Chapter 5, Questions to Help Managers (to get Holistic Enterprise Asset Management and EAM Systems)

Top 3 EAM System Design and Use Insights from the Chapter in ‘Out of the Crisis’ by W. Edwards Deming


Chapter 5 in ‘Out of the Crisis’ contains dozens upon dozens of important questions W. Edwards Deming believed managers of product and service organizations needed to properly address for a company to flourish in its environment. They challenge managers to see their organization as a holistic system of people, physical assets, and processes where interactions and effects in one part influence decisions and actions in many other of its parts. The questions from Chapter 5 listed in this article also apply to building holistic enterprise asset management and EAM systems.

Keywords: holistic enterprise asset management systems, holistic EAM system design, learning enterprise

Top 3 EAM system insights this article helps you to appreciate:

    •  The most effective business system is one that continually improves through initiative-taking to gain evermore advantages.
    • To work properly, a business system needs accurate inputs to, and accurate outputs from, every one of its parts. Inexact variations, errors, and shoddiness will destroy its performance.
    • To learn how to improve a business system, management only needs to ask the worker what to change to get better results.

Deming believed in and promoted use of holistic systems. Japanese organizations became the acclaimed success stories of the business world once their enterprises functioned as integrated operations spanning from product concept through to consumer satisfaction. For Deming, a system also encompassed past, present, and future forces and effects. To survive, it had to permit new influences, information, and facts to change it so it could evolve and thrive as situations and circumstances changed. Companies that did not proactively improve were unlikely to endure long.

You can categorize the near 200 questions in Chapter 5 of Out of the Crisis by their relationship to the 14 Points in Chapter 2, and to the Diseases and Obstacles in Chapter 3. Deming considered that Chapters 2 and 3 combined was a theory of management for organizations to use—in particular, how to set up and run a learning enterprise. All his questions relate to one collective concept: How to design and create holistic, seamlessly integrated business systems.

Many of the questions and implied requirements noted in Chapter 5 about successful business systems apply equally to building holistic enterprise asset management and EAM systems.

Holistic Enterprise Asset Management Related Questions in Chapter 5

From the many questions and sub-questions noted in Chapter 5, those listed below are relevant to developing holistic EAM systems. Each corresponds to the numbering used in Out of the Crisis.

2a – b. Where would you wish your business to be five years from now?

3a – c. How may you learn whether, with respect to some quality-characteristic, you have a stable process or stable system?

6a – e. Why is transformation of management necessary for survival?

9a – c. What are you doing to create teamwork?

12a – b. Does your purchasing department stick to the lowest bidder? If yes, why? And what is this policy costing you?

13a – d. What is your program for reduction in number of suppliers?

14. Do your people in management receive an annual performance rating?

15. Does your management know about the cost of engineering changes?

16. Does training and retraining in any operation in your company teach the requirements of the next operation?

21. Are you changing supervision to leadership?

22a – d. How do you select foremen? In other words, how do your foremen come to be foremen?

25. What is you plan and what are you doing about it for removal of barriers that rob the hourly worker of his pride of workmanship?

31a – e. What do you know about the problems of your customers in the use of your products?

38a – c. What inspections and verifications are you carrying out?

39a – c. How reliable is your inspection at each of these points? How do you know?

41a – d. What records do you keep of these inspections?

43a – b. What arrangements have you with your suppliers for receipt from them of evidence of statistical control, so that you may safely reduce inspection?

44a – b. What are you doing to make quality (and productivity) everyone’s job, including management?

47. What proportion of the troubles that you have with quality and productivity are the fault of (i) the production workers? (ii) the system (management’s responsibility)?

49. What are you doing to improve the training of new employees?

52a – b. Do your people that are engaged in training (delivery) understand when an employee is trained and when he is not trained?

56. Do you encourage self-improvement of your people?

57. Do you have an educational program within the company?

63a – b. Are all activities in the company taking part in improvement?

64a – c. What is you understanding of a stable system?

66. What are you doing about quality that you hope to provide to your customer four years from now?

Because all these questions are about human-created systems, they apply to all systems built by people, including those for holistic enterprise asset management. If you want to make a highly effective EAM system, then take the time to investigate and understand Deming’s questions in the above list.

In the Plant Wellness Way EAM methodology, you use ‘Change to Win Teams’ to get your people involved in continually rebuilding and improving the system.



Mike Sondalini
PWW EAM System Consultants
7 July 2022