W. Edwards Deming

In July 2023, we changed our name from AACC (short for the American Association for Clinical Chemistry) to the Association for Diagnostics & Laboratory Medicine (ADLM). The following page was written prior to this rebranding and contains mentions of the association’s old name. It may contain other out-of-date information as well.

1993 AACC Lectureship Award

W. Edwards Deming will receive this year’s award, sponsored by Miles Inc. Diagnostics Division.

W. Edwards Deming has been a consultant for 40 years, with practice worldwide. His clients include railways, telephone companies, carriers of motor freight, manufacturers, consumer research companies, census methodologists, hospitals, legal firms, government agencies, and research organizations in universities and in industry. All the intercity motor freight in the US and Canada, for example, is studied by statistical procedure prescribed and monitored by him. He is best known for his work in Japan, which started in 1950 and created a revolution in quality and economic production.

In 1960, the Emperor of Japan decorated him with the Second Order Medal of the Sacred Treasure. Japanese scholars created in his honor the annual Deming Prize. In 1987, President Reagan awarded him the National Medal of Technology.

Since 1946, Deming has been Professor of Statistics at the Graduate School of Business Administration of New York University. Since 1985, he has also been Distinguished Lecturer in Management at Columbia University. He is a member of the International Statistical Institute and many other professional and scientific societies. In 1986, he was elected into the National Academy of Engineering, and into the Science and Technology Hall of Fame in Dayton, OH. In 1988, he received the Distinguished Career in Science award from the National Academy of Sciences.

Deming was born in 1900, and received his doctorate in mathematical physics from Yale University in 1928. He began work at the Agriculture Department in 1928, where he became interested in quality control, editing a series of lectures given by his colleague, Walter A. Shewhart. In 1939, he joined the Census Bureau as head mathematician and statistician. There he developed his fundamental concepts of quality control in both manufacturing and nonmanufacturing environments; although he gave lectures on quality control across the US, industrialists, he did not respond effectively until the 1980s.

Deming first visited Japan in 1947, when he began to teach Japanese managers and engineers the statistical theories and practices necessary to successfully implement quality control. After the broadcast in 1980 of an NBC White Paper entitled “If Japan Can, Why Can’t We?”, in which Deming was featured, the quality revolution began in US industry.

Today, Deming is honored worldwide as the “Father of the Third Wave of the Industrial Revolution.” He is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees and is the author of several books and 170 papers. Two of his recent books are Out of the Crisis and The New Economics for Management. He has also composed two masses and several canticles and anthems.