Dr. Joseph M. Juran

Dr. Joseph M. Juran is widely regarded as the founding father of many of the key quality management programs used by organizations today.
Dr. Joseph M. Juran
Dr. Joseph M. Juran is widely regarded as the founding father of many of the key quality management programs used by organizations today.

The Father of Quality

Born in Romania in 1904 before emigrating to Minnesota in the US in 1912, from an early age Dr. Joseph M. Juran displayed a keen interest in learning and developing skills.

Following his high school graduation in 1920, in 1924 Dr. Juran graduated with a degree in electrical engineering and was hired by Western Electric’s Hawthorne Works. It was there that he began working on statistical sampling and quality control techniques – and this early introduction to quality analysis and management would go on to shape the rest of his life.

After WWII, Juran became a professor of industrial engineering at New York University, teaching quality control. Dr. Juran’s work in the field of quality management drew particular interest in Japan, and in 1954 he went there to discuss his theories at the invitation of the Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers. He would make a further nine visits to Japan to teach his quality management techniques, which became firmly embedded in the nation’s engineering and manufacturing industries. Dr. Joseph Juran founded the Juran Institute – now simply Juran – in 1979.

Juran's Key Quality Management Principles

The Pareto Principle

The Pareto Principle – also widely known as the 80/20 rule – follows the observations of economist Vilfredo Pareto, whose studies showed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. Juran realized that this same 80/20 rule could also be applied to quality issues; he coined the phrase “the vital few and the trivial many” to convey that a small percentage of root causes can result in a high percentage of problems or defects.

The principle applies in other contexts making it a universal principle. For example, 20% of an organization’s products may account for 80% of its profits, or 20% of team members may contribute to 80% of successful results in a given project. In terms of quality control, Pareto analysis can help identify which factors account for the greatest effects in terms of scrap, repairs or cost, and this information can in turn be used to drive improvement in processes.

The Juran Trilogy

The Juran Trilogy, also known as the Quality Trilogy, consists of the three processes that together make up the overall quality management journey.

The three components of the Juran Trilogy are:

Quality planning – This is effectively the design stage during which an organization establishes an understanding of its target customer’s needs, defines the features and specifications of the product or service, and devises the processes that will deliver on those needs.

Quality control – Ongoing quality control involves periodic checks and inspections, and tracking metrics to ensure the process is in control and meeting specifications. Where defects are identified, root causes need to be identified to enable corrective and preventative action.

Quality improvement – While organizations may expect to achieve incremental improvements by day-to-day means, breakthrough quality improvement involves the identification of areas where processes can be optimized, and the organized creation of beneficial change in order to attain measurably improved performance.

Quality by Design

Quality by Design is a fundamental principle of the quality planning stage

By making the planning of quality an integral part of the design process, an organization can ensure that its new product or service is created around features that will produce customer satisfaction. Dr. Juran established the universal methods that created breakthroughs in Quality Improvement. These methods were the precursor to Six Sigma. It was Dr. Juran who put the Define in DMAIC.

Quality by Design is now widely used in manufacturing industries – including the automotive industry – and in recent years has been adopted by the US pharmaceutical industry under the auspices of the FDA. Now a fundamental part of pharmaceutical firms’ pre-market processes, the FDA’s Quality by Design initiative aims to facilitate the design of processes that maximize product efficacy and safety, while also enhancing manufacturability.

Later Life

Dr. Juran remained active in the field of quality management well into his 80s

Consulting for top-tier organizations worldwide, including Xerox, the US Navy, Rolls-Royce Motors and Toyota. He retired at 90, but spent the following years writing his memoirs, which were published just before his 99th birthday.

Juran died in 2008 at the age of 103, but his work in the field of quality improvement is being carried forward by Dr. Joseph A. DeFeo, Chairman and CEO of Juran. With over 35 years of experience in training, coaching and consulting, DeFeo’s highly regarded text, Juran’s Quality Handbook: The Complete Guide to Performance Excellence is widely considered the go-to resource for those wishing to study Dr. Juran’s quality management principles.

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