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Armand Vallin Feigenbaum
Armand Vallin Feigenbaum (born 1922) is an American quality control expert and
Feigenbaum received a bachelor's degree from Union College, and his master's
degree and Ph.D. from MIT.
He began his career with General Electric (GE) in 1937 as an apprentice toolmaker
and management intern with the turbine, engine and transformer group. He entered
Union College in Schenectady, NY, in 1938 to study engineering while continuing his
work at GE. His coursework focused on mathematics, statistics, engineering and
economics. When he graduated in 1942, he joined GE as a full-time design
engineer. Later in 1943, he was named manager of quality control for the
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Schenectady Works plant in New York at 23 years old. He went on to
graduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and was later
promoted to GE's corporate headquarters in New York City to serve as the executive
champion for quality
According to the Department of Trade and Industry, Feigenbaum served as the
worldwide Director of Manufacturing Operations and Quality Control at General
Electric Company between 1958 and 1968. He later became President of General
Systems Company, Inc.
In 1988, Feigenbaum was appointed to the board of overseers of the United States
Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award Program.
Dr. Feigenbaum was elected to the National Academy of Engineering of the United
States in 1992. He serves as the founding Chairman of the Board of the International
Academy for Quality, the worldwide quality body. He served two terms as President
of the American Society for Quality and one term as Chairman of its Board of
While working at GE, Feigenbaum applied the lessons he learned at MIT to examine
observations about how productivity improvement could be achieved by driving
quality in a dif erent way from how it had been.
Evolution of Total Quality Control
Deming's speech to the Japanese revolutionized their perspective on quality and
gave birth to the idea of using quality as yardstick for success. Deming's idea of
quality soon caught on, and using this lead, a General Electric (GE) Quality Control
Armand V. Feigenbaum proposed the theory of Total Quality Control.
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Dr Armand V Feigenbaum is the originator of Total Quality Control. The first edition
of his book Total Quality Control was completed whilst he was stil a doctoral student
at MIT. By 1950 the book had become quite popular, and the Japanese saw great
potential in using TQC as a tool to achieve high quality.
Feigenbaum's idea of TQC came from his experiences being in charge of quality at
General Electric (GE). During this period, he was in constant contact with world-class
companies such as Hitachi and Toshiba. By studying the quality procedures at these
companies, he realized the need for a "total approach to quality." By this, he meant
that all processes and units related to quality must aim at creating a high quality end
In short, he believed that high quality could be achieved only through organizational
support. He also asserted that quality must be a priority and not an afterthought.
In his book Quality Control: Principles, Practices and Administration, Feigenbaum
strove to move away from the then primary concern with technical methods of quality
control, to quality control as a business method. Thus he emphasized the
administrative viewpoint and considered human relations as a basic issue in quality
control activities. Individual methods, such as statistics or preventive maintenance,
are seen as only segments of a comprehensive quality control programme.
Quality control itself is defined as:
'An ef ective system for co-coordinating the quality maintenance and quality
improvement efforts of the various groups in an organization so as to enable
production at the most economical levels which allow for full customer satisfaction.'
According to Feigenbaum, quality did not mean giving the best product to the
More important as a tool was control, which focuses on the following:
Devising clear and achievable quality standards
Enhancing existing working conditions to reach the desired quality standards.
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Setting new quality standards with an aim to further improve.
Feigenbaum presented quality in a holistic perspective. According to him, quality
must encompass all the phases in the manufacturing of a product. This includes
design, manufacturing, quality checks, sales, after-sales services, and customer
satisfaction when the product is delivered to the customer. Given that these factors
control the perception of quality, he proposed controls to control the above
Incoming material control
Special process studies.
Since these controls affect the quality of the product, they must be used to influence
the quality of the end product.
Misconception in quality control
According to Feigenbaum, many organizations commit the blunder of viewing
statistical tools as a means to control quality. However, he suggested that statistical
tools make up only a small percentage of the quality control program. In short,
statistical tools and techniques are a subset of the main quality control system.
