A Tribute To Dr Joseph M Juran

20 March 2008 | Source: Business Standard
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Dr Joseph M Juran, one of quality’s most influential pioneers, transmigrated on Thursday, 28 February, at the age of 103.

Dr Juran. My Guru

On reflecting about the pure-knowledge, global responsibility, and disciplined energy of the colossus, my thoughts flowed to the last two paragraphs in ‘Architect of Quality’, the autobiography of Dr Joseph M Juran (Tata McGraw Hill, 2004) that reads as follows:

“So I have come to the end. I close this book with two messages. To those whose careers are in the field of managing for quality: thank your lucky stars. Your field will grow extensively during your lifetime, especially in three of our giant industries health, education, and government. There will be exciting opportunities for innovation and for service to society.

And to my beloved family: when I am gone, let no one weep for me. I have lived a wonderful life.”

I feel very fortunate to have met and interacted with a man of such Biblical stature. As the Indian international representative of the Juran Institute, I received formal training on the Juran Trilogy from him, Dr Frank  Gryna  and Frank Tedesco, over the period 1986 to 1996 in Wilton, Paris, and London.

During the training I was exposed to numerous examples, based on Dr Juran’s consulting experience. One of the many: Dr Juran was invited in the late 1960’s to conduct an executive briefing for Rolls Royce Aero Engine Division at the University of Nottingham in England. As a first step Dr Juran took a plant visit, and discovered a tremendous quantum of waste, or what he termed as cost of poor quality. As much as 30 per cent of what Rolls made never got to the customer! It had to be reworked or scrapped.

Dr Juran presented his findings to Sir Denning Pearson, Chairman, who blanched when he heard the staggering sum that his factories were throwing down the drain. Dr Juran explained that by using the existing technology and management, Sir Pearson could cut the amount of waste at Rolls in half within a few years. “There would be some effort to do that, but the return on investment would be much greater than selling aircraft engines,”

Dr Juran had mastered the art of demystifying the subject of Managing for Quality. His courseware on the subject will remain a benchmark.

In the mid 1990s, I had the privilege of being on the Board of Editors, for Dr Juran’s ‘A History of Managing for Quality’, ASQC Quality Press, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, 1995. His systematic search for Indian quality exposed me to his enduring passion: history and anthropology.

In 1996, Dr Juran gave me permission to use his name for a Juran Medal, awarded to a role model statesman for quality in India. His key condition: his name could only be associated with a non-profit organization  The selection process is managed by the Indian Merchants’ Chamber (IMC) and the award is named, IMC Juran Medal. This recognition has become a benchmark for quality leaders in India.

Effective 2008, the IMC will host an annual series of seminars on the teachings of Dr Joseph M Juran. In the words of Dr Juran, ‘Long live the quality revolution’.

CREDITS: Suresh Lulla, Founder & Mentor, Qimpro Consultants Pvt. Ltd.
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