Quotes by W. Edwards Deming

Data are not taken for museum purposes; they are taken as a basis for doing something. If nothing is to be done with the data, then there is no use in collecting any. The ultimate purpose of taking data is to provide a basis for action or a recommendation for action. The step intermediate between the collection of data and the action is prediction.


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.


A bad system will beat a good person every time.


"No community need be poor if it has people and good management. No country need be poor if it has people and good management."


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.


To manage one must lead. To lead, one must understand the work that he and his people are responsible for.


he that would run his company on visible figures alone will in time have neither company nor figures.


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.


This may be the world's most underdeveloped nation. We're number 1.


no one can guess the future loss of business from a dissatisfied customer. The cost to replace a defective item on the production line is fairly easy to estimate, but the cost of a defective item that goes out to a customer defies measure.