W. Edwards Deming Quotes

Quotes in process improvement

Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for inspection on a mass basis by building quality into the product in the first place.


I should estimate that in my experience most troubles and most possibilities for improvement add up to the proportions something like this:
94% belongs to the system (responsibility of management)
6% special


Money and time spent for training will be ineffective unless inhibitors to good work are removed.


A bad system will beat a good person every time.


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.