If you are impressed with the quality of most Japanese products, thank Paul Demings, the American management expert, who was once laughed at by our industrial leaders as yet another impractical critic.
Today his so-called "way out" quality and management approaches are widely heralded as gospel.
Demings was known as the pioneer of Total Quality Management, and responsible for much of the Japanese quality success we have come to accept as the norm.
He developed a company-wide approach to quality that started with management - he stressed that every part of the firm must be involved in a total quality program, not just the product or service.
Demings' approach was a new way of thinking. It meant a casting out of many management traditions that had been accepted as the only way to do things.
Read his following 14 points carefully, and you will see an emphasis on pride.
Demings' 14 Points
1. Create a purpose of improvement of product or service, with the intent of staying competitive and staying in business.
2. Adopt a philosophy of leadership by example.
3. Build quality into the product instead of depending on quality control inspection to catch the errors.
4. Move to a single supplier for any one item, based on loyalty quality and service, instead of price.
5. Continually improve the production process, improving quality and reducing costs.
6. Institute on the job training.
7. Institute leadership, with the aim to help everyone do a better job.
8. Get rid of fear.
9. Get rid of department barriers, build team concepts.
10. Eliminate quotas and management by objective, and substitute leadership.
11. Eliminate slogans and other exhortations that are beyond the control of the workforce.
12. Remove barriers that rob the worker in pride of workmanship. Remove the barriers that prevent management from pride in the organization.
13. Institute a program of education and self-improvement for all.
14. Get everyone involved in the transformation to total quality management.
Good housekeeping is the beginning of Total Quality Management.
If your paperwork is inaccurate, sloppy and disorganized, you are creating an ideal situation for mistakes.
Do you have any idea just how easy it is to pay a bill twice if the paperwork is not correct? On the other hand, do you know how easy it can be to forget to invoice a customer?
When it comes to customer or vendor bills, paperwork control equates to cash management. Paperwork must be treated with respect and not a bothersome detail.
Poor and sloppy record keeping can be a cause of business failure. If you are not up to date on the costs of your operation, your sales figures, or your cash flow, you are placing your company at unnecessary risk.
If you need help in keeping your paperwork straight, don't gamble in order to achieve some false economy.
Don't overlook technology. The right software programs can do wonders in keeping your records under control. Sound financial management and sloppy or careless administration can rarely co-exist.
Are you aware that caring is the foundation of a well-managed, quality conscious company?
Your workmanship, and customer relations demonstrate caring. How you keep your business, how you relate to your employees, how you value your word and yourself make a strong statement about your business philosophy.
The image and perceptions others have of your operation are a reflection of your values, attitude and effort. If your new venture is to survive against the unforgiving competition, stretch yourself and strive for the best quality that you can accomplish in every area of your business.
Quality is not just in the product that you build, sell or service, it encompasses everything about your company.