History of quality management
Earlier limited products were made by skilled craftsmen who inspected and took pride in their work before selling it to their customer. Craftsman started organising into unions called guilds. The main responsibilities of these guilds were that, a single person should make a new product from start to end. No two products should look similar. Learners were well trained by experts in such a way to make them specialists. This craftsmanship model was followed until the beginning of 19th century. The Industrial Revolution led to mass production of products by unskilled labourers, who were employed in an assembly-line manufacturing system. Quantity was valued more, workers never communicated with the customers; this led to major quality concerns. Civilian and military customers objected substandard product variations, such as a telephone that did not function at home and a weapon that did not function in combat.
New theories and statistical methods were developed by Walter Shewhart?s team at Bell Telephone Laboratories to address civilian concerns of variation in telephone services. These theories and statistical methods were used to assess, improve and maintain quality. Acceptance sampling techniques, control charts and analysis tools laid the foundation for modern quality assurance activity these influenced the works of quality pioneers such as W.Edwards Deming and Joseph M. Juran.
Deming and Juran introduced the Japanese to statistical quality control after World War II as part of General MacArthur?s industrial base rebuilding program. The Japanese leaders were convinced, that they could continually improve product quality by reducing statistical measured variations. This paved the way for new world markets and ensured Japan?s future. From the 1950s to the 1970s it was seen that the quality of Japanese products was very high while Western quality standards remained stagnant.
The Deming Prize was instituted by the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers (JUSE) in 1951 to recognise individuals and organisations that showed performance improvement using company-wide quality control (CWQC).
With the help of quality management processes the Japanese were able to gain a major global market shares of electronics, steel, automobile, machine tools and computer industries.
Sensing a quality-based competitive threat from Japan, in the 1980s a large number of U.S organisations Implemented extensive quality improvement programs. In 1987 Congress established the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA) which provided a seven category framework in order to promote quality management practices that results in customer satisfaction and business results. Written quality system standards were adopted by International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) in 1987 for European countries and those seeking to do business with those countries. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) with the cooperation of the American Society for Quality (ASQ) adopted the design, development, production, installation and service standards defined by ISO. To highlight the importance of quality in global competition and regional productivity, the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) along with European Commission and the European Organisation for quality announced the creation of the European Quality Award in 1991.
The application of these quality approaches at all organisation levels was termed as Total Quality Management (TQM) in the 1990s, and still exists along with the recent emphasis on bottom-line, focused Six Sigma quality.