I get asked for examples of Deming managed companies fairly often. And recently I have had a number of such requests. So I figured I would provide an answer as a blog post. First, Dr. Deming would respond to such questions by referring to the theory of knowledge and the fallacy of trying to learn via examples. So remember to read up on why learning from examples is dangerous before taking to much from this.
I see Toyota as the best example of a Deming company. Dr. Deming did not propose a cookbook to follow. Instead he proposed a theory that requires learning and application within the specific institution. Toyota has created a management system that is based on Dr. Deming’s ideas and then they have evolved that over 60 years into something that is consistent with Deming’s management philosophy and has new ideas Deming did not mention. As odd as it may sound that very act of developing new concepts that were not mentioned by Dr. Deming is exactly what makes them the company that most exemplifies Deming’s management system.
Other companies that have also done a great job applying his ideas. Peaker Services has done great things. Ian Bradbury is the President and a friend. He spoke at a seminar I co-presented and I included links to a couple documents of his in a blog post. He worked at GM Power System when Dr. Deming was working with GM. Richard R. Steele founder and also serves on the Deming Institute board of trustees.
Hillerich & Bradsby Company has been following Dr. Deming’s ideas since 1984. John A. Hillerich is President and Chairman of the Board of Hillerich & Bradsby Company and serves on the Deming Institute board of trustees. The companies brands include: Louisville Slugger and Powerbuilt.
A couple of good books explore companies adopting Dr. Deming’s ideas: Free, Perfect and Now by Robert Rodin (a great book by the CEO of Marshall Industries), highly recommended). Unfortunately the company was bought by a larger company and I do not believe the Deming philosophy is alive and well (but I could be wrong). Always Think Big by Jim McIngvale is by the CEO. Mattress Mack: One man, one store, one of a kind.
Omnilingua has had amazing success applying Dr. Deming’s idea and I am proud to call Eric Christiansen their president a friend. Lean Blog Podcast with Eric Christiansen “A Deming Company”. In a previous post I recapped another example: Dr. Deming’s Ideas at Markey’s Audio Visual.
Companies awarded the Deming prize can also provide good examples. Four subsidiaries of the Rane Group in India has received awards in the last few years. Numerous people have done great things within companies – creating pockets of Deming practice. Some great examples include Steven Prevette – see some of his articles on Deming. David Anderson has incorporated Deming ideas within Microsoft and then Corbis – see his Agile Management Blog. William Bellows has a long term effort at Boeing’s Rocketdyne Propulsion & Power business unit. They offer conference call study sessions on Deming’s ideas for those within Boeing and also allow outside participation. He is also a member of the Deming Institute board of trustees.
This is just off the top of my head so I am sure I have left off many good examples. Also, for me the company needs to have an understanding what they are doing evolved from Dr. Deming’s ideas to list them (many companies have practices which are Deming based but they do not have an appreciation for Deming’s system of management – I think that appreciation is needed to be a “Deming company”). Many companies that truly and deeply practice lean manufacturing are applying many of Deming’s ideas. However to me if they do not understand the roots of the ideas from Dr. Deming I don’t consider that a “Deming company.” But that label is not all that meaningful anyway – so this just explains my thinking.
Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments.
Related: The Purpose of an Organization – Deming management blog posts