Danjin on Deming

Dick Danjin - International Representative - UAW (Retired)

The aim of Quality, Productivity, and Competitive Position, by W. Edwards Deming, (1982 ) is to try to explain to top management of America what their job is-- To improve their competitive position.

One need not be an economist to understand from the newspapers that many American products are not competitive at home or abroad, lost to foreign invasion, causing unemployment at home. Failure of management to plan for the future and to foresee problems has nurtured waste of manpower, of materials and of machine time, all of which raise the manufacturers costs and the price the purchaser must pay. The consumer is not always willing to subsidize this waste.

Loss of market begets unemployment. Emphasis has been on the short term, to the undernourishment of plans that might generate new market and services that keep the company alive, providing jobs and more jobs. It is no longer socially acceptable performance to lose market and to dump hourly workers on the unemployment heap.

The basic sickness of American industry and resulting unemployment is failure of top management to manage. Loss of market, and unemployment, are not foreordained. They are not inevitable. They are not acceptable. The day is past when people in management need not know anything about management by which I mean to include problems of production, supervision, training (Preface).

Page 49, Point # 14, Create a structure in top management that will push every day on the above 13 points.

In my humble opinion, these words, and the rest of that publication provide anyone marginally familiar with the American education system, Ford, GM, Chrysler, Northwest Airlines, Enron, rail transportation in America, with more than enough "data" to understand what is wrong and what to do.

The message in the American business schools today and on the shelves of Borders and Barnes and Noble business book sections is that the product of the business schools and corporate consultants, be it leadership, lean systems, the current popular flag of exhortation, the current message being delivered is that management can manage. It is implicit in our society that the Platonic philosopher kings of organization can manage. W. Edwards Deming's message is that they cannot!

Revisionism, in the form of revising what Deming said, meant, well, leave it alone. It does not and never will add any value to what is in this book and in Out of the Crisis. They are only decorations to the collective tree of knowledge of the work of this man's.

In my experience with Dr. Deming, his message to top management was "Heal thyself." His four day seminars and the two Deming works above were easily understood by hourly workers. ( I know this from my own experience.)

Back to the metaphor. Please decorate your tree however you choose but refrain from gene splicing. Leave the original tree alone. The man is no longer here. We should not lose or make it impossible for people to know his work by layers and layers of ruminated interpretation. Enough of that has already occurred.

I mean no offense or personal criticism with this post.

Dick Danjin "Making Things Run Well"