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Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Two schools of thought. Which do you espouse?

A favourite American saying is "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". This is the route to complacency and enables your competitors to catch up.

Around the time of the second world war, W. Edwards Deming tried to push his idea which was "If it's working well, sit down and work out how you can make it work better". This way you'll be continuing to strive for perfection and your competitors will have to be pretty good to catch up as, every time they match your product, you are bringing out an updated one.

But Americans in business laughed at poor William so he packed his bags and moved to Japan after the second world war ended. He pushed his idea to the Japanese bosses -- those readers old enough will remember the trashy, shoddy goods the Japanese were pushing out in 1945-1950.

The Japanese listened to him politely, talked a lot amongst themselves, invited him back for numerous meetings and finally took on board what he said and as you all know, dear readers, Japanese goods are far from shoddy and are some of the best in the world.

The highest award in Japanese award is the Deming Award and Wikipedia states:
"The Deming Prize is a global quality award that recognizes both individuals for their contributions to the field of Total Quality Management (TQM) and businesses that have successfully implemented TQM. It is the oldest and most widely recognized quality award in the world. It was established in 1951 to honor W. Edwards Deming who contributed greatly to Japan’s proliferation of statistical quality control after World War II."
The end of this story? William returned to America where the natives, who had lost out in a big way to the Japanese, fortunately realised their short-sightedness as Deming was invited to speak and lecture throughout the United States and there is now "The Deming Institute".

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