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The TQM is the culmination of a long history towards the search for Quality. It aims to achieve a level of quality not only on the satisfaction of the needs ” primary” expressed in the short term, but also the achievement of satisfaction in a much more comprehensive way. Hence the justification for using the term TOTAL.


The history of quality is as old as civilization. Human perception of quality dates back to the beginning of time, probably more than a million years ago, when the first tools were fashioned. The Harappeans of the ancient Indus civilization (3000 BC) made measurements of lengths, mass and time with great precision. The dimensions of the pyramid, built around 2500 BC JC, show a high degree of precision. However, the use of tolerancing systems for the definition of quality principles and statistics to control quality is of recent origin. The movement of quality can be traced back to medieval Europe. The craftsmen thus began to organize themselves in unions then called themselves guilds (name given to associations of persons practicing a common activity) in the end of the XI th century. The first major studies dealing with quality were related to the quality of consumer goods their compositions, characteristics and main features … The emergence of a manufacturing industry, international exchanges and their prodigious developments gave birth in the 16th century one of the earliest disciplines of applied management and commercial sciences: the science of goods.

The first department of commodity science was established at the University of Padua in Italy in 1549 1. Until the eighteenth century, production was still in a craft system. The Industrial System, which focuses on product inspection and mass production, only started in Britain in the mid-1750s and grew up in the industrial revolution in the early 19th century   century2.

The real concept of quality management will be born in the 1920s, mainly by Bell Telephone Laboratories. Understanding the important issues behind the concept of quality, the first association dealing with the science of commodities was born in Japan in 1935. The International Association of the Science of Goods and Technology (IGWT – in German, International Gesellschaft für Warenwissenschaften und Technologie ) was established in Vienna in 1976.

Quality is first and foremost a philosophical concept. It is the Advocate Cicero that he took it from the Greek “poiotes ( Which ), meaning the fact of being such or such, to have this or that property Quality then refers to what is said to be such, the way of being that can be affirmed or denied (hot, cold, healthy, sick, mild, bitter, pungent, white, black, figure, shape, etc.). ). It is opposed to quantity in that it is not measurable and contains only degrees of intensity : A white thing is said, indeed more or less white than another , and one fair thing, more or less just than another.

Lean 6 Sigma a friend of Quality?

Lean 6 Sigma services teams often face quality teams. Disagree on many points. These two services should be the best friends. But then, what’s going on ?

  • Culturally, a quality worker is most often seen as a paper producer in charge of ensuring the traceability of actions, solving problems …
  • Culturally also, Lean 6 Sigma Practitioner is seen as a hindrance to go around in circles and make sure problems do not come back.

But then, why are they so often opposed ?

  • Already because in the most current paradigm, the Lean 6 Sigma practitioner aims to be quick and who says quickly says badly done.
  • Secondly, because the quality man, in an ever more administrative society, is transformed into secretary, controller of the finished works, and loses on the way his common sense and his mission to search for the root causes and to eradicate them..

So ?

  • You have to see the performance not only as going faster, but especially to do it better. Better to say faster, better quality …
  • We must see quality as the desire to bring the maximum value added to the customer.

The break in the paradigm of quality

The break will be caused by W. A. Shewhart en 1924, when developing an absolutely new concept : le statistical control.

The paradigm of quality is based on two fundamental principles:

  • Focus on understanding and measuring customer satisfaction.
    • On the abscissa, an evolution of the company has to focus solely on the product towards the taking into account of a greater number of criteria like the organization, the environment, the societal aspects …
        • Understanding customer expectations is fundamental to achieving satisfaction and ensuring the sustainability of the business.
        • He makes the case of management by objective, guilty according to him of a culture of the scapegoatpushing the individual will rather than the work and the improvement of the collective.On the y-axis, we find an evolution of the company with respect to manufacturing constraints towards the consideration of the customer both as consumers and as citizens.

          In other words, the TQM wants to achieve a level of quality not only on meeting the needs of primary expressed in the short term, but also the satisfaction of satisfaction in a much more global way, like the environment for example. Hence the justification for using the term TOTAL.

          A focus on team satisfaction, as opposed to individual sanction and reward systems.

