Joseph M. Juran



Joseph M Juran was a quality luminary that focused on top management involvement, the quality trilogy, quality cost measurement, and Pareto analysis. A management consultant and an American engineer, widely considered to be one of the fathers of the Quality movement.

Joseph M Juran’s Biography

Joseph Juran always excelled in mathematics and it was clearly his forte. He was also a chess champion and graduated from Minneapolis south high school. He graduates with a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota and then, went on work as Hawthorne Works. Initially he worked as a trouble-shooter at the Complaints department of Hawthorne works.

When in 1925, Bell labs proposed an idea of using statistical sampling and also the latest control chart techniques; Juran was one of those who were chosen to join the Inspection Statistical Department of the firm. They primarily worked on statistical quality control of all the innovations happening at Hawthorne works. This paved the way to a more interesting career in Juran’s life.

In 1928, Joseph Juran was promoted to the department chief and then also became the division chief. It was then he published his technical article in the field of mechanical engineering in the year 1935. With the Great Depression occurring simultaneously he realized his calling in the field of law. It was in 1931 when he enrolled in Loyola University Chicago School of Law . He was also further admitted in 1935 to the Illinois bar, yet he never really practiced law.

By 1937 he had become the chief of Industrial Engineering. One of his many tasks was to maintain the methods by which the company maintained quality management with other companies they did business with.

He took a leave of absence during the war (WWII) to be an assistant administrator for the Lend Lease Administration. While performing this task he and his team improved efficiency, eliminated excessive paperwork and improved arrival of supplies to our overseas allies. This lasted for a period of four years and Dr. Juran decided not to return to Western Electric.

While working as the Chairman of the Department of Administrative Engineering at New York University started his own company doing consulting. He was soon consulting in forty different countries for many different companies. As he was managing all this he was also writing books and lecturing.

After a period of many years of doing seminars in Japan Dr. Juran founded the Juran Institute. It began with a series of video programs that promoted his ideas and made them easily available to many more people. The institute started in 1979 and became very successful.

Juran served at the Lend-Lease administration and Foreign Economic Administration during World War II. He later resigned from the government job so that he could work as a management consultant at least on a freelance basis. He later joined the department of industrial engineering at New York University and that was where he ran seminars for the students mostly round table conferences that were directed towards the executives.

He also worked as a management consultant to a variety of firms like Hamilton watch company, Borg Wagner and many others. That was when he decided to start his individual practice as a management consultant and went on to build a comfortable living for himself. He retired in the late 1990’s when he quit his job as a management consultant.

One of his most popular lines was:

“It is most important that top management be quality-minded. In the absence of sincere manifestation of interest at the top, little will happen below.”

Juran was also the ASQ’s eighth honorary member and showed a huge amount of interest in everything pertaining to consultancy, so much so that he went on to work for it, until he finally attained his retirement. It was in 1945 when the quality control societies decided to form these regional organizations that delved into interests of national quality group. It was during this phases that he willing to pursue the second phase of his career when he particularly delved into this hugely benefiting phase that enabled him to win 30 awards from several organizations.

Juran’s Quality Trilogy

Juran’s trilogy speaks about cost of poor quality and also about cross-functional management. He showed how the costs incurred can be reduced by quality control and quality improvement.

Quality Planning

  1. Identify the customers.
  2. Determine the needs of those customers.
  3. Translate those needs into our language.
  4. Develop a product that can respond to those needs.
  5. Optimize the product features so as to meet customer needs.

Quality Improvement

  1. Develop a process which is able to produce the product.
  2. Optimize the process.

Quality Control

  1. Prove that the process can produce the product under operating conditions with minimal inspection.
  2. Transfer the process to operations.

Juran and the Pareto Principal

One of Dr. Juran’s early discoveries was of the Pareto Principle. Basically it states that there is an 80/20% rule in all things. In other words, in quality control you have to understand that the majority (80%) of your results will come from a minority (20%) of the input of the project. Try looking at it like this:

  • 20% of all hiccups make 80% of all mistakes. Focus on the little things!
  • 20% of workers make up 80% of all results. Reward that 20% of your employees!
  • 20% of all customers contribute 80% of all revenue. Satisfy all your customers!

The thought behind that is when you spend additional time in managing the minutia end of the business you may be wasting time on the details. This is known as diminishing marginal benefit. The purpose of the Pareto Principle is just to realize that everything in life is not given out equally. You need to know that you should really focus on the 20% that is producing the finished product of whatever you are working on. For example if you are given a specific period of time to complete a project why not put 20% of the time in doing detailed planning of how to get it done and then the other 80% actually doing it? Try it and see how it goes for you. Remember, the Pareto Principle is not a law of nature, it’s only an observation.

Six Sigma Black Belt Certification Juran Questions:

Question: According to Juran, when a major quality improvement project is launched, which of the following describes the desired change in performance level? (Taken from ASQ sample Black Belt exam.)

(A) Six sigma
(B) Continuous
(C) Breakthrough
(D) Sporadic

Answer: (c) The only reason to do a MAJOR quality improvement project is to make a breakthrough change in the performance level. The other answers make no sense.

Question: According to Juran, anyone is a customer of a product or service if that person. (Taken from ASQ sample Black Belt exam.)

(A) purchases it
(B) uses it
(C) is affected by it
(D) produces it

Answer: (c) We go with the most encompassing answer here.

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