Comment in response to, Re-Discovering W. Edwards Deming, a partial quote from that post:
Thanks for you continued interesting blog. I think some might read this post and be confused about what Deming thought about sampling and inspection.
Deming point 3 is “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.” (Out of the Crisis, 1982). I think Toyota’s improvement of the system to build quality into the product is exactly what Deming had it mind.
Deming believed in improving the process, and doing so using process measures (which often may involve sampling) to guide improvement efforts. He did not believe in using inspection to select out the bad products, which is what inspection largely was before Deming.
He also talked about inspection of incoming material from suppliers – see Chapter 15 of Out of the Crisis.
He also did a great deal of work with sampling to improve population estimates for the US Census Bureau and others as well as on surveys and the sampling involved in surveys.
More on Deming’s thought on Inspection