Nowadays quality management is one of the fundamentals of any production and in many ways defines the success of the company. The emergence of the quality management as a system of concepts was made possible by the work of outstanding people often called gurus of quality. Despite the fact that all the quality gurus had a tremendous impact on the economies of the entire countries and made it for the transition to the era of quality, their views are in some ways different.
Quality management, in general, is defined as “coordinated activities to direct and control an organization with regard to quality” (Hoyle 21); those activities may further be divided into quality control, quality assurance and improvement (Hoyle 22). Quality management is a continuous process where all the elements of the company are involved. The senior management establishes the general principles of ensuring quality and creates the respective conditions while the middle and the lower level managers perform the operational quality management functions at their level (Rose 134).
Among the pioneers of quality management, due attention should be given to Edward Deming and Joseph Juran. They both were sent to Japan at the beginning of 1950-s. Based on the manufacturing approaches of local companies, they formulated the principles that could be used to improve the performance of any company (McCabe 29). For Deming, quality is the satisfaction of the consumer’s requirements not only to meet his expectations, but also to anticipate the direction of future changes (Albjorn, De Haas, Mikkelsen, and Zachariassen 208). Deming formulated the famous fourteen points of quality improvement, which emphasized the importance of the transition to the new management philosophy focusing on the constant quality improvement and the needs of the consumer (McCabe 34). Juran viewed quality as “fitness for use” (Albjorn et al. 208).
He noted that it is crucial for every company to reduce the costs and boost the performance; for that aims the quality should be planned, controlled and improved (McCabe 37). As Deming, Juran also considered quality to be determined by the consumer.
After Deming and Juran, the revolution of quality management occurred. Their followers improved the initial thoughts and tailored them to the existing realities. Among the key figures were Philip Crosby, Armand Feigenbaum, Genichi Taguchi and Kaom Ishikawa. Crosby established the performance standard of zero defects and understood quality as “conformance to requirements” (Oakland 19); however, for him quality was to a greater extent defined not by the consumer but by the supplier. Feigenbaum was the first to describe the quality management as a holistic system; moreover, he stressed the interconnection of quality and production efficiency and suggested the classification of quality standards (McCabe 40).
Taguchi claimed that quality was the loss associated with late delivery and inefficient use of the product; quality is defined by the supplier (Oakland 243). Ishikawa developed the term of “quality circles” for the analysis of technologies and production in the companies. His approach to quality is more value-oriented and determined by the individual needs of the consumer (McCabe 41).
Researchers note that there are many common points in the philosophy of each quality guru (Suganthi and Samuel 42). Their common message is that there can be no shortcuts to quality, all the required procedures are to be followed, and the need of the consumer are to be taken into account. The overall quality assurance is possible only is there are full commitment and efficient participation both from the top management and employees (Suganthi and Samuel 42).
In conclusion, it can be stated that the concepts of the key gurus of quality management differ in their perception of quality as a system and the vision of the consumer as the driving factor of quality assurance. In any case, those theories, in contrast to some speculative economic doctrines, bring together the most valuable experience or the practitioners and give the managers hints to successful company’s development in the competitive environment.
Albjorn, Jan, Henning De Haas, Ole Mikkelsen, and Frederik Zachariassen. Supply Chain Management: Sources for Competitive Andvantages. Copenhagen, Denmark: Academica, 2010. Print.
Hoyle, David. Quality Management Essentials. Oxford, UK: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2007. Print.
McCabe, Steven. Quality Improvement Techniques in Construction: Principles and Methods. New York, NY: Routledge, 2014. Print.
Oakland, John. Total Quality Management: Text with Cases. Oxford, UK: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2003. Print.
Rose, Kenneth. Project Quality Management: Why, What and How. Boca Raton, FL: J. Ross, 2005. Print.
Suganthi, L., and Anand Samuel. Total Quality Management. New Dehli, India: Prentice Hall, 2004. Print.