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A Deming Newspaper

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Desoto Sun Herald – 11/06/06

A second mention of Deming today…

This isn't a major newspaper, but the Desoto Sun Herald, in Florida, says:

We understand we cannot stand still. The Sun newspaper tries to follow the business philosophy of W. Edwards Deming, whom many consider to be the father of the quality revolution. Deming was the continuous-improvement guru responsible for much of Japan's success.

One of Deming's philosophies was that 80 percent of all the problems in any business are related to processes. Management puts in most of the processes. This means what Deming really said is that 80 percent of all the problems in our newspaper business are management's fault. My fault.

I believe that. Most of the significant miscues at this paper are my fault. Just ask the employees.
Deming's corollary argument is that the people who know where the problems are and who know how to fix them are the people who do the work. Empower employees to identify, quantify and eliminate the problems, and business will continually improve.

Newspapers are certainly in crisis, as a group. Readerships are down (even for major papers), the internet and new media are sucking away ad revenue and reader attention. Quite a management challenge!

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent book is an anthology titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

1 Comment
  1. Eric Christiansen says

    I want to share a comment that Mark Sellergren, the man who brought Deming’s theories to OmniLingua when he purchased the organization in 1994, made in response to this article:

    “Actually, let’s be clear on what was said. He NEVER talked about fault really.

    The issue is, whose RESPONSIBILITY is the system and its performance? In the first instance, it is not about fault, for even management though responsible may have no clue, without education, knowledge and skills on how to make it better.”

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