Have you ever wondered where quality management systems came from, or why these infrastructures are designed the way they are? In an effort to explore our roots at RQS, this post is the first in a series about Joseph M. Juran who was a dominant figure in the development and dissemination of quality related concepts that we use in manufacturing today. His autobiography is entitled Architect of Quality1, and his design influence can be seen in many aspects of current quality systems. Let’s take a look at Mr. Juran’s life and contributions to this field.

Joseph Juran was born in Romania in 1904 and immigrated to Minneapolis, MN with his family in 1912.2 From his early childhood he worked very hard to help support his family, holding an estimated 16 jobs in 12 years.1 In his autobiography, he said that he and his siblings “… grew up with no fear of long hours or hard work. We learned to seek out opportunities and to use ingenuity to gain from them.”1 His remarkable work ethic sustained him throughout his educational endeavors too, and he graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in electrical engineering, and later from Loyola University with a law degree.3

After graduating with his engineering degree, Juran started work at Western Electric as an engineer and was soon promoted up the management chain because he led many initiatives that improved efficiency and productivity.2 He was a prolific writer and authored numerous books and papers throughout his life about principles that would come to be the basis for quality management as we know it. Some of his more well-known works are the Quality Control Handbook, which was revolutionary because it discussed product quality in mathematical terms, and Managerial Breakthrough, which was the basis for Six Sigma and lean manufacturing philosophies.3 Later in life, he founded the Juran Institute in order to “improve the quality of society.”3

In this series of articles, we will explore several of Mr. Juran’s contributions to the field of quality management. Mr. Juran passed away in 2008 at the age of 103, and he left the manufacturing community a great legacy. I hope you will find this series enlightening!

-KB

  1. Juran, Joseph M. (2004), Architect of Quality: The Autobiography of Dr. Joseph M. Juran (1 ed.), New York City: McGraw-Hill.
  2. Phillips-Donaldson, Debbie (May 2004), "100 Years of Juran", Quality Progress (Milwaukee, WI: American Society for Quality) 37 (5): 25–39.
  3. Bunkley, Nick (2008-03-03), " Joseph Juran, 103, Pioneer in Quality Control, Dies", New York Times.

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