Deming Myths III

Final Installment – Deming Myths
Dan Strongin

Myth: That Deming and Lean are related:

Truth: Lean and Deming don’t really have all that much to do with each other, which is not to detract from either. Ohno was deeply influenced by the Gilbreths, Shingo, TWI,  Ford, and others, in fact, Ohno admits to not really getting Deming.

Recognizing the contributions of others need not detract from the fact that Dr. Deming was the main catalyst for, and the most influential force in the “Japanese Economic Miracle.” as the following quote makes clear:

“Every day I think about what he meant to us. Deming is the core of our management.” Dr. Shoichiro Toyoda, Chairman and former President (1982-1999) of Toyota.

On the other side of the coin, recognizing Dr. Deming’s real importance does nothing to diminish the contributions of the others.

Myth: Dr. Deming wrote: “In God We Trust, All Others Bring Data”

For this I refer to the answer given by Tim Higgins of Rocketdyne, every time someone attributes this quote to Dr. Deming online:

“There is widespread attribution on the net of this quote to Deming. Widespread and accurate are different. This quote is not from Deming. In fact it is counter to his concept that management must be guided by theory even in (and especially in) the absence of data.

p 35 The New Economics “The magnitudes of the most important losses from action or inaction by management are unknown and unknowable (Lloyd S. Nelson; see Out of the Crisis, p. 20). We must nevertheless learn how to manage these losses. . . .It is wrong to suppose that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it – a costly myth.”

p 63 “A simple example is training. The only immediate evidence is its cost, expense. The effect of training will not be realized for months or even years in the future. Moreover, the effect can not be measured. Then why does a company spend money for training? Because the management believe that there will in the future be benefits that far outweigh the cost. In other words, the management are guided by theory, not by figures. They are wise.”

Dr. Bernard Fisher may be the source of the quote (circa 1967). Deming is not, and he believed something very different from what the quote implies.”

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