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While Dr. Deming certainly played an important part in the development of the quality culture in Japan, Taiichi Ohno wasn’t an underling or student of Dr. Deming. They are linked in history via the Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers (JUSE). JUSE was organized by its President, Ichiro Ishikawa in 1946. Ohno’s initial work was in 1947 and Dr. Deming didn’t join in until he was invited to speak at a session organized by Ichiro Ishikawa in 1950. Given the time frames, Taiichi Ohno probably influenced Dr. Deming as much as Dr. Deming influenced him. Lucky for us they both made profound contributions to today’s Quality movement!

Elisabeth Swan

Elisabeth is a Managing Partner at, the co-author of The Problem-Solver’s Toolkit and co-host of the Just-in-Time Cafe. For over 25 years, she's helped leading organizations like Amazon, Charles Schwab and Starwood Hotels & Resorts build problem-solving muscles with Lean Six Sigma to achieve their goals.