Eliminate Numerical Goals is the 11th of Demings 14 Points
"Out of Crisis"
In 1986. Deming wrote 'Out of the Crisis' which gives his famous Demings 14 Points for Management. Behind these 14 points is Management's failure to plan for the future and create innovative plans to stay in business, protect investment, and provide improved products and services.
Deming is best known for his work in Japan. There, from 1950 onward he taught top management how to improve design. quality, testing and sales through various methods, including the application of statistics.
He also promotes long-term commitment to learning. Demings 14 points gives management a means of transforming their business. Quick results should not be sought.
The 11th of Demings 14 Points states
and Eliminate Numerical Goals."
He argues that quality is sacrificed to reach numerical production quotas.
This is contrary to the way that most businesses currently operate today.
Deming doesn’t like quotas and goals because they focus on the outcome rather than the process. He argues that half the workers will be above average and half will be below – no matter what you do.
In addition, goals and quotas can be so arbitrary. Improve productivity by 10%. How? Most state numbers with no plans to reach them. Natural variations in the right direction are interpreted as success. Variations in the opposite direction result in a series of fixes that create more problems and potentially more frustration.
So what is Deming’s solution? Leadership – understanding the work that you and the workers are responsible for, understanding who the customers are, and how to better serve them.
Deming does not say, “Don’t measure.” He is favours measuring, but not as a way to set targets for a job. “Is your job to make 20 calls per hour, or to give callers courteous satisfaction?”
The Method or Process is important NOT the Goal
Measure and then improve the system and address those that fall outside the limits of performance variation. It is factors like the system for resource allocation, recruitment, training and supervision should be improved and measured. He argues that the method is important not the goal.
I would argue that it is what the stakeholders in a business (customers, shareholders and staff) think, want and expect that should be measured and quantified routinely. What measures or goals can be drwan up that shows that the processes meet the expectations of the stakeholders now and the future.