NEW YORK — Columbia Business School’s W. Edwards Deming Center for Quality, Productivity, and Competitiveness announced today David Abney, chairman and CEO, United Parcel Service, Janet DiFiore, chief judge, New York State, and Hubert Joly, executive chairman, Best Buy, will receive its 2019 Deming Cup for Operational Excellence at a reception to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the award on October 22, at Columbia University’s Low Rotunda.
Awarded annually since 2010, the Deming Cup recognizes leaders for operational excellence and for fostering a culture of continuous improvement within their organizations. The 2019 award honors three leaders representing two Fortune 500 corporations and one of the largest judicial systems in the United States.
The co-chairs for the award’s 41-member judging committee, comprising eminent figures in industry and academia, were Terry Lundgren, retired chairman and CEO of Macy’s, Inc.; Paul O’Neill, the 72nd secretary of the US Treasury; and Sam Palmisano, chairman of the Center for Global Enterprise and former chairman, president, and CEO of IBM.
In his congratulations to Abney, DiFiore, and Joly, Professor Nelson Fraiman, director of the Deming Center, commended them for “creating efficiency-fueled, employee-empowered, and excellence-oriented establishments. Driven by the ethos of continuous improvement, these diverse organizations are poised for long-term success, demonstrating the growing relevance of W. Edwards Deming’s principles across the private and public sectors.”
As CEO of UPS since 2014, Abney adapted its culture of “Constructive Dissatisfaction” to a more assertive one of “Continuous Transformation,” spearheading a strategy that accelerated the pace of creating and embracing new processes and technologies. He laid out the vision, aligned the resources, and led UPS to become the fastest, most technology-enabled, and responsive company in the industry, while maintaining its core tenets of trust, reliability, and integrity. This aggressive approach to continuous improvement served UPS well, allowing it to offer new services to coincide with changing mega trends that included the rise of suburban America, e-commerce, home health care, and the explosive growth of global trade.
“On behalf of everyone at UPS, I’m honored to accept the Deming Cup for Operational Excellence,” said Abney, in his thanks to the committee. “UPS puts our customers first, with strategies led by our people and with solutions driven by innovation. We create value through our broad portfolio and we are rewarded by our customers’ loyalty, which in turn, creates value for our employees and shareowners.”
Upon being sworn into office as chief judge of the Court of Appeals and the State of New York in 2016, DiFiore announced the Excellence Initiative—an evidence-based, data-driven approach to improve court operations and case management, increase promptness and productivity, eliminate backlogs and delays, and provide high-quality services that support fairness and excellence in judicial decision-making. Through this ongoing exercise in self-evaluation, innovation, and accountability, DiFiore fostered a mindset of efficiency and accountability, as a result of which, New York State courts have made unprecedented progress in eliminating costly backlogs, easing court congestion, and speeding the justice process.
“I proudly accept the award on behalf of the entire New York State court system—its judges, judicial and nonjudicial managers, and 15,000 strong workforce,” said DiFiore. “To receive this award along with leaders of some of our nation’s major business corporations demonstrates that sound management practices and intensive focus on productivity and efficiency can lead to excellence and the highest level of service not only in private sector companies but in government organizations as well.”
Upon becoming CEO in 2012, Hubert Joly steered Best Buy through the Renew Blue campaign, transforming what was a struggling company with an uncertain future, declining sales, decreasing profits, and plummeting stock prices into a profitable entity that regularly delights consumers and has produced higher margins, greater market share gains, and solid revenue growth. In his 7 years as CEO, Joly led Best Buy to consistently deliver improved results for its customers, employees, vendors, shareholders, and communities, not only securing its survival in the digital age, but also cementing its position as the market leader in the consumer technology space.
“Best Buy’s talented, passionate employees are our most valued asset, and I am honored to accept the Deming Cup on their behalf,” said Joly. “Together, we turned around and then began to grow this wonderful company while staying true to our philosophy of doing well by doing good. I’m proud of everything we’ve accomplished and look forward to continuing to work with my amazing Best Buy colleagues as we pursue our collective purpose of enriching lives through technology.”
Founded in 1993 at Columbia Business School, The W. Edwards Deming Center promotes operational excellence in academia and business by sponsoring applied research and curriculum creation, disseminating best practices, and providing professional development opportunities for practitioners. Previous winners of the Deming Cup include*: Juan Ramón Alaix, CEO, Zoetis, Douglas Baker, chairman and CEO, Ecolab, David Cote, chairman and CEO, Honeywell; Kenneth Chenault, chairman and CEO, American Express Company; Dr. Toby Cosgrove, president and CEO, Cleveland Clinic; Jeffrey Immelt, chairman and CEO, GE; Dr. Brent James, chief quality officer, Intermountain Healthcare; H. Fisk Johnson, chairman and CEO, SC Johnson & Son, Inc.; Ellen Kullman, chairman and CEO, DuPont; the late Sergio Marchionne, chairman and CEO, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles; Indra Nooyi, chairman and CEO, PepsiCo; Paolo Rocca, chairman and CEO, Tenaris S.A.; Arne Sorenson, president and CEO, Marriott International; Ratan Tata, chairman, Tata Sons; Stef Wertheimer, founder of ISCAR, Ltd.; and committee co-chairs Terry Lundgren and Sam Palmisano.
*Titles of awardees are for the year they won the Deming Cup.
To learn more about the cutting-edge research taking place at Columbia Business School, please visit www.gsb.columbia.edu.
About the researcher
Professor Fraiman joined the faculty after a 17-year career at International Paper Company, where his most recent position was chief technology officer for eight...Read more.