W. Edwards Deming Quotes

Quotes in management

There are four prongs of quality and four ways to improve quality of product and service:

- Innovation in product and service
- Innovation in process
- Improvement of existing product and service
- Improvement of existing process

The common mistake is the supposition that quality is ensured by No. 4, improvement of process, that operations going off without blemish on the factory floor, in the bank, in the hotel will ensure quality. Good operations are essential, yet they do not ensure quality. Quality is made in the boardroom.

A bank that failed last week may have had excellent operations— speed at the tellers’ windows with few mistakes; few mistakes in bank statements; likewise in the calculation of interest and of penalties and loans. The cause of failure at the bank was bad management, not operations.


Government service is to be judged on equity as well as on efficiency.


Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your product and service, and that bring friends with them.


Stamping out fires is a lot of fun, but it is only putting things back the way they were.


It will not suffice to have customers that are merely satisfied. An unhappy customer will switch. Unfortunately, a satisfied customer may also switch, on the theory that he could not lose much, and might gain.


American management thinks that they can just copy from Japan—but they don’t know what to copy!


No one can measure the loss of business that may arise from a defective item that goes out to a customer.


It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.


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


A company could put a top man at every position and be swallowed by a competitor with people only half as good, but who are working together.