W. Edwards Deming’s 14 Points: Point # 13

Order "Out of the Crisis" by clicking here!Deming’s 13th Point advises us to “Institute a Vigorous Program of Education and Retraining”. This is critical both for the business entity and for the individual. This is especially true in the 21st Century environment, where technology, as indispensible as it is, changes so rapidly that it is almost impossible to keep up. Some new developments should be ignored, some need to be adopted right away to achieve competitive advantage. Five years ago, Twitter barely existed; now it is ubiquitous. In the 1980′s Sears Canada was on the leading edge when we introduced an internal communication system called “PROFS” – it was an early version of something called “email”. In 30 years, email has become an essential part of commerce and individual communication in both Developed and Developing worlds. In order to survive, we need to constantly improve and learn.

I have, for many years, been an advocate of APICS, who has occupied a leading position in offering continuing education in Operations Management. There are many such educational services providers in a broad variety of disciplines. In SCM in Canada, many Universities and Colleges have joined independent educational service providers such as CITT and PMAC in offering post-secondary accreditations and degrees in SCM, OM, and Logistics. Take advantage of these offerings in the field that interests you most. Or, take a course in something from way out in left field.

On July 4, 2012, I wrote extensively about options regarding professional certification in an article titled: “Procurement Certification: What Are the Options?” Please access that article, and some valuable references, by clicking here…. I have also written about continuing education in an April article which may be accessed by clicking here….

Dr. Deming has said: “How do you help people improve? What do you mean by improve? I would say that I find a general fear of education. People are afraid to take a course. It might not be the right one. My advice is take it. Find the right one later. And how do you know it is the wrong one? Study, learn, improve. Many companies spend a lot for helping their people in this and that way. In arithmetic, geography, geology. learning about gears.
“You never know what could be used, what could be needed. He that thinks he has to be practical is not going to be here very long. Who knows what is practical?
“Help people to improve. I mean everybody.” (from Mary Walton’s “The Deming Management Method”)

So, get out there and learn stuff. Adopt a learning culture in your life and your business. Nestle Canada, for example, was (and might still be) very good at this, building such a requirement into their annual HR Review Cycle. Build knowledge into your personal and business tool kit. Your prospects for growth will improve immeasurably.


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