W. E. Deming was a statistician born in Sioux City, Iowa (see p. 410 of our book for a brief biography). He tried to convince American manufacturers that statistical sampling could usefully measure the quality of their output but they rejected his ideas; after all, how could testing a small sample of your production tell you anything about the millions of items not in your sample? It turns out not only that it can, but it can be worth a lot of money to boot!

After WWII, Deming visited Japan and found that Japanese manufacturers were very receptive to his ideas. One of the reasons that the Japanese car industry was able to overtake GM and Ford is that the Japanese implemented Deming's ideas.

In 1980, NBC broadcast a report "If Japan can... Why can't we?" about how Deming's ideas were able to help Japan become a world leader in high quality manufacturing. Some people credit this report with getting the attention of American car manufacturers and starting them on the road to being competitive again. (So here we have an example both of the power of statistics and of the power of journalism!)

This assignment is to write a piece on the Deming Prize. Be sure to explain what it is, why it was inaugurated, who awards it, who is eligible to receive it, and why it is named after W. E. Deming.