After my Dell rants of the last few posts I thought it appropriate to put up something that people might actually want to read. So I’ve plumped for another book review, particularly given the Quality Management focus of my tirades against the sheer ineptitude of Dell.
The books I’ve chosen to review this time out are The Deming Management Method by Mary Walton and Out of the Crisis by W.Edwards Deming. I’ve also included a nod to Deming’s other major book The New Economics These are three classics of Quality Management literature and are well worth picking up if you can as an understanding of Deming is a good foundation for improving quality of pretty much anything.
The Deming Management Method
This book is an excellent initial primer in the work of W. Edwards Deming. It covers off a biographical note on Deming, his 7 Diseases of Management, his 14 Points of Transformation and the infamous Red Beads experiment. It also contains case studies of a number of companies that applied the Deming methods.
It clearly and concisely runs through a number of the key principles of Deming’s management philosophy and provides some good case study examples.
One criticism is that it is showing its age somewhat (it was first published in the US in 1986) and some of the firms used in the case studies have not sustained the successes that they had achieved. This should not be taken as a criticism of Deming’s methodology however as it is clear from the history of Ford (for example) in recent years that they may not have maintained the constancy of purpose needed to truly embed quality practices in.
However, as a quick introduction to the life and work of W.Edwards Deming this 244 page book is worth a look.
Out of the Crisis
On the other hand, if you want a more in-depth study of Deming’s management philosophy then the classic work is Out of the Crisis, Deming’s seminal work on the subject of Quality Management.
This book is a detailed treatise on the 7 Deadly Diseases of Management (see page 36) and the 14 Points of Management which counter those diseases. One draw back of this book is that much of the content is has its focus on manufacturing quality and less on service industry or non-physical product manufacturing. These issues were addressed by Deming in later books (which I will review in time). However the fundamental principles are well laid out and this book is a constant reference for me in my personal library.
Overall – it is not possible to give a true assessment of Deming’s impact in just a few paragraphs. Those companies who have adopted and built on his 14 points have had great success. Dell might do well to order a few copies to see how they can constantly improve the quality of their products and services.
“The ideal companion to “Out of the Crisis” is Deming’s last book The New Economics. This is described by one reviewer on Amazon as Deming’s “spiritual legacy”. I can’t comment on that but what I will say is that this book represents a further maturing of the concepts in “Out of the Crisis”. However to fully grasp the concepts my personal feeling is that you need to read both books. Amongst other things, in The New Economics Deming changes “Plan Do Check Act” to a “Plan Do Study Act” cycle – for reasons he explains in The New Economics.
Put this on your wishlist!