Get to know the key concepts of quality management


The key concepts of quality management, in a general context, have been conceived, sketched, improved and implemented since the 1930s in the United States and since the 40s in Japan and several other countries.

In the 50’s, concern for quality management gave rise to a new management philosophy based on the development and application of concepts, methods, and techniques adapted to the reality at the time.

This new management philosophy known as Total Quality Management defined the displacement analysis of the quality of products or services for the design of a quality system.

It meant that quality was no longer an aspect of product liability and only a specific departmental problem, but an issue for the whole company, covering all aspects of its operation.

Through the years the key concepts of quality management were being developed by many US business consultants such as W. Edwards Deming, Joseph M. Juran, and Armand V. Feigenbaum.


Discover: How to improve productivity and quality management in organizations


In 1961 Feigenbaum defined total quality management as an effective system that integrates quality development, quality maintenance and quality improvement efforts among different sectors of the company, to create products and services with the most economy and for the satisfaction of consumers.

But it was in Japan, after a publication about company-wide Total Quality Control, written by Shigeru Mizuno and published by the Asian Productivity Organization in 1988 (which had thousands of editions sold worldwide) that the key concepts of quality management took the format that still influences entrepreneurs worldwide today.


Find out about: Concepts of quality management in healthcare: High performance with BPM


“We are caught in an inescapable mesh of mutuality, tied in a single face of fate. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. “- Martin Luther King.


Toyotism and the evolution of the key concepts of quality management

Toyota, in Japan, was the first organization to employ the key concepts of quality management, overcoming the stage of Fordism, where this responsibility was limited only to the management level.

The Japanese method was a flexible system. Labor units were not extremely targeted like Henry Ford did, and was multifunctional, giving flexibility to the Japanese production, which at the time was small and had scarce resources.

In Toyotism the organization’s employees have a broader range of assignments, each being directly responsible for the achievement of organizational goals. Thus, organizational communication, at all levels, becomes an essential part of the organization’s dynamic.


Find out: What are the 10 commandments of quality control?

Masao Namoto joined Toyota in 1943 and was named the president of Toyoda Gosei (Conglomerate Toyota) in 1982. In 1985 the company won the Deming Prize (Japanese award) for quality management. In 1987, Namoto had two books published in English under the title Total Quality Control for Management – Strategies and Techniques from Toyota and Toyoda Gosei.

Namoto had organized the Toyota production system, with key concepts of quality management and their management philosophies (also the Kanban system and just-in-time). Here are some of those principles:


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The key concepts of quality management

  • Produce goods or services that respond specifically to customer needs.
  • To ensure the survival of the company with profit obtained through quality.
  • Identify the most critical problems and solve them with the highest priority.
  • Talk to reason and make decisions based on factual data.
  • Administer the company throughout the process and not by its results.
  • Methodically reduce wastage by isolating the root causes.
  • The customer is king. Do not serve them without quality products.
  • Prevention should have the highest importance.
  • When using ‘trial and error’ never allow a problem to repeat.


Learn more about the key concepts of quality management: What is quality improvement? 4 ideas to consider 

And: Get to know BPM, a process mapping tool.

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