W. Edwards Deming Quotes

by W. Edwards Deming

Quotes shown here are from the book and include quotes from the book attributed as W. Edwards Deming did in his book.

The most important figures that one needs for management are unknown or unknowable.


To copy is to invite disaster.


95% of changes made by management today make no improvement.


The aim proposed here for any organization is for everybody to gain - stockholders, employees, suppliers, customers, community, the environment - over the long term.


There is no substitute for knowledge.


It is easy to date an earthquake, but not an economic decline.


Does the customer invent new product or service? The customer generates nothing. No customer asked for electric lights. There was gas and gas mantles, which gave good light. The first electric lights had carbon filaments. They were fragile and inefficient. No customer asked for photography. No customer asked for the telegraph, nor for a telephone. No customer asked for an automobile. We have horses: what could be better’? No customer asked for pneumatic tires. Tires are made of rubber. It is silly to think of riding on air. The first pneumatic tires in the United States were not good. The user had to carry with him rubber cement, plugs, and a pump, and know how to use them.


No defects, no jobs. Absence of defects does not necessarily build business… Something more is required.


As I use the term here, the job of a leader is to accomplish transformation of his organization. He possesses knowledge, personality, and persuasive power.


An operational definition is a procedure agreed upon for translation of concept into measurement of some kind.


It is wrong to suppose that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it – a costly myth.


The moral is that it is necessary to innovate, to predict needs of the customer, give him more. He that innovates and is lucky will take the market.


Information is not knowledge.


The System of Profound Knowledge provides a lens. It provides a new map of theory by which to understand and optimize that we work in, and thus to make a contribution to the whole country.


A system must have an aim. Without an aim, there is no system.


management is prediction


The first step is transformation of the individual. This transformation is discontinuous. It comes from understanding of the system of profound knowledge.The individual, transformed, will perceive new meaning to his life, to events, to numbers, to interactions between people. Once the individual understands the system of profound knowledge, he will apply its principles in every kind of relationship with other people. He will have a basis for judgment of his own decisions and for transformation of the organizations that he belongs to.


If you change the rule for counting people, you come up with a new number.


Fear invites wrong figures. Bearers of bad news fare badly. To keep his job, anyone may present to his boss only good news.


A good question for anybody in business to ask is What business are we in? To do well what we are doing-i.e., to turn out a good product, or good service, whatever it be? Yes, of course, but this is not enough. We must keep asking - What product or service would help our customers more? We must think about the future. What will we be making 5 years from now? 10 years from now?


It is extension of application that discloses inadequacy of a theory, and need for revision, or even new theory. Again, without theory, there is nothing to revise. Without theory, experience has no meaning. Without theory, one has no questions to ask. Hence without theory, there is no learning.


The basic problem anywhere is quality. What is quality? A product or service possesses quality if it helps someone and enjoys a sustainable market. Trade depends on quality.