Friday, February 22, 2013

NEW Information Link Directory - RedBeadExperiment

HELP Us - Question ???? -- Please comment below

Looking for your recommendations for: books, videos, publications, reference materials, etc., about the use of the Red Bead Experiment and the implementation of Dr. Deming's Management Principles.

Please comment below or send email to:

Your suggestions will be added to our NEW Information Link Directory -
My personal all time favorite, is a book available in paperback and on Kindle: Dr Deming - The Man Who Taught the Japanese about Quality - By: Rafael Aguayo. 

It is available on Amazon.COM,, and (click here or look for the ordering link in our new directory below)

Annoucing a NEW -- APP for Android devices (Apple APP coming soon)
this APP is very useful for consultants to find references to Dr. Deming's Management Theory and how to best use the Red Bead Experiment. Lots of links and pointers to where to purchase reference materials and videos, etc. It's all there in one easy to use APP

Download this APP on:  GooglePlay


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Total Cost of Ownership Over Time of our Business Processes

...... Total Cost of Ownership as related to processes with waste.

At first thought, one might say that the cost of "waste" is only associated with wasted time, loss of products, etc. However, I propose that there are several types of "waste" and what we all should be concerned with is "The Total Cost of Ownership" of our processes over time.

Yes, the base cost of waste is the various tasks times the number of hours times the rate per hour. But, more importantly to our business are the additional costs associated with: + Rework - due to poor training and bad procedures for our workers + Wasted effort - due to poor planning of our tasks and projects + Changes in Mind - due to poor communication with workers, suppliers and customers Imagine a cleaning crew that showed up to wax the floor at customer XYZ office. After stripping off all the old wax, they found that the cleaning company's purchasing agent had not ordered the new wax; the workload scheduler had not told the supervisor that they were to wax a different site instead and -- by the way the stripping removal of the old wax turned out poor quality because they were recently hired workers from a different company and these workers had not been properly trained for using the specific type of equipment. Refer to overhead slide at: 

 There have been some studies that suggest that all these additional costs may be as much as 25% of total costs of doing business.

Total Cost of Ownership over time - please give this concept some thought.

How to start the analysis and improvement of a process with a lot of waste

On our LinkedIn Discussion group, one of our members Mr. Ian Morton asked an excellent question about processes with a lot of waste and how to start addressing the improvement of the process:

Ian's question:

A system with lots of wastage

One thing that I can’t grasp concerns the situation when there is a lot of waste in a system, and this wastage is due to numerous special causes which are inter-related with each other.

I have read summary papers about SoPK, Deming’s 14 points for management, and have a copy of Out of The Crisis, but have I missed a key point or not taken it all in properly ? (any help greatly appreciated).

How would Deming have approached the removal of these special causes ?
Would he remove one at a time ? or,
Would he remove many special causes of variation?

First of all Ian it's a great question - Thank you for asking it.

It is a question I have been thinking about for some thirty - three (33) years now since I first started applying Dr. Deming's concepts to the manufacturing of printed circuit boards at Hewlett-Packard's data Terminals Division in Sunnyvale, California. We were testing some 4000 PCA's a day with a better than 50 percent failure rate in the board test area.

Note: we did find a workable solution - a little bit of a surprise - so read all the way to the end of this discussion for my final point about data analysis.

We started collecting data and preparing Statistical Control Charts  "Xbar - R Charts" and had data coming out of out ears. That was our FIRST MISTAKE Dr. Deming made fun of during a senior manager's meeting held at HP's Cupertino site in March of 1982.

That was the eve of the "birth of the current day"  Red Bead Experiment.  Mr. Bill Boller was in the room that day.

I will never forget the laughter when I ask my question to Dr. Deming in front of the group of about 300 HP senior managers. He scorned at me and said something like...  you got too many control charts ... young man!

So my first comment about your data is to make sure you are only collecting data on the most important points and points in your processes that are impacted by and have impact on the most critical outcomes of your processes.

An excellent analogy in the manufacture of plastic molded parts is the concept of critical dimensions of the part being made. The plastic part experts can determine one or two "critical dimensions" on the part that when measured determine if the entire part is made correctly or not.

Secondly, if you don't use Xbar R charts, please consider switching to them to analyze your data. One of the first lessons we learned is that the magnitude of the Range graph is the first place to start worrying.

If the magnitude of the range fluctuates wildly from data point to data point them your process is "driving you crazy" with what I call "fire-drills" and in effect is wasting your time and taking you away from the important analysis of improving the entire process. So try to understand what is behind the fluctuations and take action to smooth the Range first. I refer to the Range Chart as my frustration index.

