Historically, Japan has been a frontrunner in propagating quality management philosophies and principles. After Japan’s defeat in World War II, there was an urgent need to reconstruct its crushed economy. Philosophers, academia, and the government, made quality a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for all Japanese products in the international market.
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Management philosophers from other countries, mainly from the US, contributed to the evolution of TQM and its implementation in Japan. As a result, the demand for Japanese products soared in the international market and by the 1970s, companies that adopted these quality strategies, dominated the global market.
This inspired American and European companies to join the quality revolution. The business world developed a new appreciation for quality management on production and price. Thus, post-World War II, quality became the USP for all goods and services. Manufacturers strived to adapt dynamic strategies to address both, mass production and economic growth.
Some Renowned Quality Gurus
- W. Edwards Deming
- Joseph M. Juran
- Phillip Crosby
- Masaki Imai
- Armand V. Feigenbaum
- Kaoru Ishikawa
- Genichi Taguchi
- Shigeo Shingo
- Walter A Shewhart
Dr. Deming was instrumental in creating quality awareness in Japan. He is credited with being a catalyst for Japan’s post-war economic progress. To enrich quality in the manufacturing sector, he added the human dimensions framework.
W. Edward Deming’s 14 Points
According to W. Edwards Deming, “The result of long-term relationships is better and better quality and lower and lower costs.”
The quality revolution started in Japan post World War II when the country began to rebuild itself from scratch. To revive its lost glory, Japan adopted the ideas of W. Edwards Deming, an American who was credited with Japan’s post-war revival.
Although Deming’s views were initially ridiculed in the U.S., they were accepted in the 1980s when the U.S. faced stiff competition with Japanese products in the international market.
Deming’s management system was based on the concept of incessant progress toward the perfect quality model. He opined that commitment to quality requires changing the entire organizational mindset.
Deming propagated the 14 Points agenda on Quality Management, to help companies increase their quality and productivity. The 14 points of management philosophy (Revised in January 1990) have become a standard reference for quality transformation.
Deming’s 14 Points are:
- Create, publish, and distribute a mission statement of the objectives and purposes of the company in terms of quality to all employees. In addition, the management must demonstrate their commitment to this statement constantly.
- Everybody across the company hierarchy must learn the new philosophy.
- Understand the purpose of inspection, whether for improvement of processes or reduction of cost.
- Do away with the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tags.
- Improve the production and service process constantly and continually.
- Institute training for employees across all levels.
- Institute leadership training for top and middle-level management.
- Create an environment of innovation by driving out fear and creating trust amongst employees.
- Optimize the aims and purposes of the company, and the efforts of teams, groups, and staff areas.
- Eliminate exhortation from the workforce.
- a. Eliminate numerical quotas for production. Instead, learn and institute methods for improvement.
b. Eliminate Management by Objectives (MBO). Instead, learn the capabilities of processes, and how to improve them.
- Remove barriers that rob people of pride in workmanship.
- Encourage education and self-improvement for everyone.
- Take action to accomplish the transformation.
Deming advocated the transformation of organizational culture. He stressed reducing variation in products and processes. According to Deming, to sustain quality, organizations must create the right environment for their manpower.
Deming opined that each worker has specific potential, which can be utilized if adequate support, environment, and training are provided. He also believed that around 85 percent proficiency of a worker is due to the environment and the rest to his/her skills.
Therefore, to sustain quality, organizations must establish a favorable work environment and practice the principles of the 14-point quality program.
Joseph M. Juran’s 10 Steps
Born in 1904, Joseph M. Juran, was an American management consultant, engineer, and noted author. Because of his contribution to quality management, Juran is known as the ‘father’ of quality. To enrich quality in the manufacturing sector, he added the framework of human dimensions to plan, organize, control, and manage resources.
Like Deming, Juran introduced steps for quality improvement and propagated the concept of Managing Business Process Quality. However, Deming taught manufacturers to assess variations in a production process and identify factors affecting products or services whereas, Juran emphasized team collaboration to accomplish quality objectives.
Juran’s Ten Steps for Quality Improvement
- Build awareness of opportunities to improve
- Set goals for improvement
- Prepare to reach goals
- Provide training
- Carry-out projects to solve problems
- Report progress
- Give recognition
- Communicate results
- Keep score
- Maintain momentum
Philip B. Crosby’s 14 Steps
Philip B. Crosby, another eminent exponent of quality practices, was born in 1926 in Wheeling, West Virginia. A businessman and an author of management theories, Crosby were also popular as an illustrious philosopher and a pragmatic practitioner of quality management. His management theories inspired many management experts to explore their interests in quality management.
In 1964, Crosby was conferred the Distinguished Civilian Service Medal by the Department of the Army for his innovative concept of Zero Defects. He served Harold Geneen as Corporate Vice President of Quality.
