Approaches to Quality Management by Thought Leaders

During and after the industrial revolution in 18th century, mass production became common in contrast with the erstwhile smaller batch production, which led to the creation of ‘large scale factories’, ‘segmented markets’ and ‘industry sectors’.

Availability of steam and later electricity, led to the quick industrialization, mechanization and automation of operations. The demand for mass produced products grew several fold, leading to the creation of more and more industries in the primary, secondary and tertiary sector. By the middle of the 20th century, there evolved a large consumer base consuming hitherto unimaginable quantum of products and services that were mass-produced.

Scientific management principles, behavioural sciences, management by objectives and other management tools / techniques began to be widely practiced in such mass production and delivery scenario. Quality concepts evolved from what was essentially ‘control’ to ‘assurance’ and later into, ‘management’.

Study of variation and its impact on quality, has been an emerging science, since the beginning of industrial revolution through the two World Wars and other historical events.

Quality Management has evolved into a system that covers - measuring / collecting data, identifying trend / variation, classifying / processing data, analysing cause and effect, prioritizing, planning actions through objectives, review, feedback and continual improvement, learning lessons, institutionalizing best practices, etc.

Thought Leaders in Quality ManagementCrosby, Deming, Feigenbaum, Ishikawa, Juran, Taguchi and several more, dedicated their efforts in the study of variation that shaped the approaches to quality management as we practice them currently.

Philip Crosby (1926 – 2001): Quality is free, Doing it right the first time

  • Quality - Conformance to requirements
  • System of quality - Prevention
  • Performance standard - Zero defects
  • Measure of quality – price of non-conformance

William Edwards Deming (1900 – 1993): Statistical Process Control, TQM

  • 14 key principles to managers for transforming business effectiveness
  • Joint efforts with Japanese industry
  • Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle
  • Sampling techniques

Armand Vallin Feigenbaum (1920 – 2014): Total Quality Control

  • Concept of ‘hidden’ plant (extra / re-work)
  • Accountability - quality is everybody’s job
  • Quality Costs

Kaoru Ishikawa (1915 – 1989): Quality circles, Ishikawa diagram

  • Quality initiatives – quality circles
  • Cause and effect (Ishikawa) diagrams
  • Internal customer
  • Shared vision

Joseph Moses Juran (1904 – 2008): Managing for quality, Vital few - useful many

  • Juran’s trilogy – Quality planning, control and improvement
  • Juran Institute – Lean manufacturing, Business process management, Six-sigma
  • Joint efforts with Japanese industry

Genichi Taguchi (1924 – 2012): Taguchi methods

  • Taguchi loss function
  • Off-line quality control - Design for robust products / services
  • Design of experiments

Pioneering efforts are continuously on, by various experts, practitioners, institutions and the industry at large, towards developing newer, more efficient and effective methodology and approaches to quality management. This improvement process shall always remain.

In the practice quality management, we see that these approaches by Thought Leaders are not independent of each other, but are strongly convergent to minimize variation, improve quality and aim for better products and processes.

The organization chooses its approach to quality management based on:

  • Customer / other stakeholder needs
  • Legal / statutory / regulatory / other compliance needs
  • Organizational size, type, location
  • Socio-cultural, economic, environmental factors
  • Technological, engineering, other factors

The chosen approach could be based on one or more of the Quality Management approaches propounded by Thought Leaders.