Joseph M. Juran
Joseph Moses Juran (b. December 24, 1904) is an American industrial engineer and philanthropist.
Juran is known as a business and industrial quality "guru," while making significant contributions to management theory, human resource management and consulting as well. He wrote several books, and is known worldwide as one of the most important 20th century thinkers in quality management.
Juran was born to a Jewish family in 1904 in Brãila, Romania, and later lived in Gura Humorului. In 1912 he immigrated to America with his family (including his brother Nathan Juran, a future film director). He excelled in school, especially in math.
In 1924, with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering (he would later earn a law degree), Juran joined Western Electric at the Hawthorne manufacturing plant. His first job was in the inspection branch.
Juran was promoted to a managerial position in 1928, and the following year became a division chief. He would publish his first quality related article in Mechanical Engineering in 1935. In 1937 he moved to Western Electric/AT&T's headquarters in New York City.
It was in 1941 that Juran discovered the work of Vilfredo Pareto. Juran expanded the Pareto principle applying them to quality issues (e.g. 80% of a problem is caused by 20% of the causes). This is also known as the "vital few and the trivial many". In later years Juran has preferred "the vital few and the useful many" to signal that the remaining 80% of the causes should not be totally ignored.
After World War II, Japan was experiencing a crisis in product quality. Japanese goods were thought to be cheap, easily broken and in general extremely poor quality. The Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers (JUSE) recognized these issues and invited Juran to Japan in 1954.
Working independently of W. Edwards Deming (who focused on the use of statistical quality control), Juran - who focused on managing for quality - went to Japan and started courses (1954) in Quality Management.
The training started with top and middle management. The idea that top and middle management need training had found resistance in the United States.
For Japan, it would take some 20 years for the training to pay off. In the 1970s, Japanese products began to be seen as the leaders in quality. This sparked a crisis in United States due to quality issues in the 1980s.