Deming’s Ideas at Markey’s Audio Visual

Last week at the Deming Institute seminar: How to Create Unethical, Ineffective Organizations That Go Out of Business, Mark Miller, General Manager, Markey’s Audio Visual spoke on Markey’s experience adopting Deming’s ideas.

It was a great presentation. He did a great job of explaining what it was like to work at a company focused on applying Deming’s management philosophy. I capture some of the points he talked about below.

1986 Markey’s started providing Audio Visual support to all Deming’s seminars. The technicians came back after 3 sessions to encourage Mark Miller (employee number 16 at Markey’s) to attend, himself. He went to a Deming 4 day and decided the owners should attend. They did and then Markey’s sent employees to attend future Deming 4 day seminars.

He recommended, The Team Handbook and The Leader’s Handbook by Peter Scholtes.


  • Constancy of Purpose
  • Their business has greatly changed. Customers used to need a service provider to project onto a screen, now they all own projectors for laptops, Markey’s needs to anticipate the changing needs of customers and anticipate those needs
  • Page 141 of Out of the Crisis: “Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your product of service” (Markey’s uses Deming’s books in the training for staff)
  • He facilitates all training sessions (everybody goes through training in groups of 10-12). Half day. They have the afternoon to go observe customer service and write down their experience with 3 customer service interactions.
  • Unknown and unknowable – not really unknown just un-measurable (again taught to all employees)
  • Gemba – where the real work gets done (the customer interaction – he stressed time and again that the key to their success was Markey’s employees interaction with customers – Markey’s aims to provide the best customer experience the customer has with any company)
  • In 1991 he asked owners do you want to offer jobs or careers – they decided careers started offering 401k… weeks later (statements about valuing employees are not what matters, action based on those statements are what matters)
  • Trust – assume people are good
  • Break down barriers between departments – Markeys doesn’t charge internally. Indianapolis looses money – they own the high end equipment used by the other offices.
  • Intrinsic motivation v. Extrinsic motivation – he has the chart from page 122 of New Economics in Deming’s handwriting on his wall.
  • 215 employees $30 million in business (about $3 million before Deming)
  • Commission pay – after 10 people attended Deming seminar they stopped using commission pay “people are not motivated by money” people do have salaries they want or need and will change jobs… to get what they need. For commissioned employees pay set at average of last 3 years salary for 7 commission employees – 1 left.
  • No performance reviews – they do have an annual conversation. No ranking or rating. Discuss what you like about your job, who you work with, what do you want to do in 1, 5 years, what frustrates you, how am I holding you back, don’t talk about pay. Talk closely with his reports on about daily basis.
  • Promote from within – mainly
  • No layoffs – did once in Toledo when a major customer left (offered jobs in other cities…)
  • They use the “Predictive index

From Markey’s home page: “Dedicated to quality, Markey’s strives to continually improve their industry. Directed by the management philosophy of Dr. W. Edwards Deming, Markey’s aim is to meet and exceed their customer’s expectations.”

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6 Responses to Deming’s Ideas at Markey’s Audio Visual

  1. Mark Graban says:

    John — I always enjoy your blog. Thanks for your committment to it and your committment to Deming's principles!

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