Referring to the sample Red / White control chart - see link:

You will notice that for the most part all of the data points plotted in both the Xbar and the R chart are within the calculated Statistical Control limits. That means that the process of drawing white beads is operating within statistical control and for the most part the managers of the process should NOT BE WORRYING.

If there would have been a data point plotted higher than the calculated limits Dr. Deming teaches us that that would be a "special cause" and most of the time we should not worry about those types of causes either. Putting effort into "chasing special causes" again takes away your resources from making the most important analysis of improving the entire process.

The magnitude of the average of the Xbar chart should now be our primary focus of analysis.  All of the data points that fall within the calculated statistical control limits are what Dr. Deming calls  "common causes".

As a manager of a process (like drawing white beads) one of the first decisions you should make is whether the average of the process Xbar is acceptable to you from a business perspective. -- as Paul refers to in his comment above.

Yes, there may be "Red Beads" defects in your process but sine the process is acting in statistical control. It will take work - sometimes a lot of expensive work to identify and remove the common causes (Red Beads) from the process.

Is all that work cost effective? Or is there another way to deal with the issues or perhaps even find someone that you can "sell the unwanted Red Beads to" ? Be creative!

That's a pure management business decision and one that should be made before spending lots of resources analyzing the root causes of all the problems.

Now assuming that management has made the decision that the average of the Xbar data is NOT acceptable, you as a data manager / analyzer need to organize your data using some sort of  Pareto Chart technique  and start looking for the 20% of the common causes (Red Beads) that when eliminated will reduce and improve the entire process by some 80% - lets NOT make work too difficult!

Each one of the common cause (Red Beads) in the process has a name engraved on it in very tiny difficult to read letters. It will take work and the involvement of the "willing workers" to help identify the names of the problem issues. Here is where the majority of Dr. Deming's 14 principles play a role.

Workers know what is going on in a process; but, if management does NOT create the proper environment; uses  ridiculous reward and punishment systems; unfair bonus and performance reward systems... all the knowledge of the "willing workers" will be LOST!

As you know, there are many points that the Red Bead Experiment makes and I won't attempt to cover them all in this discussion.

So in conclusion, create the proper environment; listen to what the willing workers have to say; carefully collect your data (not too much of it); don't worry about "special causes" outside of the control limits; use Pareto Chart techniques to find the 20% most import issues; and eliminate those 20% "Red Bead - common causes" permanently from the system. 

Don't make the fatal mistake of allowing anyone to put a "temporary fix" on the problem  - as it's like painting Red Beads with white paint and putting them back into the box. The white paint will eventually "rub off" - usually at the most expensive part of the entire process in the customer's hands!

Now for our surprise discovery that saved us  "lots and lots"  of money and  allowed me to stop working those 14 hour days. 

We discovered that the product (HP's 4X computer terminal) was made with about 13 to 15 printed circuit assemblies. When we tested each PCA to very tight specifications - many failed but even those that past failed again in final test of the entire product when a full set of boards came together.

The solution was to select boards and test them as an  entire product -- but before they were installed inside of the plastic of the terminal.

One very clever process engineer (Mr. Mark Cardella) developed an oak wood frame test fixture that would hold a complete sets of some ten or so PCA's and the oak frame would slide into a burn-in test oven as a working set of boards.

The root cause of all our problems was "tolerance stack up" at the component level and this information was eventually fed back to the R&D engineers to be used to improve their process of component selection and to improve the incoming inspection of critical components.

I am always happy to add my opinion or attempt to answer your question about the Red Bead Experimentand am available offline to do so.

email me at:

or make a POST on our BLOG:

or on our Facebook page:

If you are a consultant - consider a FREE listing on our NEW directory:

end of comment

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Currently, there is a lot of NEW discussion going on in the LinkedIn Discussion Group. 

If you are not already a member of the group, it's FREE and quick and easy to sign in.

But please be an active participant. 

The more opinion, ideas, etc the better.

Check it out !


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Red Bead Consultant Directory Established

Red Bead Consultant Directory Established to provide Free Listing Directory to Qualified Consultants Worldwide
For Immediate Release
Riga Latvia, Cairo Egypt & Cupertino, California USA - 12 July, 2012
Michael Arthur Johnson Company, provider of the world famous Dr. Deming style Red Bead Experiment announces today the release of a Directory Listing Service. This directory is available to consultants that employ Dr. Deming's management principles and utilize the Red Bead Experiment in their work.

