Improvement Insights Blog
Deming on Quality Improvement in Services
Almost 40 years ago, Deming knew that Quality Improvement in service industries was key. Here’s why:
“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma Demystified” and QI Macros [software].
“You know, I’ve belonged to the American Society for Quality for over 30 years, and predominantly the membership is people in manufacturing who work on factory floors. However, again, I was picking up my Deming book “Out of the Crisis.” This was published in 1986… 1986. That’s about four years before I got started in Quality Improvement. Here’s what he has to say
“Based on the census, 75 people out of 100 are employed in service organizations. If we add to this figure the people in manufacturing industries that are engaged in service, we find that 86 people out of 100 are engaged in service, leaving only 14 out of 100 to make the items we can drive, use, misuse, drop, break…”
“…and this 14 includes agriculture, food, cotton, tobacco and whatever.”
“So the question I have to ask you: There’s so many people engaged in service in the United States, “Improvement in our standard of living is highly dependent on better Quality and productivity in the service sector.” That includes health care and everything else that goes along with it, right? Maybe your cell phone and things of that nature. Even Deming knew that it wasn’t… it’s not just manufacturing, kids, right? Right?
“We have to start focusing on how to improve service. Even in manufacturing, a lot of people in there work in the service side of the business not making anything. They’re doing orders, purchasing, payments, whatever. In health care there’s dramatic opportunities; they think there’s a trillion dollars worth of waste in health care. Huge opportunities sit waiting for those of us who are smart enough to figure out how to work with service industries.
“That’s my Improvement Insight. Let’s go out and improve something this week… in services.”