From the October 2009 Issue of Senior Market Advisor Magazine
From luxury automobiles to high-tech electronics, the phrase “made in Japan” is synonymous with quality and reliability. The Japanese have a well-deserved reputation for their relentless pursuit of excellence … but it wasn’t always that way.
At the end of WWII, many Japanese cities lay in ruin, its manufacturing base destroyed and its economy devastated. General Douglas MacArthur assembled a team of American business consultants to spearhead the rebuilding of the Japanese economic recovery. Dr. W. Edwards Deming, a statistician who worked at the US Census Bureau, was selected as a member of that distinguished team.
The start of TQM
It was Deming who introduced the Japanese business leaders to the concept of total quality management. Japan used the philosophy of TQM and the concept of continuous improvement to set and achieve ambitious national goals. Quality management best practices developed quickly in Japanese plants and became a major driving factor behind the Japanese management philosophy. By 1960, the culture of quality control management had become a national preoccupation.