FPL Captures Deming Prize Utility 1st U.S. Firm to Win Award
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
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