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Application of Deming's 14 Points Theory to the Factory Scene from the Movie I Love Lucy

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“I Love Lucy” is an American television, black and white series ran from October 15, 1951 to May 16, 1957 on CBS. In the switching episode, Rickey wants Lucy to do work and earn money because she spends a lot of money on shopping and other things. So, they challenge each other to switch their work for one week and Lucy will go out to earn money and Ricky will take care of home in place of Lucy. Here we have applied Deming’s 14 points to what happens in the “Chocolate Factory”, where Lucy gets job, but she doesn’t have any experience of that work.

  1. Constancy of Purpose:
  2. Meaning: According to Deming, “Constancy of purpose” means Businesses should think long term in order to survive for long period. In the switching episode, Lucy was not thinking for long term, as she challenged with Ricky, that’s why she join the work to prove herself. Moreover, she doesn’t have any experience of making candies, but she lied and take work from the agency. In the Factory, the supervisor was not thinking long term too. Because she should give training to new employees, so that they can learn work and be permanent in the same field by being specialized in that task. But the supervisor explained task to Lucy what she supposed to do and left from there.

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  3. Adopt a new philosophy:
  4. Meaning: Deming states in this point that companies should accept that quality matters a lot in the production, so it is very important for companies to give effective training to their employees. In the factory, first of all, supervisor should give clear definition of quality, what is expected from them, so that they can work according to it. The second thing is if we don’t make the product qualitative, it will affect the company’s reputation. So, in this case, the supervisor didn’t give attention towards quality, she just want the work done on time because of that, she increases the speed when there was no candy on the line. Even, she didn’t check what her employees are doing, how they are packing the product. Second thing is quality isn’t seen anywhere in that episode because they all working without wearing the gloves even to keep up the speed they eat half of the chocolates candies by themselves or hide in their clothes and cap, so that their supervisor won’t get disappointed.

  5. Cease dependence on mass inspection:
  6. Meaning: Cease dependence of mass inspection means that everybody should be inspected at all the time, whether it is supervisor or an employee. Deming explains that the production should be supervised at all the time to maintain the quality of products and to avoid the rework and mistakes. In the factory, the supervisor gives instructions to Lucy and her friend but didn’t check their work and the quality of packaging. Because of lack of experience, Lucy was trying to copy the lady’s work. But the lady was involved in her own task and she didn’t pay attention to her co-worker (Lucy), as she was not doing work in a right way.

  7. Cease doing business on price tag
  8. Meaning: Cease doing business on price tag means to maintain long term loyalty and relationship with suppliers, as it is more important than the cost. The employment agency supply workers to the factory, according to the factory’s need. Lucy and her friend went to workplace through that employment agency. HR Manager of the agency sent Lucy and her friend without checking their capabilities, skills and experience. Because of this, the chocolate factory faced a lot of loss and it may leads to weaken the relationship of the factory and the supplier (Employment Agency).

  9. Continual improvement of process
  10. Meaning: The main component of continual improvement process is “Feedback”. Deming states that everyone should be asked for feedback to improve the quality of the product and service. In the switching episode, when Lucy and her friend was doing work in wrong way, the supervisor should check the quality of product and packaging to give feedback to employees, whether they are doing good or no. And how to improve the work quality but she was not paying attention to their work.

  11. Training and retraining
  12. Meaning: According to Deming, People should get proper training of work and get retraining at all time to maintain the standard of the work. In the given scenario, Lucy and her friend didn’t get any training from their supervisor or their coworkers. They both didn’t even know how to pack the product and how much they have to take material to make the candies. In the factory no one gets training and retraining in a proper way, they just get the directions what to do.

  13. Improvement of Leadership
  14. Meaning: Deming states that Leaders, supervisors and managers should improve their leadership styles time by time to make their employees comfortable in the environment. When supervisor found that Lucy can’t make candies but wasting the material, she switched Lucy’s job instead of correcting them which proves that their supervisor has not good leadership skills. Which is very important on the workplace to give the right direction to the employees and other staff. Leaders should communicate well with their employees to make them feel comfortable and responsible.

