The Japanese Gurus of Quality

Kaoru Ishikawa is well known for his concept of Quality Circles. He considers quality to be a company- wide issue. He propounds seven simplified tools of quality control. He developed cause and effect diagram. He developed bar-plots used in Quality Control. While advocating companywide quality control (CWQC), he sums up its main tenets in six propositions. Quality first: Long term profit will increase. No short term profit first. Consumer-oriented QC: Not producer-oriented QC. The next process is the customer: Break through sectionalism.

Talk with facts and data:

Application of statistical method — Management which respects humanity, Industrial democracy, Functional management will be successful in implementing 100% consumer oriented QC.

Functional committees such as quality assurance, profit control, quantity or delivery, new product development, vendee-vendor relationship etc.

Genichi Taguchi advises us to identify all those that stand between products and their long-term performance. He over-emphasizes design at which stage the safeguards against these factors should be built. He contributed loss function in Quality engineering.

Shiegeo Shingo advocates movement of goods, components and documents to the correct/useful place just-in-time when the movement needs to take place. He advocates zero-defect and single-minute-exchange of die which minimizes set-up time of the equipment. He, therefore, emphasizes proper design of equipment.

Japanese view on Quality Control:

Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa, President, Musashi Institute of Technology and Emeritus professor of University of Tokyo, was in India recently to address an All India Conference on Quali0ty Control. He is known as the father Japanese system of Quality Control. In his opinion, QC is possible when we develop, design, produce and supply a quality product which is most economical, useful, and always satisfactory to the consumers. Company Wide Quality Control (CWQC) as practiced in Japan deals with the total management of quality and includes not only the company but its ancillary units and vendors as well. Unless top management is committed to quality, CWQC cannot be effectively implemented. Quality Control Circles (QCC) which are generally functional at the level of workers are a sub-set of CWQC. Many companies adopt QCC without the broader CWQC program. In his opinion, such QCC will not survive long. The management cannot sustain a viable quality movement at the employees’ level without getting into it themselves. Ideally, CWQC and QCC should be introduced simultaneously. There are examples where CWQC follows QCC. CWQC shows results in reasonable period of time, say five to ten years. Quality control is a totally democratic institution, and is not to be treated as labor control.

He notes that the two institutions that are notorious for always managing to be outside the ambit of quality control are the bureaucratic and the political. Even in Japan they are not very appreciative of the merits of quality control.