Applications of Knowledge of Variation?

Response on LinkedIn: Deming The W. Edwards Deming Institute +Official Group+

What are the different ways that a knowledge of variation can help an organisation become or remain competitive? In other words, what are the key areas where applications of such knowledge can make a positive difference?

Interested in diverse applications, and also be specific if you can. Perhaps this can help leaders who have heard of this theory but unsure where it can be used for in their organisation.

Reply:

People have been successfully managing variation since humans have been on the planet. Walter Shewhart developed the NEW paradigm for managing variation. Deming was the first to recognize the significance of the paradigm and illustrated the application in his books Out of the Crisis and The New Economics.

A “knowledge of variation” would include common and special causes, stable and unstable systems and tampering.

ANY success story at ANY time in history can be aligned with what Deming labeled the SoPK. “What’s New” is introducing Shewart’s new terms and concepts in the context of the SoPK.

The “So what?” is the theory that application of the NEW paradigm will result in a 97% increase in performance (ref: TNE, pg. 38) which is easy enough to test.

The challenge may not be in overcoming the lack of knowledge of variation but in overcoming the lack of the desire and commitment in understanding and applying the knowledge.

On the plus side, what an opportunity! It’s like living at a time in history where the accepted paradigm was that the earth was flat. You can take people to the new world, and they may enjoy the visit, but they don’t want to live there.

Conventional wisdom indicates that you need a “crisis” to support a major transformation. Contrary to the subject of Deming’s book that he titled “Out of The Crisis”, I don’t think society has acknowledged a crisis – yet.

Examples: http://successthroughquality.com

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