This week is Lean series week at Beyond Lean. The blog posts will center around strategy deployment (or Hoshin Kanri). Justin Tomac, Chad Walters, Karen Wilhelm and Tony Ferraro will be guest blogging. This will give you different perspectives from on strategy deployment all right here at Beyond Lean.
Today’s post is from Karen Wilhelm. Karen has inspired me to connect and learn more through blogging. It has been great communicating with Karen over the last few years. Her insights are always enlightening. This is part one of a two part series. The second part will post on Karen’s blog.
Part One: Japanese manufacturing leaders listen to Dr. Juran
As hoshin kanri — also called policy or strategy deployment — becomes better understood through Matt’s blog series, I thought I’d trace some of its roots, as described in some key publications. As with all things lean, hoshin kanri can mean many things to many people. Three key figures who brought hoshin kanri to light saw it from different perspectives too.
In 1951, for example, Dr. Joseph Juran gave a talk at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (ICAF, 1951) — formerly the Army War College — to engineers involved in procurement of high-precision parts for armaments. Titled “Quality Control and Inspection,” the lecture focused on product quality characteristics and the use of statistical quality control (SQC). He talked about how assuring quality in product design and manufacturing processes instead of inspecting and rejecting parts that did not meet specs. In this particular talk, Juran only fleetingly touched upon cross-functional communication, continuous improvement, and other critical concepts included in hoshin kanri.
As many of you know, around the same time, Dr. Juran (as well as W. Edwards Deming) was speaking to groups of Japanese manufacturers who were more interested in his quality message than those in the U.S. or Europe, Toyota began sending key managers to quality seminars as early as 1949. Along with other seminars, Dr. Juran was asked to hold a special one for the industrial leadership of Japan: 70 presidents of Japanese companies.
Juran never used the words hoshin kanri, but from the 1950s on, he described an integrated plan for integrating quality into the company’s management system (Juran, 1988). A company taking this path would be developing a quality strategy understood and carried out at every level of the company. Communication and coordination across functional departments would be effective. Upper management would understand and
perform the tasks needed to make the quality strategy take root.
Juran called the highest level of guiding and planning the strategy Total Quality Management (TQM) or sometimes Strategic Quality Management (SQM). Far beyond the control and inspection of product or service quality, these approaches encompass customer demand, competition, and feedback loops. They advocate creating processes to produce high quality products at a reasonable cost. Juran talked about quality deployment as part of the overall strategic plan, mostly with regard to products and their physical characteristics. Although he was sticking to quality deployment, not the deployment of a company’s entire business system, these concepts are hallmarks of hoshin kanri.
Joseph Juran, Quality Control and Inspection, Publication L51-94, Industrial
College of the Armed Forces. 1951.
Joseph Juran, Juran on Leadership for Quality: An Executive Handbook, The Free
Press, division of Macmillan. 1998.
Takahiro Fujimoto, The Evolution of a Manufacturing System at Toyota, Oxford
University Press. 1999.