Historical background of TQM

It is true that everybody wants their company to produce goods and services of high quality at low cost. The results achieved by the company determine the image of the company. Throughout history, strategies adopted to manage quality have changed.

Prior to the 20th Century, Quality was managed on ancient principles:

(i) Product inspection by customers.

(ii) The craftsmanship concept.

- buyers rely on the skill, reputation and experience of the craftsmen. With the advent of Taylor's Scientific Management principles, the factory managers created central inspection department for inspection and checking the product quality and specifications.

Later on came the concept and practice in

(1) Quality Engineering : Originated from the application of statistical methods for quality control in manufacturing, called statistical process control.

(2) Reliability Engineering : Improving reliability during product design by quantifying factors of

safety, reducing the number of components and quality at difference levels. The Japanese have applied Total Quality Control since World War-II in the name of Company Wide

Quality Control (CWQC).

In the post war period the focus was on productivity and productivity improvement techniques.

In the 80's quality consciousness was further advanced as a segment to the (a) growing concern for damage to the environment, (b) action by the courts to impose strict liability and (c) pressure from consumer organizations for better quality and growing public awareness of the role of quality in international competition.

Quality cannot be achieved by the Quality Control Department alone. Bu the time the product reaches the quality Nothing can be done to undo the wrong that has already been done, except segregating the good ones from the defectives.

Cost escalation, loss of sales and even financial failure may occur if quality is not built into product or service starting from market research, product design, procurement, process planning, production, inspection, packing, storage, transportation, sales, installation, commissioning, maintenance after sale, customer complaints and once again market research to know the changes taking place in customer requirements.

Many programmes were in vogue in various countries, all with the common objective of improving quality and eliminating the defectives. Japan took the lead in the direction of Total Quality Management.

The Second World divested all industries in Japan, Gen. Douglas Mc Arthur requested the U.S. Government to send management experts to help the Japanese rejuvenate their industries. Dr. Edward Deming, the eminent expert on statistical Quality Centre Technique of U.S.A. was sent to train the management was so satisfied with Dr. Deming's achievement that they honored his services by instituting the Annual "Deming Prize" for quality. During 1954-55, Dr. Juran, a famous management consultant visited Japan. He stated that it is not the standard of quality during manufacturing alone that one should be concerned with, but the Total Quality: which is what counts and is responsible for the success of any company. The Japanese followed the Quality Improvement Programme up with many programmes on Quality Control, Statistics and related subjects.

Japan has no natural resources of its own. They had to import most of their raw material requirements from overseas. At the same time, export of their products to other countries was imperative for their very survival. A six-point programme which included the following was adopted by Japan to maintain a quality. I. Quality audits.

II. Nation-wide promotion for good quality.

III. Quality training.

IV. Use of statistical methods.

V. National-wide quality control activities. VI. Quality circles.

The Japanese realized that involvement of their employees at the grassroots level would give the necessary fillip to achieving better quality standards. In April 1962, a magazine called "FGC" (QC for Foreman) was launched. The main objective was to facilitate education, training and propagation of QC techniques and to help first-line supervisors and foreman improve their abilities of QC. The initial success that was achieved through group associations in different work-areas led to the rapid growth of this concept in that country. The first Quality Control Circle Conference was held in May, 1963. Similar conferences was held every year, at different venues. The number of QC Circles grew. QCC Regional

Chapters were formed at different centres. At present, there are more than one million Circles with over ten million members operating in Japan. Now the QCCs concern not only about quality but also diverse themes as productivity, efficiency, cost reduction, design, safety, production control, etc. The movement started spreading to include non-production areas such as offices, Sales Department, Warehouses, Insurance Companies, Banks, Hospitals etc. Both a parent company and its affiliates or sub-contractors work closely together in day-to-day operations. This not only helped to improve their performance but also resulted in better communication between them. The Japanese industry adopts the Quality Circle concept in a big way through the efforts of the Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers (JUSE) as well as dedicated individuals such as Dr. Ishikawa. To quote one single instance of the miraculous story of the Japanese in 1960, Japan was unable to sell a single car abroad, but by 1974, they were exporting 2.5 million cars a year and by 1979 that figure had doubled. Now the QCC concept is being accepted all over the world.

