History of the Ishikawa Medal

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The Ishikawa Medal
Week 3 Quality Award – GM588
1/24/2010

Purpose

“In management, the first concern of the company is the happiness of the people connected with it. If the people do not feel happy and cannot be made happy, that company does not deserve to exist” (Ishikawa. K., 1985). This is the message that Kaoru Ishikawa stood for throughout his life-long efforts of improving quality. It would be almost impossible to tell you the importance of the Ishikawa Medal without first acknowledging the man behind the medal. “Kaoru Ishikawa was born in 1915 and graduated in 1939 from the Engineering Department of Tokyo University having majored in applied chemistry. In 1947 he was made an assistant professor at the university. He obtained his Doctorate of Engineering and was promoted to professor in 1960” (DLSU, 2009). Ishikawa wanted to change the way people think about work. He urged managers to resist becoming content with merely improving a product's quality, insisting that quality improvement can always go one step further. “His notion of company-wide quality control called for continued customer service. This meant that a customer would continue receiving service even after receiving the product. This service would extend across the company itself in all levels of management, and even beyond the company to the everyday lives of those involved. According to Ishikawa, quality improvement is a continuous process, and it can always be taken one step further” (SkyMark Corp. (2009). Throughout Ishikawa’s career he went on to influence quality with the uses of several well known tools such as the fishbone diagram, and the quality circle. He was an unassuming man who saw a link between workplace quality and prosperity. High-quality products would sell, and their makers would prosper. If work was thus made a joyful and human experience, such prosperity and joy would lead to world peace. In recognition of his life-long efforts the American Society for Quality established the Ishikawa Medal in 1993. “Dr. Ishikawa wrote that Total Quality is management based on respect for humanity and a discipline that combines knowledge with action. It was his desire that companies using Total Quality to become instruments for enhancing the quality of life of all people, and in this way help bring about peace in the world”(ASQ - Ishikawa Medalist, 2009). Work that reflects his philosophy and addresses the “human aspects of quality” is recognized through the Ishikawa Medal.

Award Criteria

The medal is awarded to an individual or a team whose work has had a major positive impact on the human aspects of quality in keeping with the legacy of Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa. The criteria for the Ishikawa Medal are based upon the following: (ASQ - Medal Application, 2009).

Individual’s criteria
* Leaders who have had prolonged positive impact on quality and the human environment of their organizations. * Consultants who have worked with managers to improve both the quality of goods, services, systems, and processes, as well as the human aspects of quality. * Leaders of professional or trade organizations, unions, regional networks, etc. who have improved quality and the human environment within their organizations and among their members. * Teachers and authors who have contributed substantially to the knowledge of quality and the human environment and whose teachings others have applied effectively.

Team’s criteria
* A management team that has ‘turned the human environment around’ while improving quality for customers. * A cross-functional team that has accomplished major breakthroughs in quality and the human environment. * A cross-company team that has improved quality and the human environment for its industry or geographic region. The application to nominate an individual or team list the following questions to determine the recipient of the Ishikawa Medal. (ASQ - Medal Application, 2009).

Question 1 asks the...
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