In 1979, Crosby founded Philip Crosby Associates, Inc. (PCA) to guide people on setting a preventive culture and completing things right at the first attempt. During the 1980s, when quality evolved as a variable career and work environment, his book ‘Quality is Free’ sold more than two million copies worldwide. PCA influenced professionals from several esteemed organizations such as Xerox, Motorola, General Motors, and many hospitals and helped them understand the concept of quality management.
Deming and Juran, Crosby also gave various steps of a quality program
- Develop commitment toward quality
- Develop quality improvement
- Establish quality measurements
- Evaluate the cost of quality
- Create quality awareness among top-level management of an organization
- Take corrective measures for resolving quality issues
- Develop zero defects planning
- Provide adequate training to the supervisors and managers
- Hold a ‘Zero Defects’ day to establish the outlook and quality vision of the organization
- Encourage the setting of goals for improvement
- Report quality-related issues to the management
- Recognize contributors to develop the quality program
- Establish quality councils to set up action plans for better quality
- Evaluate the aforesaid steps
Crosby concluded that the cost of quality is negligible when compared to costs incurred during detection, correction, and failure in production.
Walter A. Shewhart Cycle
Walter A. Shewhart was born in New Canton, Illinois in 1891. He set a pattern on the importance of information distribution among quality managers and production managers.
When working at Bell Labs, Shewhart revolutionized the production process there. This helped Bell Labs reduce equipment repair efforts. He stated the ‘common’ and ‘special’ causes of production issues. He invented his famed Shewhart charts called control charts to prove his hypothesis. Walter Shewhart set the statistical foundation upon which the modern quality industry is based.
Shewhart also created the scientific method for learning through action and observation. He developed the Shewhart Cycle or PDSA (plan, do, study, and act) cycle:
If an organization encounters failures in a given area, it should brainstorm ideas for improvement. This would be the ‘plan’ phase of the cycle.
Next, the organization selects a course of action and then chases it. This phase would constitute the ‘do’ phase.
In this phase, the organization observes the results of its actions and judges its effectiveness. This step serves as the basis for the next and final phase.
The organization evaluates results in this phase. If the results are favorable, the organization executes the plan in the future to deliver better quality products/services.
If the results are not favorable, the organization has to go back to the original brainstorming pool restart and repeat the cycle until satisfactory results are achieved.
This plan illustrates Shewhart’s concept that continuous observation of management procedures and new ideas is crucial in streamlining ‘common causes’ and justifying ‘special causes’ in variation. The basic concept behind the control chart is the distinction between two variation categories.
A process will either display “controlled variation (common)” or “uncontrolled variation (special).” Shewhart considered the control chart as the voice of the process – one can use the chart to understand how a process is behaving.
Given this distinction, the control chart is a technique for detecting the type of variation displayed in a given process. The objective is to guide the user in taking appropriate action — ‘to look for assignable causes’ when the data displays uncontrolled variation, and ‘to avoid looking for assignable causes’ when the data displays controlled variation.
Kaoru Ishikawa was a professor known for his cause-and-effect diagram (also known as the fishbone diagram), which is used for industrial process analysis.
Kaoru Ishikawa’s contribution to the field of quality includes:
- Fishbone cause and effect diagram
- Execution of quality circles
- Importance of internal customers
- Shared vision with co-workers
Kaoru Ishikawa worked on Feigenbaum’s concept of total quality. He proposed that all employees must have an equal role to play in quality management. He also stated that an over-dependence on the quality department would limit the capability of other workers.
Ishikawa opined that organization-wide participation is needed from top management to the front-line staff for quality management and control. Because quality can be affected by all the departments, therefore, everyone in the organization should study statistical techniques so that quality control is exercised by all.
Kaoru Ishikawa stated that exercising quality control
- Reduces defects
- Develops product quality
- Increases reliability
- Reduces costs
- Increases productivity
- Reduces wastage
- Initiates advanced tools and equipment
- Increases sales and market opportunities
- Develops an organization’s reputation
- Maintains a free flow of communication among different departments
- Reduces false and inaccurate data
Mistake Proofing or Poka-Yoke was initiated and excelled by Shigeo Shingo in his ‘zero defects model’. Shigeo Shingo defines Poka Yoke as Poka – “Inadvertent Mistake That Anyone Can Make”; Yoke – “To Prevent or Proof”.
Poke Yoke is defined as a simple, inexpensive device that is non-operator dependent, built into the production process at the source of operation for preventing safety hazards and quality defects 100 percent.
It has many uses for manufacturing environments and office environments. It is a technique for commencing a mistake-proofing idea into a process to remove imperfections or errors.
Shingo’s improvement techniques greatly reduce the cost of manufacturing, resulting in more products for more people. New products, thus are more innovative with fewer defects and better quality.
An undisputed leader in change management, Shingo’s significant concepts in the field of quality management include:
- Mistake Proofing (POKA-YOKE)
- Single Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED)
- Statistical Quality Control (SQC)
- Zero Defects (ZD)
- Processes & Operations in Value Addition (VA) and non-VA