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Supplier-customer relationships : a study of the application of quality management in the federal government
Public administrators continuously look for ways to improve administrative support
processes, including the procurement of goods and services. The system of management
developed by the late Dr. W. Edwards Deming has been advanced as a candidate to accomplish
such improvements. His "System of Profound Knowledge" is a robust, theoretically
based framework which provides the means to analyze these processes using data and facts
and advances an interdependent set of activities designed to liberate and use human capital
to effect continuous improvement.
Included in Dr. Deming's framework is a theory for procuring goods and services
which results in cooperation and trust between the supplier and the customer. In contrast,
the Federal procurement system is perceived to rely heavily on competition and embody a
lack of trust between the suppliers and the government. This research examined the
relationships four Federal organizations implementing versions of continuous improvement
are establishing with their suppliers in order to illuminate government's ability to apply Dr.