Principle 2: The New Philosophy

Deming’s Principle of Management n. 2 full statement is as follows:

“Adopt the new philosophy. We are in a new economic age, created in Japan. We can no longer live with commonly-accepted levels of delays, mistakes, defective materials, and defective workmanship. Transformation of Western management style is necessary to halt the continued decline of industry.”

Even if the performance of your system today is in some way acceptable, this will not be so for ever. Customer needs continually advance and develop. Neither will your competitors stand still. They will offer better or substitute products that delight customers needs, and address needs that hitherto have not been know or articulated. The new philosophy will give you a fighting chance of long-term survival.

To make his point, Deming talks about Japanese trains: today as well as 30 years ago, they run fast, frequently and always on time, which certainly enhances your traveling experience. It is radically different from using high-speed trains in Germany (ICE) or France (TGV). The Japanese high-speed trains, the Shinkansen, are no longer the fastest in the world, but what is most remarkable about them is that, if you stand close to the Tokyo-Osaka line, you see trains of 16 carriages roll by at 150 to 200 mph every few minutes. By contrast,  TGVs from Paris to Lyon run about once an hour, and often late.

Delays and mistakes cost money. Focus on preventing them. Manage your areas with this prevention and improvement in the forefront. Lead your employees to be conscious of delays and mistakes. While we can never reach perfection, we can all work towards improvement.

Summing-up: Embrace quality throughout the organization. Put your customers’ needs first, rather than react to competitive pressure – and design products and services to meet those needs. Be prepared for a major change in the way business is done. It’s about leading, not simply managing. Create your quality vision, and implement it.

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