Quality Gurus: Deming, Juran, Feigenbaum, Ishikawa


The quality gurus their approaches described and considered is a highly illuminating article by Bendell, Penson and Carr that underscores the value of quality. The increasing customer demands have pushed suppliers to improve the quality of their goods and services to ensure survival in the highly dynamic business environment. In addition, the removal of trade barriers has also facilitated increased competition, which necessitates companies to improve the quality of their products. One of the foremost quality gurus in the U.S. states that quality is a highly critical element in business. Quality is significant because it determines business success both locally and globally. This article discusses various quality gurus and the impact that their inventions have had in the market.

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Edwards Deming is among the most renowned quality gurus in the world. Deming made noteworthy contributions in routine clerical functions and statistical techniques. Besides, he encouraged company executives to invest in better tools for improving quality. When he moved to Japan, he introduced a methodical technique to problem solving called PDCA (plan, do, check, action). Deming later focused on improving management, where he is mainly recognised for his illustrious 14 points for management. The points are essential because they emphasise the need for continuously improving production and service functions. Deming also provided a seven-point action plan to facilitate successful implementation of the 14 points.

Dr. Joseph Juran also had the opportunity to work in Japan. He concentrated on wide-ranging aspects of quality such as goal setting, organisation, planning and the role of management in quality improvement. Juran believed that managers should treat quality control as an essential aspect of management control. Through his works, managers realised that they could make significant cost savings by improving the quality of their products. Indeed, his work enabled managers to appreciate that the external failure costs were far much higher than the internal failure costs. Juran strongly believed that managers should plan for quality because it should not occur accidentally. He formulated a quality trilogy that focused on planning, controlling and improving the quality of products.

Dr. Armand Feigenbaum is also a leading quality guru who helped invent the total quality control concept. This concept not only focuses on administrative functions, but also includes sales, customer specification, assembly, controls, engineering, design and delivery. According to him, a total quality system refers to a comprehensively documented operating work plan implemented in all parts of the company with the aim of guiding peoples’ actions. The system also aims to guarantee customer satisfaction through production of high quality and cost effective products. Feigenbaum also created ten vital benchmarks that aim to ensure customer satisfaction.

Dr. Ishikawa is one of the most recognised Japanese quality gurus. People mainly recognise him because of the fishbone diagram. He emphasised that open group communication is vital when designing such diagrams. He also played a vital role of adapting technical methods and making them available to the different departments of the organisation. Specifically, he promoted the use of the seven tools of quality control. The seven tools include stratification, pareto charts, check sheets and scatter diagrams. Others include histograms, Shewart’s control graphs and fishbone diagrams. Other remarkable Japanese quality gurus are Shigeo Shingo and Dr. Genichi Taguchi.

Their ideas played an influential role in the post-war recovery in Japan. The West has adopted most of their ideas to ensure improved customer satisfaction.