          W. A. Shewhart explains how companies started by checking product quality with unsuitable methods, and how, what will become TQM ; (originally named TQC Total Quality Control) helped them. It studies the concept of statistical control and shows how, one can improve the motivation and the cooperation in all circumstances around this knowledge..

          They base these theories on the following principles

      The graph below shows the evolution over time of the TQM. This evolution is done according to 2 axes :

Source : J. Ruzevicius (2013) – Changements de paradigme du management de la qualité



The 6 characters of quality


    • Walter Andrew Shewhart (1891 – 1967) : Born in Illinois, he is a doctor of science from the University of Berkeley. He has spent his entire career in the technical direction of Bell Telephone Laboratories. Inventor of the concept of statistical stability and control charts , he was the mastermind of Deming . He chaired the American Statistical Association and directed the collection of mathematical statistics edited by Wiley and Sons. It is he who will highlight the distinction between the principles of quality control where defects are detected, quality assurance where defects are prevents
    • William Edwards Deming (1900 – 1993) : born in Iowa, he is a doctor of science from Yale University. He worked in Washington at the Ministry of Agriculture, then at the Federal Bureau of Economic Statistics, before becoming a consultant in statistical studies. After World War II, he was the main advisor to Japanese employers.
    • Joseph Juran (1904 – 2004) : he is from Romania. He worked as a technician at Western Electric before earning a doctorate in law from New York University. After World War II, he began a consulting career and edited the Juran Quality Control Handbook. He was a highly respected adviser to Japanese employers.
    • Armand Vallin Feigenbaum (1920 – 2014) : he was born in Massachusetts. A doctor of science at MIT, he worked at General Electric before starting a career as an international consultant. His book Total Quality Control made him famous, to the point that the title has become a common expression. He is one of the founders of the International Academy for Quality.
    • Kaoru Ishikawa (1915 – 1989) : he was born in Tokyo. A doctor of science, he had a career as a consultant and a university professor. He was General Secretary of the Association of Japanese Engineers and Scientists (JUSE). Author of numerous books, he is the founder of the circles of quality control. Moreover, at the end of the war, in a Japan wishing to make the teams autonomous in quality control, it was he who developed the 7 first tools of quality dont le très connu diagramme d’Ishikawa.
    • Philip Bayard Crosby (1923 – 2001) : he was born in Virginia. He first worked at Martin-Marietta, then moved to ITT where he became vice president and director. He then became an international consultant. Author of many books, he is the creator of the zero defect program.

    Some definitions of quality


    ISO 9000 : “degree to which a set of characteristics satisfies the requirements”.

    P. B. Corsby : “Compliance with requirements”.

    J. M. Juran : « Fitness for use  as defined by the customer.

    N. Kano : “Quality has 2 dimensions, the quality  mandatory  the appealing »

    W. E. Deming : “Quality is the sum of expressed and implicit customer needs


    The quality in figures


    The basis of the Japanese managerial culture is quality, expressed under the requirement of “zero defect” The concept of quality was put forward in the 1920s, during the observation of automobiles. At the time, the cars were unreliable and needed to be followed by a repair truck. A posteriori analysis of this culture shows that the consequences on the performance of a company are very important.

    Effect of quality on loyalty

    The constant search for quality results in customer loyalty. A 3 study shows the impact of loyalty on a company’s profitability. It correlates the percentage of defects with customer loyalty.


    Effect of Quality on Loyalty


    A study by McKinsey 4 confirms this observation from another perspective. Indeed, satisfaction is not measured as a number of defects but only in the form of sounding. It shows that satisfaction is directly linked to loyalty with an “area of indifference”, where the evolution of loyalty is low compared to that of satisfaction..

    « If you do not know the relative importance of the different vectors of satisfactions you will not know where to put your money.” 

    The profit of satisfaction

    Number of studies show the importance of a new customer’s cost of gain with an existing customer.

    Source : F. Reichheld, W. E. Sasser (1990) – Zero defections : quality comes to services

    This influence is particularly on the increase in sales, the customer himself buys more and has a purchasing influence on his environment, and on reducing costs by economy of scale.

