Total Quality Control

A process oriented approach to quality control management

Click here for the Japanese version of TQC.

"Total Quality Control is a thought revolution in management", Kaoru Ishikawa.

Dr. Ishikawa`s definition of quality control:
"To practice quality control is to develop, design, produce and service a quality product which is most economical, most useful and always satisfactory to the consumer. To meet this goal, everyone in the company must participate in and promote quality control, including top executives, all divisions, within the company and all employees."

For full details on Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa, click here.

To engage in quality control means to:

1. Make total quality control the foundation of your business process.
2. Focus full scale efforts on the control of cost, price and profit.
3. Control quantity - amount of production and stock

Total Quality Control is a continual process

Quality standards must be continually reviewed, revised and improved.

Dr. Deming`s research forms the cornerstone of Japan`s adoption of Total Quality Control post World War Two. Dr. Deming introduced the cycle of design, production, sales and market research which is to be followed by another cycle that begins with redesign based on the experience obtained from the previous cycle. In this way, quality improves continuously.

"What this approach suggests", states Dr. Ishikawa, is that the manufacturer must always be keenly attentive to consumer requirements, and the opinions of consumers must be anticipated as the manufacturer establishes his own standards. Unless this is done, QC cannot achieve its goals, nor can it assure quality to consumers."

For details on the Continuous Improvement Process, click here.

For details on Lean 5s, an essential tool for quality management, click here.

The Total Quality Control Process


1. Plan
Determine goals and targets
Determine Standardized work procedures

2. Do
Education and Training - work standards and technical standards must be taught. Workers must be mentored and encouraged to do their best.

According to Mr. Yamauuchi, former Managing Director of Toyota Motor Corporation, "in order to practice the standards perfectly, workers must know the true meaning and value of each standard – not only in theory. They must have the skill and knowledge to put it into practice." He also states that, " The role of the supervisor is a very important one. Education and training to supervisors is essential. We create standards based on the supervisor`s skill and knowledge; with the benefits for the company in mind."
Implement Work

Mr. Yamauuchi asserts that "Motivation is Key! Unless we have vitalized front line workers, we cannot be successful. They are the ones who actually produce the product and the profit. Our job in management, is to make them energized. Sometimes, implementation of work standards is not enough. The operators may carry out the work sequence and standards but feel some uneasiness – this is the time for them to suggest kaizen. The key: create a working environment where workers can suggest improvements. Work standards must be followed, but once workers realize that a particular standard is not enough, it is the time for kaizen. When there is a need for Kaizen, supervisors must be able to improve the work sequence or fix the abnormality."

Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa says "I repeat once more. Standards and regulations are always inadequate. Even if they are stricktly followed, defects and flaws will appear. It is experienc eand skill that make up for inadequacies in standards and regulations."

For the full interview with Mr. Yamauuchi on motivation in the workplace & Kaizen, click here.

3. Check
InspectionIt is the supervisor`s duty to check and confirm the standards have been put into practice exactly. When problems occur, check every possible angle, focus on each process.

4. Action
Take appropriate action.

This the blueprint of Total Quality Control.

TQC vs. TQM - what`s the difference?


  • Emphasis is placed on the process and continuous process improvement.
  • Total participation is required. Employees are encouraged to generate ideas and implement them.
  • It is flexible - processes and methods can be easily changed.
  • The target is not absolute - good for a changing market.
  • Downside: Sometimes the end result is very different from the original target - employees tend to lose sight of the goal because they are too focused on the process.


  • Emphasis is placed on the target and achieving the target as soon as possible.
  • The system is simple and straight-forward.
  • Information delivery is accurate.
  • The process is considered after the goal has been established.

Downside:Employees stop actively thinking of and implementing process improvement - they don`t want to risk making a mistake or creating delays.

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Recommended Reading:

Total Quality Control for Management by Masao Nemoto

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