How Quality Changed Japan

Quality has always been an important factor in determining the capability of a product to survive in the market. The evolution of manufacturing has always been associated not only with the improvement of systems of producing a certain product but also of the ways on how to bring that product the quality that the market is asking for. It was quite unforgettable how Taylor and Ford tremendously made an impact on manufacturing through mass production. Both saw the need for a change of producing quality goods and service. Similar to the need for change, it was Japan who consistently tried to bring quality to its products and these were made possible through Deming, Juran and Feigenbaum. These three quality gurus made a tremendous impact which gave Japan an opportunity to become one of the best in the field of manufacturing.

Total quality management’s focus on product quality comes not only from the belief that customer satisfaction will drive sales of products but also from the fact that more efficient production process will lower company’s costs. “A generation ago, ‘Made in Japan’ was synonymous with cheap, shoddy merchandise. Today, these same words conjure up the latest in hi-tech electronic products and high quality design.” The cheap and shoddy description of the ‘Made in Japan’ goods were no longer to be found nowadays for they have changed that perception through their tremendous improvement of product quality. As Sony Corporation improves good management within the company, positive changes began to emerge and focus more on the side productivity. “According to Morita, there is no secret to success; it’s just a combination of conscientious employees and the traditional Japanese style.” Part of the Japanese’s success in the field of manufacturing was because of their birth to the idea of using quality as a yardstick for success through the help of the first quality guru, Deming.

William Edwards Deming was one of the leading statisticians who advocated the application of statistical methods to business. His ideas was applied to operations and production which resulted to Japan leading the economic power on the world stage by the middle of the twentieth century. This quality guru is responsible for stressing the importance on management, stating that it is responsible for 94% of quality problems. His fourteen (14) point plan’s adoption was a signal that management intended to stay in business since the plan is a complete philosophy of management that can be applied to small or large organizations in every sectors.

The second quality guru is no other than Dr. Joseph M. Juran, who developed the quality trilogy: quality planning, quality control and quality improvement. This trilogy achieves control at one level of quality performance. This guru believed that “quality is associated with customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction with the product and emphasized the necessity for ongoing quality improvement through a succession of small improvement projects carried out through the organization.”

Finally, the third quality guru and the said “total quality originator” is Armand Feigenbaum. He defined total quality as: “An effective system for integrating quality development, quality maintenance, and quality improvement efforts of the various groups within an organization, so as to enable production and service at the most economical levels that allow full customer satisfaction.” This guru saw that quality leadership, modern quality technology, and organizational commitment were the three steps to quality in a business method. According to him, quality did not mean giving the best product to the customer for what is more important as a tool was control which focuses on clear quality standards, enhancing working conditions, and setting new quality standards with an aim for improvement.

Japan is called the “Land of the Rising Sun” for nothing. The quality that they have produced for their products and maintained for years has proved that ‘Made in Japan’ items are something that is worth buying today. Come to think of it, from today’s point of view, it is even quite impossible to think that there was once a time that ‘Made in Japan’ labels were for cheap things at all. The three quality gurus were some of the reasons for Japan’s success. Their contribution of theories and strategies for quality improvement helped Japan in making quality as the core of their struggle in achieving success from a ‘nobody’ to ‘somebody’ today.

7 thoughts on “How Quality Changed Japan

  1. I just want to say I am just beginner to blogging and site-building and seriously liked you’re web-site. Very likely I’m planning to bookmark your blog . You absolutely have exceptional articles and reviews. Thanks a bunch for revealing your web page.

  2. Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it is truly informative. I will appreciate if you continue this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s