I recently came to the realisation that you’re old when your kids describe your beloved t-shirt as “vintage”!
Call me vintage all you want but I recently rediscovered the work of Edward Deming who with Joseph Juran took the US industry out of the Quality (or lack thereof) sh%t hole it was stuck in back in the late 80s!
This brought back for me some fond memories of my late father telling us about his anecdotes when he was working on “Cercles de Qualité” in my native Morocco only to be faced with the proverbial “Inshallah” form the phosphate mines labourers.
Back to Deming and Juran, they are the actual fathers of many wisdom advises that have been since attributed to Google or Apple. if you have any doubts about that see see this interview from Steve Jobs describing how much he learned from Juran.
Both had a very high impact in giving “Made In Japan” the quality pizzaz it has today while post war Japan was known for cheap shabby goods that US consumers frowned upon. By the late eighties, US car and other manufacturers started noticing that at least some of the Japan miracle was home grown and started attending their Seminars.
The internet is full of documentaries and essays about them but looking at Deming, it is fascinating how he combined the systemic view of enterprise insisting on processes and continuous improvements yet with a humanistic focus on all stakeholders from workers, suppliers to managers by calling for a ban on empty slogans, crude performance-based compensation and long favouring long term single supplier win-win contracts.
I really think we could all learn a lot from these pioneers if we only go beyond the Vintage patine of their literature.
For more start with Deming’s 14 obligations of management