William Edwards Deming was an American statistician, professor, author, lecturer and consultant. He is perhaps best known for the "Plan-Do-Check-Act" cycle popularly named after him. In Japan, from 1950 onwards, he taught top management how to improve design, product quality, testing, and sales through various methods, including the application of statistical methods.
Deming made a significant contribution to Japan's later reputation for innovative high-quality products and its economic power. He is regarded as having had more impact upon Japanese manufacturing and business than any other individual not of Japanese heritage. Despite being considered something of a hero in Japan, he was only just beginning to win widespread recognition in the U.S. at the time of his death. President Reagan awarded the National Medal of Technology to Deming in 1987. He received in 1988 the Distinguished Career in Science award from the National Academy of Sciences.