He was a keen student and studied applied chemistry for engineers at Tokyo University, gaining both a first degree and a doctorate from that institution. Ishikawa himself was keen to explain how he came to be…
He was given huge management responsibilities when he was very young, and this too, made him concentrate his mind on business improvement very early in his career. It is interesting that from the start Ishikawa was able to apply both his practical experience in the field of engineering management, and his academic abilities at the same time. He noticed that the Japanese economy immediately after the second World War was suffering from various hindrances including a lack of understanding of statistics on the part of individuals who had to make decisions based on those figures, a nationwide over-reliance on imports, and an irrational tendency to use outmoded approaches (Ishikawa, 1991, p.3). This ability to see both the tiny details and the bigger picture was to prove one of his greatest strengths. He saw Total Quality Control as the key to addressing all of these issues and this was the start of his major lifetime achievements.
Milakovish, (1995 p. 61) points out that Ishikawa acknowledged debts to Deming, Feigenbaum and Juran in his innovations, but that his major contribution to the field of quality management is his creation of the Quality Control Circle, which encouraged contributions from workers in small groups at the production level. It was introduced in the Nippon Telegraph and Cable Company for the first time in 1962 and from there it spread across the whole of Japan. This recognition of the valuable contribution of every worker at every part of the process of production, sales and after sales service revolutionised the way that managers saw their own roles, and the roles of their colleagues and subordinates. Through working with Deming and others, Ishikawa was able to appreciate the benefits of Western ways of doing, but he could also see that Japanese traditional ways had much value if applied in the right way. Japanese cultural traditions such ...
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