Philip Crosby and TQM: Philosophy & Concept

Instructor: Kimberly Winston
Philip Crosby was instrumental in the development of total quality management (TQM). In this lesson, you will learn about Philip Crosby, his contribution to, and the philosophy of TQM.

What is Total Quality Management

When you buy something new, you have certain expectations. You expect that product to be in excellent condition. You also expect to be able to use the product for a specific period of time. When customer's needs are met, they are more likely to use or buy a product repeatedly.

No one wants to spend their money on a bad product. Many companies are finding ways to improve customer satisfaction. Companies that use a total quality management (TQM) approach do their best to meet customer expectations by continuously improving all aspects of their operation and, therefore, increasing customer satisfaction.

Total Quality Management

The issue of improving the quality of or creating quality products is not a new concept. In the 1920's, Dr. W. Shewhart applied statistical theory to quality control in order to decrease the percentage of faulty products made.

The next big milestone occurred in the 1940's. Thanks to the advice of consultants like W. Edward Deming and Joseph M. Juran, Japanese companies were able to improve their products and improve their processes as well. The Japanese became so proficient at quality management that their success was a catalyst for Western companies to adopt the philosophy and practices.

The 1980's is the point at which TQM becomes popular, especially for United States (U.S.) companies. There was a wave of U.S. companies adopting TQM philosophies so that they were able to compete with Japanese products internationally as well as nationally. Prior to U.S. companies adopting TQM philosophies, Japanese products were so superior to U.S. products that quality control became a national issue in the U.S.

Philip Crosby and TQM

Philip Crosby (1926 - 2001) was a management consultant and author most known for his work in TQM. Prior to becoming a management consultant, he spent time in the military as well as training in the medical field. After his military career, he worked for several companies. He received recognition in 1964 for his development of the concept of Zero Defects. He opened his own company named Philip Crosby and Associates in 1979.

He believed that in order for a company to achieve quality they needed quality leadership. The company also needed to adopt a practice in which everyone in the company took responsibility for achieving quality. He focused on the prevention of defects, unlike Deming, who focused on the reduction of defects. Continuous improvement of processes was another key component of Crosby's philosophy of TQM. Crosby was instrumental in the development of Zero Defect Programs.

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