The USA was the leader amongst the industrialized countries for a long time. In the 1960s, the US accounted for more than 25% of the total manufacturing exports of industrial nations. Now the output per hour in the USA is as low as 1.5 units of production compared to Japan's output of 8.3 units, which is also of the world's highest. By the end of 1970, USA, England and Germany began losing the leadership to Japan, which now undoubtedly occupies the leading position in the world in quality workmanship. The ailing General Motors unit in USA taken over by Toyota became the best one in the group, given the same American labour and equipment. What made the difference was the transformation of the organizational culture. Apart from T.V. sets and card, more and more Japanese items such as cameras, watches, steel etc., are slowly dominating the world market. the Americans decided to learn from the Japanese, the secret of their miraculous industrial growth. The secret of growth is TQM. To sum up, after the ravages of World War II. Japan was obsessed with the desire to rebuild the nation on the ashes of the War in general and of Hiroshima in particular. It was keenly felt by the Japanese that experts were the only hope fro putting their tattered economy back on its feet. For this, they also realized that they must wipe out their earlier reputation for producing cheap and shoddy goods if at all they hope to find place for their products in the international markets.

It was then Gen. Douglas Mc Arthur in command of the allied forces in Japan felt that something had to be done to improve the nation's image and for that purpose, he requested the United States Government to sent some management experts to help the Japanese to rejuvenate their industries. Dr. Edward Deming, the eminent expert on Statistical Quality Control Techniques of United States was sent to train management personnel in Japan from 1948 to 1950. During the period 1954 to 1955, another famous Management consultant Dr. J.M. Juran started visiting Japan to lecture on "Quality Management". Based on the teaching of these Americans the beginning of the quality movement were in 1949. Dr. Deming was the guiding support behind the introduction of Statistical Quality Control, which could substantially improve product quality. He believed in the philosophy of entrusting the responsibility for quality improvement in the hands of a few. Dr. Juran's proposal was of total quality control with the responsibility for improving quality with the management and not with a special department as advocated earlier. These proposals of Americans who were the pioneers of the then movement of "Zero Defect" concept and transferred it far behind to their own concept of "Quality Circle". Stated simply, it means that he Japanese recognized that quality is not merely a factor of control; it is really a factor of motivation of the workmen at the grass-root level, of his inner urge to meet the challenge he sets upon himself which feeds upon the human being in him.

Quality circles were thus conceived in Japan by 1961 under the leadership of Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa, then an engineering Professor in Japanese prestigious Tokyo University. Dr. Ishikawa was earlier concentrating on "Book Reading Circles", helping the workers to get theoretical knowledge about quality control. He under the sponsorship of the Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers (JUSE), structured the theories of the behavioural scientists such as Maslow, Herzberg, Mc Greger, to Quality Science introduced to Japan by Dr. Deming and Dr. Juran. Thus the first quality circle was registered with JUSE during May 1962.

By June, 1962 there were three Circles registered with the Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers, As of August 1969 there were 24,000 QCS registered with the membership of 2,80,000 and the number was increasing by 700 to 1000 each month. By mid 1972, the Japanese estimated that the total QCS had reached 5,00,000 with a membership of about 5 millions.

The number of projects worked out is even more fantastic, since a circle, once it is under way, appears to average three project completions a year. The cumulative total of completed projects during the first decade of the movement (1962 - 1972) is the order of magnitude of 5 million projects. The money saved as reported to the QC conventions are about 5000 US Dollars per project.

The impact of QC movement of Japanese quality and on the economy has been remarkable. Further, it is estimated that during 1961 - 1962, 15 million projects have been completed. It may be noted in this connection that the Journal "QC for Foremen" published by the JUSE has played a significant role in initiating the idea of Quality Circles, to tap the immense potential for contribution by workers and first line supervisors through training, motivation and application of techniques.

No wonder, Dr. Deming felt the combination of the culture of people, their earnestness to learn and their necessity to improve were so vital for their existence, that he predicated in the 1950s that in 20 years, Japan would surpass other countries in quality and productivity.

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