Book Review: Out of the Crisis



“Beat the horses, and they will run faster—for a while.”

GENRE Management Guide, Philosophy (Non-Fiction)

AUTHOR W. Edwards Deming

PAGES  465




W. Edwards Deming was  the student of   Walter J Shwehart. After WWII, he was sent   to Japan(1950) where he taught quality   management and customer-centric business   model. He was ignored in the US until the   1970s.

Japanese Science and Engineering (JUSE)      established  the annual Deming Prizes for      contributions to characteristic and reliability  of the product. 

 He  is a globally  acclaimed consultant   whose work led Japanese industry into new principles of management and revolutionized their quality and productivity. The acceptance of Dr. Deming’s 14 points of management  helped industry in the United States. In recognition of his contribution to the economy of Japan, the Union  of Japanese Science and Engineering (JUSE) instituted the annual Deming Prizes for contributions to quality.


The purpose  of this book was the transformation of American management. It wasn't the job of  reconstruction, or is it alteration. It requires a whole new structure, from foundation to upwards. The aim of the book was to supply the direction.
Deming proposes  his famous theory 14 Points for Management. He argues that failure in management's planning brings out the loss of market, which brings out the loss of jobs. Management must be judged not only by profits but by innovative plans to stay in the business, protect investments and provide more jobs, a complete transformation.

Unlike the conventional model based on mass production, Deming introduced a revolutionary approach of continual improvement. Now, the focus was shifted to customer feedback to re-design the process which conforms to the specifications of product or services. 
General Electric was one of the earliest companies to successfully establish six sigma philosophy for quality management. It created the required competitive advantage against other players. Jack Welch, CEO of GE from 1981-1999, remained a firm believer of six sigma till the end of his career.  Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control(DMAIC) methodology transformed GE to one of the most competitive companies in the world.

For the very first time, the traditional statistics of central tendency was questioned. The new discipline of quality management proposed that "variations are  inherited trait of a process and cannot be removed". It was further classified into 'common cause' or 'special cause'. In order to improve the quality, enterprise must change their approach to minimize the variations under Upper Control Limit (UCL) and Lower Control Limit(LCL). 
The Statistical Process Control under Six Sigma projects gained global attention when the mathematical model proved 3.4 defects per 1 million output. Deming also considered service industries like hospitality, aviation and healthcare.


The reason I prefer reading  non-fiction is to gain perspective. There are things beyond my frame of reference, and these books are somebody's life-long research. It must be difficult to compile all these experiments and thoughts in 500-600 pages. Sure, I may not become known as author, but my objective to get inside their head and look at the problem from their eyes.

What I particularly like about the book, is that while many of his points may seem simple (and apparent to us today ), Deming account, in great comprehension, the failures of business and how these 14 principles drive continuous improvement. There are some great case studies and examples of business failure.

My final take; Out of Crisis has remained pertinent  in  the last three decades. I consider  they will remain relevant for decades to follow. If you aren't aware of quality management, you are missing something exceptional. I highly advise to read.


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