To kick off my section on those who I consider are my ‘Lean Sigma All Stars’, I have to begin with the three biggest names – The Lean Sigma Spine.
These are: Dr W. Edwards Deming, Walter A. Shewhart and Joseph M. Juran
W. Edwards Deming taught top management how to improve design (and thus service), product quality, testing, and sales (the last through global markets) through various methods, including the application of statistical methods.
His philosophy has been summarized as follows:
By adopting appropriate principles of management, organizations can increase quality and simultaneously reduce costs (by reducing waste, rework, staff attrition and litigation while increasing customer loyalty). The key is to practice continual improvement and think of manufacturing as a system, not as bits and pieces.
Walter Shewhart was an American physicist, engineer and statistician and is sometimes known as the father of statistical quality control
Shewhart’s work pointed out the importance of reducing variation in a manufacturing process and the understanding that continually adjusting a process through ‘knee-jerk’ reactions to problems actually increased variation and degraded quality.
He framed this solution in terms of assignable cause - causes created by how the process works, i.e., changes of work shift whereby one person may work faster than another, and chance cause variation – uncontollable factors, i.e., power cuts, bad weather preventing staff to get to work in time, and introduced the control chart as a tool for distinguishing between the two.
In 1938 his work came to the attention of W. Edwards Deming.
This encounter began a long collaboration between Shewhart and Deming that involved work on productivity during World War II and Deming’s championing of Shewhart’s ideas in Japan from 1950 onwards.
Deming developed some of Shewhart’s methodological proposals around scientific inference and named his synthesis the Shewhart cycle – the basis for Continuous Improvement.
Joseph M. Juran was a management consultant who is principally remembered as a pioneer for quality and quality management.
He is widely credited for adding the human dimension to quality management. He pushed for the education and training of managers. For Juran, human relations problems were the ones to isolate. Resistance to change—or, in his terms, cultural resistance—was the root cause of quality issues.
Juran’s vision of quality management extended well outside the walls of the factory to encompass non-manufacturing processes, especially those that might be thought of as service related
Juran developed an approach that is composed of three managerial processes: quality planning, quality control and quality improvement – known as the ‘Juran Trilogy’
As a result of this approach, it was seen that without change, there will be a constant waste, but during change there will be increased costs. However, after improvement, profit margins grow higher enabling the initial ‘costs of change’ to be recouped. Once this happens, then the real profits for the business process can materialise.