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Paying Tribute to a Century of Modern Quality Practices

Have you ever wonder when does the  quality practices begin.   In ancient days,  where a craftsman would be able to manage  all aspects of  transforming raw material to finished goods which will eventually be sold and he will also be the inspector of his own product.   An example would be a carpenter would choose a tree which would yield good wood to chop and he will transform  the wood into furniture.  He had a control on each step including inspecting his own work in the process making the part.  In this scenario  time to reach consumer is not a primary concern to finish the product.

Frederick Taylor (1856- 1915)  enabled mass production with his  principles of Industrial engineering   to building  products with higher  efficiency  and more systematic approach where product time to reach consumer become a primary concern.  Therefore mass inspection conducted by  trained inspectors is formulated in tandem with mass production to enable operator to focus on just transforming  the parts from raw materials or semi finished parts.  This could be the beginning of modern quality practices per American Society of Quality (ASQ).   Since then,  there are many quality philosophies being conceived over the last centuries by great quality gurus from America and Japan.  After world war II,  leading quality engineering experts Juran and  Deming had went to Japan to introduce quality management tools to help Japan to build up their manufacturing industry.  This had created a ripple effect where Japanese quality philosophies had been discovered.  Together all great gurus had contributed to the founding of modern quality management concepts in manufacturing industry.   

Modern quality practices adopted a lot of tools such as FMEA, 8D, advance product  quality planning (APQP)  from military and automobile  industry  as both  was the most advance industry hiring the best expert before the digital age.  With the invention of computer in digital age and the growth of semiconductor had created a need for more systematic quality improvement methods.  Thus systematic problem solving approach such as 6 sigma was conceived by Motorola in late 1980s can be used in continuous quality improvement.

We shall trace back the development of the modern quality techniques and philosophies using the table below. 

Era
Quality culture contributors
Quality principles and techniques
Origin  
1900
NA
Mass quality inspection by Frederick Taylor
NA
1930
Walter Shewart
Statistical Process control chart
Bell Telephone
1930s -1980s
William Deming
Sampling, PDCA, help Japan industry to grow through his quality philosophy,  14 key principles to transformation which is foundation of total quality management
America to Japan to global
1930s -1980s
Joseph Juran
Adopt Pareto principle in quality analysis, cost of poor quality,  Juran trilogy Quality control, improvement and planning, quality from top management, quality cannot be achieved thru inspection,   Juran Quality handbook
America , Japan to global
1960s -1990s
Philip Crosby
Quality management and maturity, Zero Defects,
America
1960s -1980s
Kaoru Ishikawa
Concepts of quality circle, Fish bone cause and effect diagram
Japan
1960s -1970s
Genichi Taguchi
The Taguchi loss function,  Taguichi method in Design of experiment
Japan

1960s
Aerospace/Military
FMEA
America
1980s
Automobile
Advance product quality planning (APQP)
America
1980s
Semiconductor, Motorola
Quality improvement Six sigma methodology 
America
1980s
International Organization for Standardization
Standardized quality management systems to ensure product meet customer requirement
Europe

The biggest quality principles contributions which lead to today quality engineering strategy and techniques happen after  World War II with aggressive movement to build up nation economy at both sides of Pacific. 

With so many quality tools and principles being developed in last century,  it is sad that today  there are not many organizations are able to execute quality tools well.  Perhaps we should focus on how to apply all the quality tools properly to improve manufacturing process and shifting the quality management paradigm from inspecting quality in parts to build in quality to parts in a manufacturing process.

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