The concept of “quality” has evolved to mean far more than the integrity of a manufactured product. Quality now represents a philosophy, a system of methodologies and practices, and an ongoing commitment to business excellence that encompasses all issues and engages all individuals within an organization.
Total quality management (TQM) - is an approach to serving customers that involves totally reengineering processes and systems to improve products and services in the way customers expect while considering the needs of employees and relationships with suppliers.
Those who begin to learn about quality become familiar with the names of Philip B. Crosby, W. Edwards Deming, and Joseph M. Juran, Ishikawa, Feigenbaum, Shigeo Shingo etc - renowned quality experts who have been carrying forth the message of quality for many years.
History & Background
The use of inspection to assure conformity to specific requirements dates back to the middle Ages. For instance, Craft Guilds established standards to differentiate their goods and safeguard the reputation of their trade. Skilled craftsmen performed inspection and remedies were made right at the workbench. And through the early years of low-volume manufacturing, informal inspection of products and arbitrary review of worker output sufficed. However, as organizations and production yields became larger during the Industrial Revolution, the need for “quality control” through more effective operations became evident.
The TQM approach began as a means of repairing the damage Japan suffered post-World War II. In the 1920s, Dr. Walter Shewhart introduced quality control as a proactive function rooted in process, rather than relying strictly on reactive measures resulting from inspection. Applying statistical theory to the management of quality, he developed the first modern control chart and demonstrated that eliminating variation in the process leads to a good standard of end products.