Walter Shewhart - The Grandfather of Total Quality Management.
The original notions of Total Quality Management and continuous improvement trace back to a former Bell Telephone employee named Walter Shewhart. One of W. Edwards Deming's teachers, he preached the importance of adapting management processes to create profitable situations for both businesses and consumers, promoting the utilization of his own creation -- the SPC control chart.
Dr. Shewhart believed that lack of information greatly hampered the efforts of control and management processes in a production environment. In order to aid a manager in making scientific, efficient, economical decisions, he developed Statistical Process Control methods. Many of the modern ideas regarding quality owe their inspirtation to Dr. Shewhart.
He also developed the Shewhart Cycle Learning and Improvement cycle, combining both creative management thinking with statistical analysis. This cycle contains four continuous steps: Plan, Do, Study and Act. These steps (commonly refered to as the PDSA cycle), Shewhart believed, ultimately lead to total quality improvement. The cycle draws its structure from the notion that constant evaluation of management practices -- as well as the willingness of management to adopt and disregard unsupported ideas --are keys to the evolution of a successful enterprise.
To find out more about some of the management tools that have been developed from Shewhart and other quality pioneers, click on the SkyMark Management Tools page.