The Life and Times of Kaoru Ishikawa

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The Life and Times of Kaoru Ishikawa

By: John W. Becvar
Course Name: BSOP 326
Professor: Harry Ekholm
Date paper submitted: 11/11/2011

The Life and Times of Kaoru Ishikawa

Kaoru Ishikawa (July 13th, 1915 to April 16th, 1989) was the first of eight sons born to his father Ichiro Ishikawa; his mother’s name is unknown. He graduated from The University of Tokyo, Musashi Institute, majoring in engineering and applied chemistry, in 1939.

He started his career during World War II, in the Japanese Navy (1939 to 1941) as a Technical Officer, and then moved on to the Nissan Liquid Fuel Company up until 1947. After Nissan, Kaoru became a professor at The University of Tokyo and joined “JUSE”, The Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers, working in quality control. W. Edwards Deming went to Japan in 1950 to work with this organization and had a profound effect on the work of Ishikawa.

Not being content with just improving the quality of a product, Ishikawa wanted to improve the entire process of manufacturing the product, from inception through manufacturing. With JUSE, he began his Quality Circles concept in 1960.

“Ishikawa built on Feigenbaum’s concept of total quality and promoted greater involvement by all employees, from the top management to the front-line staff, by reducing reliance on quality professionals and quality departments. He advocated collecting and analyzing factual data using simple visual tools, statistical techniques, and teamwork as the foundations for implementing total quality. Like others, Ishikawa believed that quality begins with the customer and, therefore, understanding customers’ needs is the basis for improvement; he also believed that complaints should be actively sought. Some key elements of his philosophy are summarized here.

1. Quality begins with education and ends with education.
2. The first step in quality is to know the requirements of customers. 3. Theidealstateofqualitycontroloccurswheninspectionisnolongern

4. Remove the root cause, not the symptoms.
5. Quality control is the responsibility of all workers and all divisions. 6. Do not confuse the means with the objectives.
7. Put quality first and set your sights on long-term profits. 8. Marketing is the entrance and exit of quality.
9. Top management must not show anger when facts are presented by subordinates. 10. Ninety-five percent of problems in a company can be solved with simple tools and analysis and problem solving. 11. Data without dispersion information (i.e., variability) are false data.”(1)

Quality Circles were the first teams within a company whose main purpose was to focus exclusively on quality. The expanding popularity of Quality Circles started near 1960 in Japan, and the concept was in use within companies in The United States later on in the 1960’s.

The expansion of the concept in The United States expanded when managers from Lockheed Missiles and Space Division went to Japan to observe Quality Circles being implemented by Japanese firms in 1973. After the realization of the program’s benefits at Lockheed got out, many large and diverse manufacturing operations began implementing Quality Circles. After those benefits were realized in manufacturing, service sector companies and organization’s began implementing the system with limited success. Labeled a fad after some years of use, because of management failures to put them into operation and manage the teams properly. These early operations paved the way for many firms to advance refine the concept within their respective companies.

Quality Circles have expanded internationally as well. The 14th convention Sponsored by The International Convention of Students Circles in Lucknow, India is November 30th through December 3rd, 2011, and will have students from 34 different countries, with over three thousand attendee’s.(2)

Credit is also given to Ishikawa for the development...
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