Montclair State University School of Business, Upper Montclair, New Jersey, USA The Evolution of Total Quality Management Any attempt at understanding TQM and applying it meaningfully in building a healthy market-driven organization requires an awareness of its evolution as an interdisciplinary model for managing organizations. For the uninitiated and, to a lesser extent, those reasonably familiar with it, the semantic jungle of acronyms developed thus far can be so mindboggling as to inhibit successful utilization of what many view as the appropriate paradigm for the twenty-first century. From its earliest roots, developed by Walter Shewhart at Bell Laboratories in the early 1930s, through its application in 1941 at the US War Department by W. Edwards Deming (the author's former Professor), on to its introduction to the Japanese in the 1950s by Deming and Joseph Juran (both protégés of Shewhart) and its finest applications by Dr Genichi Taguchi in the 1960s and 1970s, the movement has had its foundation firmly planted in the disciplines of statistics and operations research. Statistical quality control (SQC), a method of analysing deviations in manufactured materials, parts and products, soon expanded its scope to statistical process control (SPC), the analysis of deviations in production processes during manufacturing. This activity led to acceptable quality level (AQL) analysis which dictates the minimum number of parts that must comply with quality standards expressed as a percentage. These contributions led to the need for a larger frame of reference if sustainable competitive advantage was to be achieved through continuous improvement process (CIP), which searches for ever higher levels of quality by isolating sources of defects with the ultimate aim of zero defects. The Japanese call it Kaizen. If this was to be more than an asymptotic exercise, the firm necessarily had to focus upstream in the production process inside as well as outside of the organization. The result was robust design, using Taguchi's methods. Here, a discipline evolved for making designs "production proof" by building in tolerances for manufacturing variables that are known to be unavoidable. Taguchi's statistical methods enhanced control charts through statistical plotting to help detect "process drift" or deviation, before it generates defects. These charts help to spot inherent variations in manufacturing processes that designers must account for in achieving robust design.
Evolution, Scope and Significance
Journal of Management Development, Vol. 12 No. 7, 1993, pp. 11-18, © MCB University Press, 0262-1711
Journal of Management Development 12,7 12
This climate of quality enhancement led to the realization that design and production had to work more closely on a continuous basis. Whether referred to as "Simultaneous" or "Parallel Engineering", "Early manufacturing Involvement" or Ford Motors' "Team Taurus", successful producers of quality products and services began integrating suppliers along with wholesalers, retailers and "lead-user" customers downstream, at the earliest stages in the new product development process. This integrated pull engineering helped make possible just-in-time inventory management, where suppliers deliver materials and parts at the moment a factory needs them, and thus eliminate costly inventories. From Statistics and Operations Research towards Accounting Marketing and Management Much has been written about the value of focusing on quality improvement in products and services as a means of maximizing bottom line productivity. Traditional wisdom has dictated that with higher quality comes higher cost and the price of the product (or service) consequently, escalates. European quality, with its roots in craftsmanship and the guild system, prescribed "Quality at any Cost". The Japanese, however, have demonstrated...