Joseph M. Juran
Joseph M. Juran made many contributions to the field of quality
management in his 70+ active working years. His book, the
Quality Control Handbook, is a classic reference for
quality engineers. He revolutionized the Japanese philosophy on
quality management and in no small way worked to help shape their
economy into the industrial leader it is today. Dr. Juran was the
first to incorporate the human aspect of quality management which
is referred to as Total Quality Management.
The process of developing ideas was a gradual one for Dr. Juran.
Top management involvement, the Pareto principle, the need for
widespread training in quality, the definition of quality as
fitness for use, the project-by-project approach to quality
improvement--these are the ideas for which Juran is best known,
and all emerged gradually.
A Lifetime of Professional and Worldwide Quality
Braila, Romania. December, 1904. The threadbare Jakob Juran
family welcomes a newborn son, Joseph Moses. Five years later
Jakob leaves Romania for America. By 1912, he has earned enough
to bring the rest of the family to join him in Minnesota.
Despite this hopeful emigration and American opportunities, the
family continues in poverty.
Young Joseph Juran demonstrates his affinity for knowledge; in
school, his level of mathematical and scientific proficiency so
exceeds the average that he eventually skips the equivalent of
four grade levels. In 1920, he enrolls at the University of
Minnesota, the first member of his family to pursue higher
education. By 1925, he had received a B.S. in electrical
engineering and is working with Western Electric in the
Inspection Department of the famous Hawthorne Works in Chicago.
The complexity of this enormous factory, manned by 40,000
workers, presents Juran with his first challenge in
In 1926, a team of Quality Control pioneers from Bell
Laboratories brought a new program to Hawthorne Works. The
program, designed to implement new tools and techniques, required
a training program. From a group of 20 trainees, Juran became
one of two engineers for the Inspection Statistical Department,
one of the first of such divisions created in American
By 1937, Juran was the chief of Industrial Engineering at Western
Electric's home office in New York. His work involved visiting
other companies and discussing methods of quality management.
During WWII, Juran's temporary leave of absence from Western
Electric stretched through four years. During that time, he
served in Washington, D.C. as an assistant administrator for the
Lend-Lease Administration. He and his team improved the
efficiency of the process, eliminating excessive paperwork and
thus hastening the arrival of supplies to the United States'
overseas friends. Juran finally left Washington in 1945, but he
didn't return to Western Electric. Rather, he chose to devote the
remainder of his life to the study of quality management.
As early as 1928, Juran had written a pamphlet entitled
"Statistical Methods Applied to Manufacturing Problems." By the
end of the war, he was a well-known and highly-regarded
statistician and industrial engineering theorist. After he left
Western Electric, Juran became Chairman of the Department of
Administrative Engineering at New York University, where he
taught for many years. He also created a thriving consulting
practice, and wrote books and delivered lectures for American
Management Association. It was his time with NYU and the AMA
which allowed for the development of his management philosophies
which are now embedded in the foundation of American and Japanese
management. His classic book, the Quality Control
Handbook, first released in 1951, is still the standard
reference work for quality managers. The following table
outlines the major points of Dr. Juran's quality management
- Identify who are the customers.
- Determine the needs of those customers.
- Translate those needs into our language.
- Develop a product that can respond to those needs.
- Optimise the product features so as to meet our needs and
- Develop a process which is able to produce the product.
- Optimise the process.
- Prove that the process can produce the product under
operating conditions with minimal inspection.
- Transfer the process to Operations.
An Honored Theorist
The Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers invited Dr. Juran
to Japan, to teach them the principles of quality management as
they rebuilt their economy. Along with W. Edwards Deming, his
more colorful and perhaps better-known American colleague, Juran
received Second Order of the Sacred Treasure award from Emperor
Hirohito of Japan. Dr. Juran published his lectures from Japan in
his book Managerial Breakthrough in 1964. In 1979, Juran
founded The Juran Institute to better facilitate broader exposure
of his ideas. The Juran Institute is today one of the leading
quality management consultancies in the world, and it produces
books, workbooks, videos and other materials to support the wide
use of Dr. Juran's methods. The institute and the consulting
practice continues to thrive today. Dr. Juran worked to promote
quality management into his 90's, and only recently retired from
his semi-public life. One can obtain the papers, lectures, and
tapes of Dr. Juran from The Juran Institute or other quality
management educational providers. The Juran Foundation, which he
founded, continues his work, exploring the social and industrial
implications of quality improvement while making his and others'
valuable contributions more accessible.