W. Edwards Deming (1900-1993)

“Quality is everyone’s responsibility.”

“It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best.”

“Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your project or service, and that bring friends with them.”

“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.”

“You cannot inspect quality into the product; it is already there.”

“It does not happen all at once. There is no instant pudding.”

“If you stay in this world, you will never learn another one.”

“Does experience help? No! Not if we are doing the wrong things.”

“The result of long-term relationships is better and better quality, and lower and lower costs.”

“We are here to make another world.”

“If you do not know how to ask the right question, you discover nothing.”

“The emphasis should be on why we do a job.”

“A system is a network of interdependent components that work together to try to accomplish the aim of the system. A system must have an aim. Without the aim, there is no system.”

“It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.”

“We should work on our process, not the outcome of our processes.”

“It is important that an aim never be defined in terms of activity or methods. It must always relate directly to how life is better for everyone … The aim of the system must be clear to everyone in the system. The aim must include plans for the future. The aim is a value judgment.”

“Our customers should take joy in our products and services.”

“Rational behavior requires theory. Reactive behavior requires only reflex action.”

“The job can’t be finished only improved to please the customer.”

“Innovation comes from the producer — not from the customer.”

“All anyone asks for is a chance to work with pride.”

“The average American worker has fifty interruptions a day, of which seventy percent have nothing to do with work.”

“Lack of knowledge . . . that is the problem.”

“Whenever there is fear, you will get wrong figures.”

“Learning is not compulsory … neither is survival.”

“There must be consistency in direction.”

“Quality starts in the boardroom.”

“Hold everybody accountable? Ridiculous!”

“What we need to do is learn to work in the system, by which I mean that everybody, every team, every platform, every division, every component is there not for individual competitive profit or recognition, but for contribution to the system as a whole on a win-win basis.”

“Choice of aim is clearly a matter of clarification of values, especially on the choice between possible options.”

“Any manager can do well in an expanding market.”

“Let us ask our suppliers to come and help us to solve our problems.”

“We must understand variation.”

“Eliminate numerical quotas, including management by objectives.”

“You cannot define being exactly on time.”

“There is a penalty for ignorance. We are paying through the nose.”

“You should not ask questions without knowledge.”

“When a system is stable, telling the worker about mistakes is only tampering.”

“Confusing common causes with special causes will only make things worse.”

“Management by results is confusing special causes with common causes.”

“The customer is the most important part of the production line.”

“We do not know what quality is.”

“Information is not knowledge. Let’s not confuse the two.”

“We want best efforts guided by theory.”

“Without theory, there are no questions.”

“Off we go to the . . . Milky Way!”

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