Dr. Deming: The American who taught the Japanese about Quality

Dr. Deming: The American who taught the Japanese about Quality

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by Rafael Aguayo

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A comprehensible, very readable presentation of the management philosophy and system that changed the world. In 1950 Made in Japan meant shoddy, cheap goods that broke soon after purchase. The nation was still suffering from the aftermath of the War. Japanese industrial leaders invited a renowned statistician and quality expert, W. Edwards Deming, to present a


A comprehensible, very readable presentation of the management philosophy and system that changed the world. In 1950 Made in Japan meant shoddy, cheap goods that broke soon after purchase. The nation was still suffering from the aftermath of the War. Japanese industrial leaders invited a renowned statistician and quality expert, W. Edwards Deming, to present a seminar on quality similar to those he had presented to American engineers and plant mangers during the War. Deming agreed, but he added a twist. He insisted in addition that he speak directly to top management.

After presenting his seminars and seeing the seriousness of his Japanese audience he predicted a complete transformation of Japanese industry would occur and exports would blossom. He may have been the only person alive who believed that at the time but within 4 years Japan had become an exporting powerhouse and Japanese goods were desired worldwide. The nation went on to become an economic superpower.

By the 1970s Japan was capturing markets and taking over whole industries. Radios, televisions, cameras, watches, consumer electronics, motorcycles among other industries were now dominated by Japanese firms. Cars, semiconductors and computers appeared to be the next industries to fall. Western companies, especially American companies were helpless. Everything they tried failed to counter the Japanese onslaught. American business schools were stumped. Western consultants were impotent. American managers visiting Japan came back with silly answers such as employees singing songs or working harder; quality circles and government help.

NBC was just as stumped and produced a show called, If Japan Can Why Can't We? While filming the show they heard of this 79 year old professor who had done something in Japan in the 1950s. Upon visiting him he brought out 8mm film of his being honored by the emperor of Japan. He showed the medal he had been awarded. Deming was featured in the last 20 minutes of the show, which ran in 1980, and the next day he was inundated with calls. America had rediscovered W. Edwards Deming.

He became a consultant to Ford and General Motors and numerous other companies. Both companies were saved as a result. Ford which had been losing $1 billion a year in 1980 was earning $6 billion a year by the middle of the decade.

Deming began giving four-day seminars. He gives approximately 20 a year in the US and several outside the US. Through these he presents his management concepts and influences hundreds of thousands of people and impacts thousands of companies. Among the companies who see dramatic changes in their results are Intel, Harley Davidson and Marshall Industries. Proctor & Gamble, Wal-Mart, Colgate Palmolive and DuPont are among the firms that adopt some or many of Deming's ideas. Even the banks take up the mantra of quality and taking care of customers. They experience an increase in customer satisfaction, an increase in stature in banking as a profession and dramatic improvement in profitability.

In short US industry experiences a dramatic resurgence and the prestige of US businesses rises to new heights.

But in short order imitators and others try to cash in on the results. New "experts" and new fads begun to spring up. Among these were Reeingering and Six Sigma. While many successful companies continued to use and further develop Deming's principles others sought the new new thing, often with disastrous consequences. Northern Telecom went into bankruptcy and was liquidated. Motorola lost 94% of its markets and just barely avoided bankruptcy. Home Depot was nearly ruined.

The most nefarious of the alternative theories is managing to maximize financial results. This is what tends to get the most support in business schools. Banks went from managing for quality and customer satisfaction to maximizing profits, leverage and size through mergers. This directly and inevitably led to the financial crisis of 2008.

Ford which had been eminently successful in the 1980s and early 1990s stopped following the principles in 1991 and soon thereafter began experiencing tremendous losses. In 2005 it hired a new CEO who understood and was committed to the principles. It is once again profitable and making cars that customers want.

Dr. Deming passed away in 1993. This book published in 1990 was written over 7 years with the support of Deming. Large parts of it were read and reviewed by Deming. The author used the principles in his own business and in his life to further hone his understanding.

Here you will find a pure presentation of Deming's principles with an emphasis on what is really important, management, not process improvement tools, which while important can be harmful if the management understanding is missing.

Deming himself in 1991 called it the best book so far.

Editorial Reviews

Business Week
Aguayo offers a schematic for putting Deming's teachings to work.
Publishers Weekly
Deming is largely responsible for Japan's industrial revolution, though he is little known in the U.S. Here addressing America's corporate leadership, the author--a former bank executive who studied with Deming at New York University--contends persuasively that Deming's advice is savvy, current, even indispensable: American management practices must change, renouncing goals of immediate profit in favor of long-term quality. Aguayo expounds on the leadership training techniques and specific steps
San Francisco
An energetic step-by-step introduction with lots of snappy subheads and entertaining anecdotes.

Product Details

Millennia Ltd.
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Meet the Author

Rafael Aguayo is an internationally recognized expert in quality and management. He started his business career in international banking and at the age of 27 was the youngest officer of an international bank's New York City branch, with forty-two people reporting to him. He conducted business in four languages. He later spent seven years on Wall Street.

In 1983 he had a chance to take a course with W. Edwards Deming, the world renowned quality expert who was generally acknowledged by the Japanese as being the man most responsible for sparking their economic renaissance starting with his first lecture in 1950. At this point he had been trained in finance and management by a major bank, had received his MBA from a major US university and had years of experience as an executive, yet after taking Deming's course he realized that everything he had learned to date was either wrong or incomplete.

Stunned that Deming was not better known in the US and there was no accessible book on his ideas, he approached Deming about writing this book. Deming wholeheartedly approved and became a teacher and sounding board. Aguayo studied and prepared for seven years and in 1990 this book was published.

The book was hailed by Deming disciples and Deming himself as the best book on the subject. It was translated into six languages and inspired numerous individuals and companies to transform their way of doing business and their lives. Tony Robbins called it the best business book he had read in a decade.

The principles explained and developed in this book helped change the fortunes of many companies and whole industries in the West in the 1980s and early 1990s.

In preparing to write the book Aguayo read all the works recommended by Deming but also applied the principles in his own business and his life with resounding success. Convinced that these were powerful principles that could transform any organization Aguayo began consulting and further developed the principles. Once again the principles proved their worth.

Today Aguayo teaches, consults and writes with the aim of transforming the way organizations throughout the world manage and how governments govern. He recently formed an organization with several other experts and Deming enthusiasts called Deming Collaboration. He can be reached at DemingCollaboration.com

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Dr. Deming: The American who taught the Japanese about Quality 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Brian53 More than 1 year ago
"Dr. Deming" is one of the most informitive books you'll ever read also the most practical book you'll ever read. It can be used in any business, you can use it as a consumer and can save a lot of money in buying good quality products by those companies that adhere to Demings philosophy. Mr. Aquayo did a marvelous job because he had a close relationship with Dr. Deming. it had changed his career and his life and Dr. Deming change my theory's and thoughts in my life. Dr. Deming theory's will rubb off on you. I read another book about Deming about 15yrs ago after reading that book which I can't recall the name however now as I read "Dr. Deming" I realized that I was doing about 90 % of what was in the book. Deming isn't just a book it is a philosophy that you'll carry for the rest of your life. Demings philosophy is putting quality before profits which in the long run the profits are actually higher than other company's that do not put quality first. It is great example to do the "right thing" pays off in the long run. For such companies as Toyota, Nissan and now Ford only proves this point.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. Highly reccommend.
SherineK More than 1 year ago
All managers should check this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Powerful! I am buying copies for the President and General Manager of my company. Shift the focus from the bottom line to where it really needs to be!