Deming Says: 94% of Quality Depends on the System

Improvement Insights Blog

Deming Says: 94% of Quality Depends on the System

Almost 40 years ago, Deming said 94% of quality problems are system related. Still true. Here’s why:

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma For Hospitals” and the QI Macros [software].

“Again, I was re-reading Deming’s book, and in here (wherever that is), Deming talks about “Where does most of the problem come from? 94 percent belong to the system…” The system. “Six percent are special causes.”

“Now, I found this mentioned in a book on direct mail marketing of all places, but this is actually in “Out Of The Crisis,” so I found the original statement of that. Maybe we should focus on systems, not special causes, not people, not nada! It’s the system, stupid! (I… misquote Ronald Reagan there.)

“So that’s my Improvement Insight. Let’s get out there and start working on the systems. Let’s go out and improve something this week.”

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