Deming was an American statistician who is somewhat famous for teaching the Japanese statistical process control (SPC) after World War 2. The Japanese used tools such as this to great effect after WW2 in fields such as automobile manufacturing, electronics and semiconductors (computer chips).
The basic ideas that I associated with Deming are:
- Statistical process control (SPC) can increase quality and reduce costs at the same time.
- The tools of SPC are not a panacea.
The notion of higher quality/lower cost is illustrated by observing that a product you have to throw out because of defects costs the same to make as one that you can sell. If you make fewer defective products, then the cost of making them goes down because, for the same cost, you produce more.
SPC allows you to optimize production, but it does not tell you what to produce. For example, you can make the best, most inexpensive video tape player in the world and still go out of business because everyone now uses DVDs.
I always like it when "geek ideas" end up changing the world.