quality was more
than just statistics
fill the consumer’s intended purpose.
Fitness has five key dimensions:
Quality of design – the product’s design
and other distinguishing attributes
vis-à-vis the customers’ expectations
Quality of conformance – how well
the product matches the design
intent and the production process
meets specified tolerances
Availability – freedom from disruptive
Safety – freedom from product hazards
Field use – the fulfillment of the
customer’s expectations in terms
of packaging, transport, after-sales
service, and speed of delivery.
According to Juran, achieving the
necessary fitness for use requires an
extensive quality process that reaches
from a product’s initial design through
production and out to the end user.
Acceptable quality is a prerequisite for entry to your marketplace. A company whose
products are not functionally and
aesthetically satisfactory soon finds its
products off its customers’ must-have list.
U.S. manufacturers learned that
lesson good and hard beginning in
the 1970s when Japanese companies,
driven by their culture for continuous
quality improvement, began taking
market share here. Japan’s business
leaders developed means for assessing
customer satisfaction, process performance and the like, and installed fine-tuned management systems in their
companies. These companies were
motivated by financial returns but,
more importantly, believed that profits
resulted from attaining superb quality.
So-called experts pointed to a wide
range of reasons for Japan’s success, such
as their work ethic and cultural homogeneity. But the real reason was superior
execution that resulted in fewer defects
and higher productivity of capital and
labor. In short, Japanese managers out-managed us during that time.
We know, too, that Japan learned
about quality from American experts.
Edwards Deming led the way by teaching them about statistical process control. Joseph Juran, often known as the
second American to preach the gospel
of quality to Japan, advised them that
quality must be embedded throughout
To mark his recent passing, let’s
revisit a few bits of Juran’s wisdom.
Definition of quality
Juran defined quality as fitness for
use i.e., the product or service must ful-
More than inspection and statistics
Many call him the father of quality.
However, Juran believed that quality
extended beyond the physical product
to cover the entire business. From this
belief he developed quality control from
its statistical origins to a full-fledged management philosophy called the Quality
Trilogy. His goals were, first, to maximize
customer satisfaction by producing products with demanded features and, second,
minimize dissatisfaction by eliminating
defects and reducing costs.
The first of three parts in the trilogy is quality planning, which combines
what many today call strategic planning, marketing and product development. Its goal is to create a process
that will meet its objectives under
operating conditions by: