Kaoru Ishikawa: Man of Vision
Professor Lee Thompson
17 September 2010
Kaoru Ishikawa: Man of Vision
Kaoru Ishikawa stands among the giants of the Total Quality Management movement. Just like Deming, Juran, Feigenbaum, and Crosby, Ishikawa made significant contributions that began the global shift toward awareness of the benefits to be realized from pursuing a policy of total quality management. He was an advocate for company-wide quality control activities, which he believed did not end when the product left the manufacturing line. Total quality management represents the holistic idea that every individual in the process is just as important as ...view middle of the document...
Professor Ishikawa was a prolific member of the grassroots Company-wide Quality Control movement that started in Japan following the visits of Deming and Juran. These experiences encouraged his involvement with launching the Annual Quality Control Conference for Top Management in 1963. During this time, he acted as chairman of the quality control National Conference committee for over 30 years, as well as being involved in Japanese and international standardization activities. Just a few of the books that he wrote on the Total Quality processes are: What is Total Quality Control? The Japanese Way; How to Operate QC Circle Activities; Introduction to Quality Control; Guide to Quality Control; Nation Building and Development Assistance in Africa: Different but Equal.
During his decades of education, research and participation with the Total Quality Management movement, Professor Ishikawa developed more than a few tools that aided in expressing his vision of the process. Ishikawa demonstrated excellent use of the seven quality tools, which are: control charts, run charts, histograms, scatter diagrams, Pareto charts and flowcharts. His cause and effect diagram, which is also known as the “Ishikawa” or “fishbone” diagram, allows the user to see all known possible causes of a result and helps to identify the root of process imperfections. This diagram aids the user with providing quality improvement from the “bottom up,” which I will detail in the subsequent section of this paper. He expanded on Deming’s “Plan-Do-Check-Act model” by identifying six steps, instead of Deming’s original four:
* Determine goals and targets.
* Determine methods of reaching goals.
* Engage in education and training.
* Implement work.
* Check the effects of implementation.
* Take appropriate action.
Ideas that Form the Core of Ishikawa’s Approach
Customer satisfaction must be the goal of the Total Quality process. He taught that all members of the organization, from the “bottom up” and top down must be involved with and committed to the quality process for the company to realize its full potential. The top management staff must support this process, but the front line labor staff drives it. He encouraged organizations to utilize the quality circle, which is typically a small voluntary committee of five to ten workers from the same workshop. These circles meet regularly and are designed to contribute to the improvement and development of the organization. The meetings are also designed to foster communication and morale, with the aim of creating a more supportive environment where individuals can experience greater job satisfaction. They are also designed to “deploy human capabilities fully and draw out infinite potential.” (Ishikawa, 1985) The idea is that Total Quality improvement is a holistic process that improves the individual’s personal as well as business life, which becomes a self-fulfilling cycle.
The second of Ishikawa’s...