It will be an exclusive listing of the world's most formable practitioners ofDr W. Edwards Deming's management concepts. Referred to as Profound Knowledge, it creates a unique approach to management of processes and people that is applicable to all aspects of life, business and government. It is summarized in Dr. Deming's famous 14 points - Obligations of Management.
A short four (4) minute video summarizes the Red Bead Experiment and it's connection to Dr. Deming.

Free directory listing is available to qualified consultants. The listing procedure is quick and easy and may be found on the directory's Internet

For additional information on the Red Bead Consulting directory listing,contact: Mike Johnson - email: info @

Saturday, June 09, 2012

In the NEWS - Red Bead Experiment - Article by Chris Crouch

read the complete article:  Daily News - Memphis
What can thousands of red and white beads and a paddle teach us about leadership and management? The short answer is that many leaders are not really leaders and many managers do not really manage.
The red bead experiment, conducted by Dr. W. Edwards Deming, demonstrates that many of the things managers do on a daily basis in the normal course of business are – for lack of a better word – wrong. Although these actions feel intuitively correct, most destroy both productivity and employee morale – and in some cases entire businesses.
Dr. Deming was a statistician, professor, author, lecturer and consultant. Among his many, many accomplishments was providing Japanese management with the theories and methods that facilitated their post-World War II rise, and in some cases, dominance of huge segments of the world economy. The red bead experiment goes a long way toward explaining the underlying basis of Deming’s methods.
Imagine thousands of beads in a container representing incoming raw materials; 80 percent of the beads are white, 20 percent are red. The work goal calls for an employee to use a spatula-like paddle to scoop beads from the container and transfers them to another container. Each dip of the paddle symbolically represents one workday of a willing worker. The work standard calls for the company to ship 50 white beads every day. The buyer only wants white beads and will not accept or pay for red beads under any circumstances. In the experiment, various individuals role-play willing workers, inspectors, recorders and managers. With all the participants present, the willing workers are told to get to work.
Of course, each time a willing worker dips the paddle into the container, they inevitably end up with some red beads. As the game progresses, managers use all the standard methods of responding to the “lack of success” of the willing workers. They scold them for getting red beads, they offer incentives to encourage them to get all white beads, they clarify the goal of shipping only white beads, they discuss adding inspectors, they discuss conducting additional training, they develop detailed policies and procedures, they threaten to fire the workers getting too many red beads, they praise the workers getting fewer red beads than their previous attempts or fewer than another willing worker, and so forth and so on. In reality, each worker has little or nothing to do with the number of red beads that end up in their final product. The process produces random results.
Even when workers try to do their best and are provided the incentives, training and motivation to do so; a flawed system will rarely, if ever, produce quality results. And well-meaning managers expend a tremendous amount of time, effort and energy on things that do not matter in terms of reaching production goals.
Deming’s red bead experiment illustrates one of his most famous discoveries: Bad people don’t cause most problems, bad processes do. This is just another lesson on the importance of addressing the root cause of problems.
Chris Crouch is CEO of DME Training and Consulting and author of several books on improving productivity. Contact him through

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sunday, November 06, 2011

New Video Red Bead Experiment in French Language

Congratulations to Alexis Monville, mechanical engineer, partner and founder of the consulting firm Ayeb for his new video about the Red Bead Experiment.

L'expérience des billes rouges (the red bead experiment) est un atelier conçu par William Edwards Deming pour illustrer les erreurs classiques du management par rapport aux phénomènes liés à un système.

Cette vidéo montre une adaptation de cette expérience au monde du développement logiciel.

Cette expérience est brillamment interprété par Alexis Monville, ingénieur mécanicien, associé et fondateur de la société de conseil en organisation Ayeba.

La vidéo que vous regardez est une version courte de l'expérience et a été tourné le 21 octobre 2011 à Bordeaux lors de l'étape bordelaise de l'Agile Tour 2011.

Une vidéo réalisée par Covenweb

English translation by Google --

The experience of red balls (the red bead experiment) is a workshop designed by William Edwards Deming to illustrate common mistakes of management in relation tophenomena related to a system.

This video shows an adaptation of this experience the world of software development.
This experience is brilliantly played by Alexis Monville, mechanical engineer, partner and founder of the consulting firm Ayeb organization.

The video you are watching is a short version of the experiment and was shot October 21, 2011 in Bordeaux in Bordeaux step of the Agile Tour 2011.

A video made by Covenweb

Red Bead Experiment Youtube Channel