Kaoru Ishikawa

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  • Kaoru Ishikawa

Born: July 13, 1915 

Died: April 16, 1989

Ishikawa is best known for:

Ishikawa Diagram - Also known as Cause-and-effect Diagram or Fishbone Diagram.

Seven Basic Quality Tools - Seven Basic Quality Tools were first emphasized by Ishikawa.

Quality Circles - Ishikawa introduced the concept of Quality Circles. This is an essential part of Total Quality Management (TQM).

Company-wide Quality - Ishikawa believed that quality must be company-wide.

KEY Takeaways

  • Ishikawa is credited with developing the Japanese quality circle movement and introducing the idea of Company-Wide Quality. 
  • Ishikawa's fishbone diagram is very useful for analyzing problems and finding the potential causes of quality issues.
  • The seven basic quality tools were first proposed by Ishikawa.

A Brief Introduction:

Kaoru Ishikawa served as president of the Japanese Society for Quality Control and the Musashi Institute of Technology and co-founded and served as president of the International Academy for Quality. Upon retirement, he was named professor emeritus of the University of Tokyo, Honorary Member of ASQ and an honorary member of the International Academy for Quality.

He wrote 647 articles and 31 books, including two translated into English: "Introduction to Quality Control" and "What Is Total Quality Control? The Japanese Way".

He is well known for coming up with the concept for the fishbone-shaped diagram, known as the Ishikawa or cause and effect diagram, used to improve teams' performance in determining potential root causes of their quality problems.

He developed and delivered the first basic quality control course for the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers (JUSE), Credited with creating the Japanese quality circle movement.

ASQ named a national medal after him, recognizing him as a distinguished pioneer in achieving respect for humanity in the quality disciplines.

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1949 - Developed and delivered the first basic quality control course for the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers (JUSE)

1962 - Credited with creating the Japanese quality circle movement.

1993 - ASQ named a national medal after him, recognizing him as a “distinguished pioneer in the achievement of respect for humanity in the quality disciplines.”

Ishikawa Diagram

The Ishikawa Diagram is also called the Fishbone diagram and the Cause-and-Effect-Analysis. This is the most commonly used to analyze a problem and to find out the potential causes creating the problem.

Ishikawa Diagram is one of the Seven Basic Quality Tools promoted by Ishikawa.

Seven Basic Quality Tools

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  • 3+ hours of videos, slides & quizzes
  • Quality Circles

    Quality Circle is a small group of employees working in the same area or doing the same job. This group regularly meets for one hour every week to identify and collectively resolve the problems in the work area. They use Seven Basic Quality tools to understand the causes and propose solutions.

    Company-wide Quality Control

    Kaoru Ishikawa emphasized that every function in the organization contributes to quality. He emphasized the concept of internal customers and Company-wide Quality. This requires the involvement of all, from the top management to the front-line workers. He suggested the following benefits of the Company-wide Quality approach.

    • Reduced defects
    • Improved product quality
    • The quality improvement becomes the norm rather than the exception
    • Increased reliability
    • Reduced costs
    • Wastes are identified and reduced
    • Rework is identified and reduced
    • Improvement techniques are established, and the product and processes are continually improved
    • Inspection and after-the-fact expenses are reduced
    • Sales and market opportunities are increased
    • Company reputation is increased
    • Interdepartmental barriers are broken down, and communication becomes easier
    • False and inaccurate data is reduced
    • Improvement in human relations
    • Company loyalty is increased

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