Vol. 4, No. 2
The folks from Lansing’s Capital Quality Initiative (Michigan) recently asked me what, if anything, Deming has to do with Six Sigma. As I pondered my response, I realized that I started considering that question in the Six Sigma and More column in July, 2001, when I began to use Deming’s 14 Points and 7 Deadly Diseases as the framework for a series of columns. With one thing and another distracting attention, I addressed the first of the 14 Points and then wandered off into other topics. Now I’d like to get back to that original framework, and see where it goes.
Point #2: Adopt the new philosophy
After an amazing level of congruence between Deming’s Point #1: Constancy of purpose and Six Sigma, Point #2 may surface more difference than similarity. In Point #2, Deming states, “We can no longer tolerate commonly accepted levels of mistakes, defects, material not suited for the job…” (Out of the Crisis, Cambridge, Mass: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for the Advancement of Engineering Study, 1986). Sounds like Six Sigma to me. But at the end of his discussion, we begin to see a difference between his philosophy and that of Six Sigma. Deming concluded his discussion of Point #2 with “Transformation is required--adoption of the 14 points, and riddance of the deadly diseases and obstacles described in Chapter 3.”
Below is a summary of the 14 Points and the Deadly Diseases, to clarify these references.
The 14 Points
Enumeration of the Deadly Diseases
Let us compare Six Sigma to this philosophy with a simple and, I think, elegant description of Six Sigma provided by James Lucas, a Grand Master Black Belt, in his article “The Essential Six Sigma” (Quality Progress, Milwaukee, WI: American Society for Quality, January, 2002). Dr. Lucas states that “Fundamentally, Six Sigma is a methodology for disciplined quality improvement.” He goes on, “…many companies find adding a Six Sigma program to their current business system gives them all or almost all the elements of TQM.”
I think you will agree that there is a pretty obvious difference between superimposing Six Sigma over a current business system and Deming’s philosophy, which requires adoption of the 14 Points and an attack on the Deadly Diseases. When Deming was asked, shortly before his death, who had adopted his philosophy, his answer, as it had always been, was simple and emphatic, “No one!” I doubt that much has changed. If readers can prove me wrong, I’d love to hear about it. I’m at email@example.com
Copyright 2002 PQ Systems.
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