This year marks 70 years since Deming contributed to the dramatic turnaround of post-war Japanese industry, and their rise to a world economic power. Deming made a significant contribution to Japan's reputation for innovative, high-quality products, and for its economic power. Many in Japan credit Deming as one of the inspirations for what has become known as the Japanese post-war economic miracle, when Japan rose from the ashes of war on the road to becoming the second largest economy in the world.

In 1947, Deming was brought to Japan at the behest of General Douglas MacArthur. He was asked to help Japanese statisticians assess the problems of nutrition and housing in their devastated country and to prepare for a census to be taken in 1951. During this visit he was contacted by JUSE, the Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers, to talk directly to Japanese business leaders, not about Statistical Process Control, but about his theories of management, returning to Japan for many years to consult. Deming declined to receive royalties from the transcripts of his 1950 lectures, so JUSE's board of directors established the Deming Prize to repay him for his friendship and kindness. Within Japan, the Deming Prize continues to exert considerable influence on the disciplines of quality control and quality management.

Shoichiro Toyoda, son of Kiichiro Toyoda, the founder of Toyota Motor Corporation, was one of the executives that attended Deming‘s lectures. Guided by strong impressions of Deming during his lectures, Shoichiro Toyoda initiated Toyota’s total quality control (TQC) efforts, with a commitment for Toyota to eventually win the Deming Prize in 1965. Shoichiro Toyoda once said “There is not a day I don't think about what Dr. Deming meant to us. Deming is the core of our management.”

Playing a major role in the resurgence of the American automobile industry in the late 1980’s, Dr. Deming consulted with corporations such as Ford, Toyota, Xerox, Ricoh, and Sony, whose businesses were revitalized after adopting his management methods.

The Deming System of Profound Knowledge is an effective theory of management that provides a framework of thought and action for any leader wishing to shift organizational resources from an emphasis on solving problems to an emphasis on preventing problems. Deming said: "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". This concept is new to most people.

There is tremendous value in understanding how departments and people work together and what impact they have on each other. By management appropriately applying the principles and practices of SoPK, an organisation can simultaneously reduce costs through reducing waste, rework, staff attrition and litigation, while increasing quality, customer loyalty, worker satisfaction and, ultimately, profitability.

Click here to see a flyer from the Deming Institute.