process.

Companies that implement TQM switch from QC at the end of the process to distribution throughout the procedure. In this OPI workflow, we would add more QC steps. First a calibrated continuous tone proofer (Iris inkjet, 3M Rainbow) could be added to the scanning step. As files are scanned they are proofed. If the proof is not good enough it would be scanned again.

Next a preflight step could be added in which the files are checked as they come in. Problems such as fonts installed, separations clicked on, registration marks and crop marks clicked on, etc., etc. Finally a last quality control step could be one in which trapping is and imposition is implemented. By distributing quality control throughout the process it is possible to reduce rework from 15% to 5% or less.

A sales representative comes in at 6:30 AM to pick up a completed job and finds that the company's logo is missing from the page. She yells at the production staff and it gets fixed. She delivers the job on-time and is considered a hero. Although this sales representative delivered the product TQM says that putting out fires is not improving the process. Deming's fifth point is "Improve Constantly and Forever Production and Service". Improvement is not a part time or one time effort. You need to improve the production process and once initiated obligated to continually search for improvements to reduce waste and improve quality.

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