Deming's Principle #11- Eliminate numerical quotas for the workforce

What was Deming referring to when he said "eliminate numerical quotas for the workforce"?

Work standards that focus on numbers miss the point that work standards "must produce quality, not mere quantity."

In his words, "It is better to take aim at rework, error and defects, and to do a better job."

This requires the manager to lead. In Deming's words again - "To lead, one must understand the
work that he and his people are responsible for. Who is the customer (the next stage in the workflow of a service or production), and how can we better service the customer?"

In the main laboratories of Henry Ford we have been focusing of late on the development of daily or weekly metrics in each workcell that inform the manager and the worker about the stability of current processes. These metrics provide insight into the sources of rework, error and defects and those associated with customers and suppliers in the stages or path of workflow (see diagram below). These metrics are basic knowledge required for the manager to be able to manage at the source of improvement. This is no different for any type of work in a hospital setting and helps managers and workers focus on doing a better job.

Getting back to Deming's principle #11, we can see that the numerical focus should be on metrics, not quotas.
ref: Out of the Crisis, W. Edwards Deming, 1982

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Here are some current examples of in-process metrics of process stability and therefore indicators of quality, or lack thereof, in the path of workflow from Histology (tissue) Laboratory through pathologist case diagnosis and report. These metrics help guide managers and empowered workers to design and implement process improvements that continually tweak the system toward better performance and quality.

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