October 13, 2012

Fire fighting approach

Writing about web page CBE

As I woke up this morning, I suddenly came to the realisation that I need to get into the habit of blogging, as it seems to bea very useful opportunity to share my thoughts. One thing that I have not been able to get out of mind this week is the phrase"fire fighting approach" made popular by W.E Deming.

We had a very interesting discussion this week with regards to the concept of quality inspection. I think the general consensus is that if the EFQM Excellence Model focus mainly on tailoring your product/service offerings to meeting the customer’s expectation, then it is significant that we ensure that preventative measures are made to prevent defective products from getting into the hands of the customer. This is mainly achieved through the concept of quality inspection. W.E Deming’s teachings, correct me if I am wrong, is not against quality inspection. W.E Deming’s philosophy is based on the premise that organisations should not get into the habit of waiting at the end of the production line to detect defective products. This is where the fire fighting approach by Deming comes into place, will you wait till your house is on fire before fighting it or will you rather ensure that you prevent it by been cautious at all times?

W. E Deming’s philosophy is simple, committing too much resources into fire fighting (mass quality inspection) is a non-value adding activity, that is time consuming, expensive and has been empirically proven not to work. Organisations should instead build quality into everything they do and it is in doing so that they can begin to see significant reduction in defective products.


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