Reading time ( words)
Hewlett-Packard (HP) had a reputation for excellence long before I joined the company in 1970. The owners and creators of the company had a passion for excellence in their DNA. But when HP’s Japanese Division Manager Yoji Akao won the Deming Prize in 1978, HP realized that as good as it was, it could be better.
Early benchmarking of our product designs with the Boothroyd Dewhurst Method (DFMA) provided data showing that we weren’t as good as we thought we were, and improvement was needed. The book the Japanese Division of HP wrote about the process of winning the Deming Prize created a whole new sense of urgency for top management. Foremost in their process was the advice of Dr. W. Edwards Deming.
Even in the 1980s, Dr. Deming was world-famous. He was known as the person responsible for the “Japanese quality revolution” of the 1950s. Dr. Deming was so successful at training the Japanese that he was in constant demand to help American corporations learn to compete against their Japanese competitors. However, his first requirement for working with a company was that the program had to be driven and championed by the company head.
I was cleaning up my bookcase recently and came across a tired, dog-eared set of papers that was Dr. Deming’s initial draft of his book On The Management of Statistical Techniques for Quality and Productivity, which I received when he came to HP to lecture about quality and productivity on March 11, 1981. Dr. Deming’s presentation took place in the company’s largest auditorium in Cupertino, California. The front row was populated with the company’s president at the time, John Young, as well as the VPs and directors. I received an invitation, but alas, I was in the rear row of the auditorium.
Dr. Deming’s lecture was inspirational but very much directed to all the managers in the auditorium and focused on leadership. His 14 points for management took shape during his lectures and were covered in various locations in the early draft he supplied to HP. When his book was finally published in 1982 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Advanced Engineering Study under the name Quality, Productivity, and Competitive Position, the 14 points had their own chapter.
To read this entire article, which appeared in the June issue of PCB007 Magazine, click here.