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Friday, November 30, 2012

Lean Quote: Inspection Is Too Late

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Inspection does not improve the quality, nor guarantee quality. Inspection is too late. The quality, good or bad, is already in the product. As Harold F. Dodge said, “You can not inspect quality into a product." — W. Edwards Deming, Out of Crisis, Page 29

Inspection can be useful to gather data on the process. Using that data to see if a process has gone out of control and a special cause needs to be investigated is useful. Using that data to evaluate the success, or failure, of an attempt to improve (via the PDSA cycle) is useful. 

Inspecting to pull out the failed items from the production before a customer sees them is a path to failure. If the process is this bad, the process needs to be improved. If you can actually stay in business doing this now, you are at risk for not being able to stay in business when the market stops being willing to pay you to produce results people don’t want.

I am reminded of how impressed with Dr. Deming’s crediting others. A number of the quotes people credit to Dr. Deming he notes the proper author in his book. I understand that people learn to associate these quotes with Dr. Deming, but I still find it amusing. It also shows his devotion to learning and desire for accurate documentation. 

“Quality can not be inspected into a product or service; it must be built into it.” – Out of the Crisis page 227 (where Dr. Deming again refers readers to Dodge’s quote that Dr. Deming included earlier in the book)

About the Author:
This post was written by John Hunter the author The W. Edwards Deming Institute Blog. In this blog they explore Deming’s ideas on management by examining his works and exploring how the ideas are being applied in organizations today. John Hunter has experience in management improvement (customer focused continuous improvement, process improvement, systems thinking) and related areas. Since 1995, he has used the internet and internet technology to improve the results of management improvement efforts.

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