  15. Drive out fear
  16. Meaning: Deming states that creating a fearful impression in the employees does not give more quality and productivity to work. Therefore, driving out fear is necessary in order to create a comfortable environment at a workplace. In the factory, Lucy and her friend were working without any training and without any previous experience of that particular work. When they got a job for packing chocolates, they both were doing that with a sense of fear. They were afraid from the supervisor because she challenged them to not to miss any of the chocolate and they had a fear of losing their jobs as well. In that sense of fear, they were hiding and eating chocolates in order to match with the speed of the work. This really affects the quality as well quantity of the work. Therefore, working environment should be comfortable in a manner; so that everyone can freely represent their ideas before each other.

  17. Staff areas must work together/break down barriers
  18. Meaning: According to Deming, workers should create a cooperative environment at workplace by working together with the other staff members. They should break down barriers by asking questions to their supervisors or other co-workers about the procedure of the work when they don’t understand it. In the factory, Lucy was assigned with the job of making chocolate candies with the other co-workers. Lucy wasn’t familiar with the process of making candies. She didn’t ask another worker or the supervisor. Instead of asking, she was pretending that she knows everything which results in the wastage of material. Moreover, instead of creating team environment, she started conflicting with the other worker. Therefore, Co-operative environment at work place is must, and can only be possible by breaking down the barriers by asking each other or the supervisor.

  19. Stop exhortations of people
  20. Meaning: As per the Deming, “Let people know exactly what you want, don’t make them guess”. It means directly communicate to the people what you want from them to be done and don’t use indirect ways to communicate because it affects the quality of the work. When the agency manager was interviewing Lucy and her friend, he should directly state that what type of work he wants from them, instead of giving them any type of work without any experience. Due to this, quality of goods suffered. Therefore, it is very important to clearly state that what an organization needs from the workers and in which manner; rather than exhorting the work and the people by using indirect ways. ​

  21. Get rid of Quotas
  22. Meaning: Deming states that get rid from the thought of “Quality doesn’t matter for me only Quantity matters”. At a work place, quality and quantity go hand in hand. Rather looking at the numerical targets only, look at how the process is carried out. In the factory scenario, Lucy and her friend got instructions to pack chocolates and not to miss any of the chocolate. This thing only accounts for the quantity; but to match with the targets, quality was ignored. They were doing work as per the instructions but in a wrong way. There was not any quality in the process in which they works. The supervisor should inspect the way of their working, not just a quantity. This thing should be replaced from the workplace in order to get work done in an effective manner.

  23. Give people a chance to take pride in their work
  24. Meaning: According to Deming, there should be a set of system which enable employees to better perform their jobs by removal of barriers that discourage them. We can see from the given scenario that the major barrier in the chocolate factory was no training given by supervisor to Lucy and her friend about how to do work. This barrier creates a lot of problem for them and in order to hide their mistakes from supervisor, they lied and putting themselves in more trouble and did not get any chance to improve their performance.

  25. Self-Improvement
  26. Meaning: This means that employees should know the basic statistical tools to look for the cause of substandard quality and find out the process for improvement. Lucy and her friend had no intention of doing work and did not know anything about the statistical tools they need to know to improve quality. Instead, they were hiding chocolates by eating them and putting them inside their caps to clear the lane to show that they were doing well. With the result of that, supervisor increased the speed of lane which further ends up with loss to factory and they couldn’t learn how to work well and improve themselves.

  27. Do it!
  28. Meaning: The last point demonstrates that there is need to create a structure that support the first thirteen points and make them to follow these continuously. In the factory, there was no structure formed by management because they did not even give training to employees which further enhance them to perform well in their jobs. Not only this, if they did not provide training, there is no chance to provide retraining to them for keeping employees to work constantly to achieve business goals. In the factory, supervisor did not even care for the loss incurred by factory for wrong work done by Lucy and her friend.

So, we can say that management in the factory did not support the thirteen points at all. Conclusion:In the switching episode of “I Love Lucy”, we have done the analysis of ‘Factory ‘ scene, in which the management, employees and supervisor do not follow any of these points to imply quality of products. Because of not giving priority to quality, there was huge waste of chocolate and time. Lucy and her friend at work, didn’t receive any instructions how to do work, what is the goal and what are the quality standards. Moreover, the supervisor and management have not provided any training to their employees to make the work better and better. All over, the chocolate factory was not following the 14 Deming’s points to produce quality goods and to be better and competitive in the industry.


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