Philip B. "Phil" Crosby, (June 18, 1926–August 18, 2001) was a businessman and author who contributed to management theory and quality management practices.
Crosby initiated the Zero Defects program at the Martin Company Orlando, Florida plant. As the quality control manager of the Pershing missile program, Crosby was credited with a 25 percent reduction in the overall rejection rate and a 30 percent reduction in scrap costs.
In 1979 after a career at ITT, Crosby started the management consulting company Philip Crosby Association, Inc. This consulting group provided educational courses in quality management both at their headquarters in Winter Park, Florida and at eight foreign locations.
Also in this year Crosby published his first business book, Quality Is Free. This book would become popular at the time because of the crisis in North American quality. During the late 1970s and into the 1980s North American manufacturers were losing to market share to Japanese products largely due to the superiority of quality of the Japanese products.
Crosby's response to the quality crisis was the principle of "doing it right the first time" (DRIFT).
He would also include four major principles. First, quality is "conformance to requirements, second, management system is prevention, third, the performance standard is zero defects , and the measurement system is the cost of quality."
Crosby's prescription for quality improvement was a 14 step program. His belief was that a company that established a quality program will see savings that pays off the quality program and even more than expected. ("quality is free").