Quality management has a long history. Its evolution initiated during Industrial Revolution in which traditional inspection role is the start point and moves through quality control, quality assurance, to TQM and go on.
The book entitled “The Wealth of Nation” by Adam Smith (1776) introduces the concept of division or specialization of labour that was one of the enablers of the Industrial Revolution. In 1914, World War I stimulated mass production. In that time, industrial inspection became indispensable. A new management approach developed by Frederick W. Taylor (1919), so called “Scientific Management”, aims to increase productivity without increasing the number of skilled craftsmen. In 1924, Walter A. Shewhart, an employee of Western Electric, introduced the concept of control chart for the control of product variables. His work marked the beginning of statistical quality control (SQC) (Shewhart, 1931). At the same time, the British Standards (BS) were developed.
During World War II (1941-1945), the new set of sampling tables using the concept of acceptable quality levels (AQLs) was developed in the US. Thus, sampling inspection became less time-consuming. After the visits of Deming and Juran to Japan in 1950, Japan’s quality development flourished in the subsequent two decades. Several quality concepts, techniques and philosophies such as Poka-Yoke (Mistake Proofing), Quality Control Circle (QCC), Company-wide Quality Control (CWQC), Cause & Effect diagram, Taguchi methods were introduced (Yong & Wilkinson, 2002; Elshennawy, 2004). Secondly, the American Society for Quality Control (ASQC) was formed in 1946. From 1950 to 1960, the US recognized the value of the theories of Deming and Shewhart and the quality assurance (QA) era shifted industry’s focus from detecting defects to preventing defects. During this period, many quality philosophies were introduced such as Cost of Quality (COQ), Total Quality Control (TQC), Reliability Engineering, Zero defects, Management by Objective, etc (Juran, 1951 & 1995; Feigenbaum, 1983; Crosby, 1982).
From 1980 to 1990, customer demand, competitors’ performance and reduction of quality costs were the main driving forces of Quality Management (QM) practices towards Total Quality Management (TQM). TQM integrates the fundament techniques and principles such as Quality Function Deployment (QFD), Taguchi methods, Statistical Process Control (SPC), Just-In-Time (JIT), and other existing management tools. After that Management System Certification grew rapidly in the ISO9000 series, ISO14000 series, and SA 8000 from 1990 to now. The future quality movement has an implication on Six Sigma because it produces more significant positive financial impact than TQM, ISO 9000 or the Baldrge Award (Hoerl, 1998) do. Tam (2006) said ASQ will focus on Lean Six Sigma in the near future.
Lai, Lotto K.H., Chin, K.S. & Tsang, A.H.C. (2006) “The Role of Quality Professionals in 21st Century” Proceedings CD-ROM of The Fourth ANQ Congress & The 20th Asia Quality Symposium, paper SE18.