Juran’s steps for Quality Improvement

Juran, like Deming, was invited to Japan in 1954 by the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers (JUSE). His work pioneered the management dimensions of planning, organizing, and controlling and focussed on the responsibility of management to achieve quality and the need for setting goals.

Juran defines quality as fitness for use in terms of design, conformance, availability, safety, and field use. His approach is based customer, top-down management and technical methods.

The Juran Trilogy is an improvement cycle that is meant to reduce the cost of poor quality by planning quality into the product / process.

  1. Quality Planning: In the planning stage, it is critical to define who the customers are and to define their needs (voice of the customer). Once the customer needs are identified, define the requirements for the product / process / service / system, etc., and develop them for operations along with the respective stakeholder expectations. Planning activities are done through a multidisciplinary team, with the involvement of key stakeholders.
  2. Quality Control: During the control phase, determine what needs to be measured (what forms of data and from which processes?), and set a goal for performance. Obtain feedback by measuring actual performance, and act on the gap between performance and the goal. In Statistical Process Control (SPC), there are several tools that could be used in the control phase of the Juran Trilogy: such as the 7 QC tools and other statistical process control methods.
  3. Quality Improvement: There are four different strategies to improvement that could be applied for improvements:
    • Repair: reactive approach - fix what is broken
    • Refinement: proactive approach - continually improve a process that isn’t broken
    • Renovation: improvement through innovation or technological advancement
    • Reinvention: most demanding approach – abandon the current practices and start over with a clean slate.

Quality improvement can be an arduous journey for organizations, as they are up against various constraints that include customer / stakeholder expectations and interests, some of which could be inherently conflicting.

Juran advocated a ten-step process for quality improvement programmes.

  1. Build awareness of need and opportunity for improvement
    • Survey the employees / personnel, find why errors / mistakes / deviations are made
    • After a week, select the top ten reasons
    • Decide how to make sure those mistake-causing steps aren't repeated
    • Keep track of the number of mistakes being made, make sure they are decreasing
  2. Set goals for improvement
    • Establish specific goals to be reached
    • Establish plans for reaching the goals
    • Assign clear responsibility for meeting the goals
    • Base the rewards on results achieved
  3. Organize to reach the goals
    • Establish quality councils
    • Identify problems
    • Select projects
    • Appoint teams
    • Designate facilitators
  4. Provide training
    • Investment in education and training will fetch rewards
  5. Carry out projects to solve problems
    • Large, break-through improvements through interdepartmental or even cross-functional teams
    • Tackle the chronic problems for break-through improvements
    • Vital few problems create the breakthroughs
  6. Report progress
    • Progress expected and the actual progress achieved
    • Act to improve the operational status to reduce variance
    • Information on progress provides confidence on quality improvement projects
  7. Give recognition
    • Morale booster
  8. Communicate results
    • Lesson learnt
    • Awareness of the approach taken, possibility to learn and improve further
    • Improvement outlook for people in other areas, to emulate success
  9. Keep score
    • Track progress
    • Report achievements, short-falls
  10. Maintain momentum by making annual improvement part of the regular processes
    • People oriented
    • Team-work

Juran’s steps for improvements in quality have been widely accepted, practiced and evolved over time to suit different organizations and segments.