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FPL Captures Deming Prize


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FPL Captures Deming Prize

  1. 1. FPL Captures Deming Prize Utility 1st U.S. Firm to Win Award October19, 1989 By TRACY KOLODY, Business Writer Florida Power & Light`s quest for the Deming Prize paid off on Wednesday as the utility became the first non-Japanese company to receive the prestigious international award for quality. For executives` and employees` efforts to improve their company and impress Japanese inspectors, FPL will receive a small medal noting the honor. But more important than the medal is the recognition that ``FPL is successfully applying a quality improvement process to help us achieve our continuing goal of customer satisfaction,`` company President Bob Tallon said on Wednesday. The Miami-based electric utility established its $4 million quality improvement program in 1985, several years after a visit to Japan by FPL Group`s Chairman Marshall McDonald. Two years later, the company applied for the Deming Prize, named for W. Edwards Deming, an American who pioneered his quality management concepts in Japan. Since 1951, the prize has been awarded to Japanese companies only. In 1984, foreign firms were invited to seek the prize, which is awarded by a group of Japanese management experts. Applying for the Deming Prize provided FPL`s 14,000 employees with added incentive to accomplish needed quality goals, Tallon said. ``We`re in a very competitive marketplace today, and we realized if we didn`t get going with something, we were going to lose ground to our competitors,`` Tallon said. FPL also has to overcome its reputation in nuclear power. Its Turkey Point nuclear power plant in Dade County is on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission`s ``watch list`` for troubled plants and is considered one of the worst-run plants in the nation by anti-nuclear groups. ``It`s incredible that they won this award,`` said Thomas J. Saporito, a former Turkey Point worker who was fired by FPL and later lost a lawsuit filed against the utility.