Contributions From Scholars on Quality Improvement

Apr 13


Dr. Joseline Edward, PhD

Dr. Joseline Edward, PhD

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Quality improvement is a key to identify and address theopportunities to meet or exceed customer expectations. This article shows the list of major contributors to quality improvement.


Quality is not new,Contributions From Scholars on Quality Improvement Articles but it was not a competitive weapon until Japan’s business success after World War II. To compete with Japan’s economic success in the world market, Western organizations started to find and adapt various QM improvement techniques for success. I’m sure most of you all know what quality improvement means. It is a systematic approach to identify and address the opportunities. The core principle behind quality improvement is that there is a room for improvement always exists in an organization. It can be at business level. It can be at system level. It can be at process level. It can be even at the people level.

Many theorists contributed to the philosophies and methods which helped to identify tools and process for quality improvement. One can’t easily find out the complete list of scholars whose contributions have helped us to develop the underlying principles of quality improvement. Our main objective is to list the names of the major contributors and their contributions. I would think that the below mentioned Scholars contribution significantly helped for Quality improvement.

Frank Gilbreth – His theory called “Motion Study” which describes the improvement of work methods which is one of the key principles for quality improvement.

Henry Ford – I am sure most of you all know Henry Ford. He was a famous industrialist and the founder of Ford Motor Company. His concept of “Short cycle time” which was later emerged the underlying principles of Lean management and Just in Time (JIT) production.

Taichi Ohno – He developed the concept called “Elimination of waste”, the idea of kanban was another important concept of Lean Management, JIT and Total Quality Control.

Shigeo Shingo – He developed a theory called “mistake- proofing”, an underlining defects prevention mechanism which can be considered as the origin for Total Quality Control (TQC).

Philip Thomas – He introduced a process improvement technique called “Cycle time reduction” which is one of the core principles in all Quality improvement approaches.

Peter Dewhurst & Geoffrey Boothroyd – Both Peter and Geoffrey have developed a systematic approach to product design called ‘DFMA” which is a powerful tool to improve product quality. The core idea behind their approach is to identify all issues before producing a product or a service which is another one core principle for quality improvement.

Edwards Deming – Most of the QM practitioners might know Deming. He helped Japan to produce quality products which helped them to emerge as a developed country within short timeframe. He offered fourteen key principles for management for transforming business effectiveness. His principles can be considered as Bible for QM improvement approaches.

Joseph Juran – He developed a systematic process called “Juran trilogy”, which can be applied to any environment. The processes such as Quality Planning,quality control and quality improvement and the tool called “Pareto chart” were the major contribution from Juran.

Philip Crosby – He coined the term called “Zero defect (do it right the first time)” which would help organizations to produce defects free products and services. He provided 14 Steps to Quality improvement which could act as a ‘vaccine” to prevent defects.

Walter A. Shewhart – He is called the father of Statistical Quality Control. He developed a tool called “Control Chart” which can be used to measure any process. Using this tool one can determine whether or not a process is stable or not. This is one of the most important tools that are being used in Quality Control.

Armand V. Feigenbaum – He coined the term “Total Quality Control” later known as Total Quality Management. He defined four management fundamentals for TQM.

Kaoru Ishikawa – He was a student of Edward Deming who led the concept of using Quality Circles. A quality circle is nothing but a group of volunteers in a department who analyze product and process related problems and present solutions to improve the performance of an organization. He also developed a tool called “Ishikawa Diagram” aka “Fishbone diagram”, which can be used to systematically identify all the possible causes for a particular problem.

Genichi Taguchi – He coined a term called “Taguchi methods” which would help one to eliminate variation when a product or service was in the design phase.

David Garvin – He is called the father of Strategic quality planning. His framework emphasizes that quality must be defined from the customer’s point of view. He further linked quality, profitability and cost and defines eight dimensions of quality, namely, performance, features, reliability, conformance, durability, serviceability, aesthetics and perceived quality. He suggests companies should decide which subset of these dimensions would help them to differentiate their products and services from the competitors

I would suggest QM practitioners worldwide to learn the principles and techniques suggested by these scholars if they want to become an expert. Interestingly, their work is available for free on the web.

Happy Learning!