    As a result, the quest for quality is a long-term strategy that impacts the entire value chain: gain in market share and profit (the longer the customer stays, the more profitable it is), induces a lower costs.

    However, to manage quality, you have to measure it. Indicators to measure customer loyalty and the number of defects must be put in place. For a long-term strategy, we must satisfy the triad customer, employee and shareholder .

    A 5 study shows that 5% reduction in defects increases business profitability by 25 to 100%. In addition, Lexus USA executive Dave ILLINGSWORTH says :

    « The only measure of customer satisfaction is the repetition of purchases that it makes ».


    For example, the satisfaction measure of the number of products in the automotive industry amounts to 90%, while the surrender rate is 50% 6. This shows the inadequacy between the vision and the terrain. The measure of satisfaction is probably “simpler”, but induces many types of problems. For example, a Toyota contractor who was responsible for completing the questionnaires of satisfaction influenced the client to respond favorably to the questionnaire and those who, because the performer was responsible for his family, had to deliver favorable results to his management. In the same way, the questionnaires of satisfaction can be heavy. For example, a Cadillac customer was interviewed during the purchase, after the purchase and at the after sales service. A cumbersome process that takes resources and tires the customer.

    The cost of non quality

    Producing parts with defects increases customer dissatisfaction and generates additional cost to the company. This cost can be benign if it is singular and serviceable at the end of the value chain, but it can be multiplied by 160 compared to detection at the design phase of the defect. The table below7 shows a value scale of the cost of repairing a defect according to the progress of the project.

    Coût d’une non conformité commise en fonction de l’état d’avancement du produit











    Produit fini


    Coefficient min









    Coefficient max









    Cette observation repose sur le fait que plus un défaut est détecté tard dans le processus et plus il coûte cher à l’entreprise. Les chiffres sont difficilement identifiables clairement, mais globalement, nous pouvons les scinder en 2 parties :

    • Les chiffres facilement mesurables : Rebuts, Retouches, Pénalités…
    • Les éléments difficilement mesurables : Temps de gestion, Recyclage, Stockage, Manutention, Transport, Urgences, Désorganisation, Image de marque, Clients perdus…

    Le prix de la satisfaction


    Different researches on the link between quality and price show that customers are willing to pay more for a quality product in a non-linear curve  (according to emotion theories related to satisfaction and prediction of dissatisfaction 8 ). The application of this observation in the pricing strategy must be done to optimize 9 products. Indeed, if the additional increment of cost of the product for a quality is above the curve, it is unnecessary to make changes and vice versa. In the same way, it is possible for companies to increase the price to satisfy the customer, but the research underlines that it depends on the products in question and what is more, that it is necessary to increase the price for the whole segment and no part.

    Legend :

    • CS : customer satisfaction
    • WTP : Willingness to pay

    Quality, above all a story of state of mind

    Quality is above all a state of mind. It is undoubtedly a strategic choice, but also a professional conscience, the Monozukuri, the respect of the product and the means, and more generally, the respect of the customer.

    Refuse non-quality as inevitable
    Realize that the Zero error is not a goal but an attitude
    Know how to recognize the error and not hide it
    Some symptoms of non quality. It is considered normal as … of


    1 – E. Waginger (2006) – The history of the international society of commodity science and technology

    2 – T. R. Chandrupatla (2008) – Quality concepts

    3 – F. F. Reichheld, W. E. Sasser (1990) – Zero defections: quality comes to services

    4 – D. P. Finkelman (1993) – Crossing the zone of indifference

    5 – F. F. Reichheld (1994) – Loyalty and the renaissance of the marketing

    6 – F. F. Reichheld, P. Schefter (2000) – E-Loyalty

    7 – C. Ferreboeuf (2000) – Qualité en conception

    8 – R. T. Rust, V. A. Zeithaml, K. N. Lemon (2000) – Driving customer equity: how customer lifetime value is reshaping corporate strategy

    9 – C. Homburg, W. D. Hoyer, N. Koschate (2005) – Customer’s reactions to price increases: do customer satisfaction and perceived motive fairness matter ?

    M. Udagawa (1993) – Quality control activities in the Japanese automobile industry : Nissan and Toyota

    Toyota Motor company (1988) – A history of the first 50 years

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