was first. He was a Professor of Moral Philosophy and thought more of his Theory of Moral Sentiments
than the better known The Wealth of Nations.
He introduced the ideas of specialization and division of labor with an example based on the manufacture of straight pins. He talked of the InvisibleHand
, an impersonal force like the weather, and of human frailty. Groups of business people, he said, could be expected to conspire for their own benefit. Hence, the free market is rightly limited by society working through government. The trick is to limit the market as little as possible, since business and other interest groups also conspire to advance their own interests through government.
was not a nice person, but his work at Bethlehem Steel and other companies in the first decades of the 20th century paved the way for all the quality improvement work that followed. His methods were still widely used in the 1950's when refinements by Shewhart, Deming, and others were neglected.
led the development of ControlCharts
at Western Electric in the 1920's. The company's problem was to manufacture mechanical relays of high enough quality for reliable telephone (especially long distance) switching as demand increased the complexity of service beyond the capacity of human operators.
worked for Shewhart and then for the U.S. Census Bureau, another organization with important quality control problems. He was one of a group of experts invited to Japan by Gen. Douglas Mac
Arthur after World War II.
Shewhart and Deming's ideas supported the MilSpec
quality control requirements that were part of U.S. contracts for manufacturing the equipment Allied forces used during World War II. Those requirements certainly shortened the war if they did not make Allied victory possible. The fact that nearly all manufacturing capacity on Earth was in the U.S. after the war allowed U.S. firms to stop using those methods. Eventually, (IMO) cars produced by U.S. firms rusted soon after delivery and people tried to avoid those built on Friday or Monday for that reason. The Japanese and others could not afford that mistake, as we see in the success of their cars.
is a physicist who set out to help a friend who owned a machine shop. The result was a computer program for scheduling such work whose results contradicted what everyone knew at the time. TheGoal
was his first attempt to explain BottleNeck
management, the reason his software gave the results it did.
This list is incomplete -- Joseph Juran, Phillip Crosby, and others made important contributions. The ISO 9000 process certification standards, Deming Prize, Baldridge Awards, and other programs extend these ideas in ways that help managers and workers understand what is at stake.