The W. Edwards Deming Center for Quality, Productivity and Competitiveness Awards Dr. Brent C. James, Chief Quality Officer at Intermountain Healthcare, and Sergio Marchionne, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Chrysler Group LLC and Chief Executive Officer, FIAT S.p.A. with the Deming Cup

Dr. Brent James, the chief quality officer at Intermountain Healthcare, was announced as one of this year’s Deming Cup recipients. The Deming Cup – which grew from Columbia Business School’s W. Edwards Deming Center for Quality, Productivity and Competitiveness’ – is an annual award given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions in the area of operations and have established a culture of continuous improvement within their respective organizations. GE Healthcare nominated Dr. James for the award.

Annual award recognizes contributions to the field of operations made by leaders in various industries

Columbia Business School’s W. Edwards Deming Center for Quality, Productivity and Competitiveness announced today the winners of the second annual Deming Cup. The winners received the award at a dinner at Columbia University on November 2, 2011. The Deming Cup grew from the center’s drive to highlight the achievements of business practitioners who adhere to and promote excellence in operations – the Deming Center’s area of focus. This award is given annually to an individual who has made outstanding contributions in the area of operations and has established a culture of continuous improvement within their respective organization.

This year the Deming Center awarded the Cup to two recipients – Dr. Brent C. James, Chief Quality Officer at Intermountain Healthcare, and Sergio Marchionne, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Chrysler Group LLC and Chief Executive Officer, Fiat S.p.A. Dr. James was recognized for his pioneering work in applying quality improvement techniques that were originally developed by W. Edwards Deming and others, in order to help create and implement a “system” model at Intermountain, in which physicians study process and outcomes data to determine the types of care that are most effective. Sergio Marchionne was honored for proving how by executing operations principles – including focusing efforts to reduce waste, improve processes, and meet customer needs – a leader can build a stronger and more competitive business.

Samuel J. Palmisano, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of IBM Corporation, who was awarded with the inaugural Deming Cup, explained how Sergio Marchionne elevated the performance of Fiat and Chrysler Group through the use of operations techniques and visionary leadership. Mr. Palmisano introduced Mr. Marchionne at the honoree dinner. “Sergio Marchionne is a leader in the true spirit of W. Edwards Deming, the type of leader who navigates through a turbulent economy while building a business based on strong values and a long-term vision,” said Mr. Palmisano. “Under his stewardship, both Chrysler and Fiat have cultivated an environment of operational efficiency and developed a collaborative, forward-thinking culture.”

Keith S. Sherin, Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer of General Electric (GE), who introduced Dr. Brent James at the November 2nd event, discussed Dr. James’ accomplishments in the field of operations.“Dr. James has consistently demonstrated that we can improve the quality of healthcare while lowering the cost by practicing the principles of W. Edwards Deming.  Brent James is a visionary and he is passionate about teaching physicians to improve outcomes by reducing variation. Because of his work and because of Intermountain Healthcare’s dedication to quality, Intermountain is recognized as one of the most effective healthcare systems in the world.”

Real time exposure to Dr. James’ vision and teaching has been instrumental in the collaboration between GE Healthcare and Intermountain, launched in 2005.  The joint project team, including 100 Intermountain and 325 GE Healthcare IT employees located at offices in Murray, UT, is creating an innovative platform to provide a standardized, portable representation of healthcare guidelines and best practices that help healthcare institutions manage clinical knowledge, improve quality and optimize the delivery of information to the point-of-care.

Nelson M. Fraiman, Director, W. Edwards Deming Center, and Professor of Professional Practice, Decision, Risk, and Operations at Columbia Business School commented on the importance of the award, “The Deming Center focuses on developing new insights in all areas of operational excellence. The award gives us an opportunity to recognize best practices in the area of operations and informs academics and executives about individual accomplishments in the field. This year’s recipients depict how expertise in operations can cultivate excellence in firms in a wide range of sectors.”

The Deming Cup’s judging committee was led by co-chairs Robert M. Amen, Executive in Residence at Columbia Business School, and Paul H. O’Neill, Former Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. 1 The committee received nominations through a variety of channels – such as an ad in The New York Times, solicitations sent to the CEOs of the top 300 companies in the US, Europe, Latin America and Asia, business and engineering school faculty around the world and Columbia Business School’s alumni and Board of Overseers committee. Nominations were received from April 1 through June 15, 2011.

A working group of the Judging Committee then screened the nominations to narrow the field to 4 finalists. Afterwards, the entire Judging Committee voted for a winner and runner-up, in order to determine who should receive the prize. Dr. James and Mr. Marchionne led the voting, receiving the same number of votes.

About Columbia Business School 

Led by Dean R. Glenn Hubbard, the Russell L. Carson Professor of Finance and Economics, Columbia Business School is at the forefront of management education for a rapidly changing world. The School’s cutting-edge curriculum bridges academic theory and practice, equipping students with an entrepreneurial mindset to recognize and capture opportunity in a competitive business environment. Beyond academic rigor and teaching excellence, the School offers programs that are designed to give students practical experience making decisions in real-world environments. The School offers MBA and Executive MBA (EMBA) degrees, as well as non-degree Executive Education programs. For more information, visit www.gsb.columbia.edu.

About the W. Edwards Deming Center for Quality, Productivity, and Competitiveness

The W. Edwards Deming Center for Quality, Productivity, and Competitiveness was founded in 1990 during W. Edwards Deming’s last year at Columbia. The center promotes operational excellence in business through the development of research, best practices, and strategic planning. The Deming Center sponsors applied research; disseminates best practices; supports focused education and professional development; reaches senior executives through forums, executive education, and publications; and fosters partnerships with companies in the area of operational excellence.