Teaching Quality: Shewhart and Deming


Those who are dedicated to quality issues and consulting companies have a number of references that have marked his work techniques, methods or references which have become the “tools” of our work. I consider as a starting point two masters: Shewhart and Deming whose quality development throughout the twentieth century marked the way forward, forever changing the focus of management in relation to the administration of their organizations.

Considering mass production as prevailing in the first half of the twentieth century as the “cornerstone” of development work (especially manufacturing), the “generated” ideas Shewhart and Deming assumed a kind of revolution in “search” of the efficiency of development work as well as a necessary conceptual change in the style of leadership and participation of workers.

Walter A. Shewhart is considered as the father of statistical quality control. American born in the last decade of the nineteenth century was a doctor in physics and work for Western Electric Company developed the Statistical Process Control (SPC) determining its essential principles.

Shewhart delimited the relevance of its “reactive” setting to deviations that occur in a manufacturing process variation and really raised the quality decreased. He developed control charts in order to “control” the variableness “natural” process itself (inherent) and a second type of variability as a result of infrequent and unwanted (by wear, situations for a new worker unformed by modifications of suppliers, etc.). This distinction opened the way to make predictions and better manage processes *.

Observation*. As a note should be noted that the pursuit of quality and continuous improvement “forces” to treat both types of variabilities in a different way. Corrections on the natural variability should focus on the system itself and process and be carried out by people who know in depth (and their interrelationships, otherwise we could have the opposite effect-what Deming later called System- Overfitting). On the other hand the “other variable” must be attacked in their assignable causes so that identification may lead to their elimination or at least its effects minorization (higher education or training, preventive plan of infrastructure, etc.).

He is considered the father of PDCA, whose premises: plan (plan), do (act), check (check) and act (act) were assumed by Deming.

– To plan. This phase establishes the actions or activities that are necessary to obtain the required result. The design of all stages as well as the different intermediate milestones, which must include resources and temporary space, desired supports the need for a preliminary study and favors control and follow up.

– Do. They begin to carry out the programs and activities initially planned. the implementation phase of the agreement begins.

– Check. Data collection and comparison with expectations in planning make this stage. The evaluation of the achievements and developments of the various “milestones” scheduled are reviewed to verify the effectiveness of the actions undertaken.

– Act. With all the information gathered from the executed process proceeds to make the necessary adjustments to take up the first step of planning, closing the circle and into a spiral of continuous improvement.

Shewhart defined tolerance intervals (statistical idea) and its rules for submitting data by which the information should be placed in a context (but meaningless) and that such information contains signal and noise must separate the two to be useful.

Shewhart work as a consultant, trainer and published articles in the United States, the United Kingdom, India and Japan with a very operative vision of their work.

William E. Deming is considered the grandmaster of quality born in the early twentieth century in the United States its collaboration with the quality is unquestionable. The basis of his work is the statistical control of processes developed by Walter A. Shewhart. PhD in Physics engineer and worked for the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Defense during World War II where quality improved materiel.

In the decade of the ’50 jumps to Japan (fully in reconstruction after the Second World War and more open to issues of process control and quality improvement *) forming engineers, managers and students in relation to quality concepts and SPC (statistical process control).

*Note. Interestingly his work for the American “defense” were “forgotten” at the end of World War due to the change of labor force (incorporating the veterans) and the change in orientation of business addresses.

He also took the “Shewhart Cycle” base of continuous improvement (and never appropriated) and foundation of all current management systems.

The “revival” of the Japanese economy between the 50s and 60s of the last century and the change of “paradigm” of “made in Japan” transformed Japan into a strong economy based on the quality of their goods and products and its strong cost competition, whereas in the United States and Europe “quality” of goods, services and assembly processes, down sharply. Deming recovery in 1980 (in a television program) under the sentence “If the Japanese can, why can not we?” He looked towards western quality *.

*Observation. It is said that Harley Davison on the verge of bankruptcy hit the walls of his studio Deming’s 14 points in order to change the mentality and way of working.

Deming argued that when an organization working progressively the quality, resource optimization occurs, costs are lowered and the market is conquered. The central idea is that quality improvement leads to a reduction in costs as a result of the decline of repetitions and dams and the best use of time and materials. an increase in productivity which leads to a better position in the market by allowing a lower price and generating more work occurs.

So in Japan it is regarded as “the father of the third industrial revolution” and the “Deming Prize” is considered as the best “award” among quality awards *.

In addition to the “strengthening of the PDCA cycle or continuous improvement” two main contributions were his 14 points and 7 deadly diseases Address:

– The 14 points were presented in his book “Out of the Crisis” in 1984 and remain valid for any organization regardless of sector or size. Defend generally the need for finding improved products or services as well as the systems work (in all areas) to maintain our competitiveness, the need for cooperation and loyalty of stakeholders (including suppliers, workers and customers) as well as between different departments of the organization, eliminate systematic inspection and encourage staff training and leadership at all levels of the organization.

– Considered by Deming as the greatest opposition to change and implementation of quality in organizations 7 diseases of the address include the lack of consistency in the medium and long term actions for improvement, systematic personnel qualification on the outcome end and not the leadership, the high mobility of staff responsibility, management and leadership of the company under the numerical economic data, high elevation accidents and warranty costs.

It should be noted that Deming did not consider technology as the “panacea” to solve the problems and argued that the workers were guilty only 15% of failures and 85 because of the systematic implemented by the Directorate remaining%. v always defended the quality was thing of all members of the company and their work was placed in the long run.

Currently the influence of both “masters” can be seen in the best managed organizations. The priority of quality, teamwork, seeking synergies with suppliers and management of their relationship, placing the customer as a fundamental piece of work and “management” of the company, improving processes, trust and employee participation and transformation of enterprises in more horizontal areas are ideas that come directly from Deming and Shewart.

“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in our ability to remake the world, but to remake us.” W. E. Deming

Teaching Quality: Shewhart and Deming

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