Modern quality control
Feigenbaum's idea of modern quality control was more management-based. He
Increasing operator efficiency by educating them on quality in order to
enhance overall quality.
Aiming to increase quality awareness throughout the organization.
Involving the entire organization in each and every quality initiative
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He believed that quality control must not be viewed as a cost reduction tool
but as an
administrative effort to:
Provide a channel for knowledge integration and communication, thus
enhancing product quality.
Encourage employee participation in organizational quality control initiatives.
Grow constantly, not abruptly
Feigenbaum's modern quality control initiative stressed continuous improvement. He
believed that the success of a quality control program depends on its ability to
encompass more employees as it progresses.
Often organizations leap into new concepts and techniques, and ultimately they
become dejected. Feigenbaum advised climbing one step at a time. Therefore, he
suggested that organizations allow the quality control program to develop slowly.
Later, the emphasis should be on implementing the features of the quality control
program throughout the organization.
Feigenbaum's second book
In 1983, Feigenbaum wrote his second book on Total Quality Control. In this book,
he focused on the buyers' perspective of quality. He also explained why a few
companies were able to implement successful quality control programs and why
others were not. Simply put, the book focused on how to achieve Total Quality
The book argued that organizations must look at quality as a gateway to success.
Essentially, the book argued that "Quality is in its essence a way of managing the
organization. Like finance and marketing, quality has now become an essential
element of modern management"
TQC today - A best Practice
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It has been over forty years since Feigenbaum published his book on TQC. His book
on TQC presents 10 attributes that are stil critical to organizations today.
1. Quality control must be a company-wide process.
2. Quality is defined by the customer.
3. Quality and cost is a sum, not a dif erence.
4. Quality requires both individual and team enthusiasm.
5. Quality is a way of managing.
6. Quality and innovation are interdependent.
7. Quality is an ethic.
8. Enhanced quality demands continuous improvement.
9. Quality is the most cost-effective and least capital-intensive route to productivity.
10. Quality is implemented with a total system connected with customers and
* Dr. Feigenbaum was chosen for the National Institute for Engineering
Management & Systems' Distinguished Service Award, and sponsored by the
National Society of Professional Engineers, for his lifetime contributions to the
field of management.
* Dr. Feigenbaum has been awarded the Edwards Medal of the American
Society for Quality for "outstanding leadership in the field of quality control."
* He was awarded the National Security Industrial Association Award of Merit
for "true leadership in the defense of the nation."
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* He has been named an Honorary Member of the American Society for
Quality, that body's highest honor.
* He was awarded the Founders Medal by Union College for his "distinguished
career in management and engineering."
* He was the first recipient of the Lancaster Award of the American Society for
Quality, for his "leadership of the international development of quality."
* In December 1988 in Paris Dr. Feigenbaum was awarded the Medail e G.
Borel by France, the first American to be so honored, in recognition of his
international leadership of quality as well as his contributions to France.
* In 1993 he was named a Fellow of the World Academy of Productivity
Science, and awarded the Distinguished Leadership Award by the Quality &
Productivity Management Association.
* In 1996, he was the first recipient of the Ishikawa/Harrington Medal by the
Asia-Pacific Quality Organization for "outstanding leadership in management
excel ence in the Asia-Pacific region."
* In October 1997, the Quebec Society for Quality established the Feigenbaum
Medal, which recognizes leadership as a source of quality progress in Quebec
* In 1998 he was designated Honorary Member of FUNDECE (Fundacion
Empresaria Para La Calidad y La Excelencia).
* In 1998, the American Society for Quality established the Feigenbaum Medal
to be granted annually for excel ence in performance.
* In 1992 the Governor of Massachuset s announced establishment of the
Armand V. Feigenbaum Massachuset s Quality Award to annually recognize
the business organizations displaying the strongest competitive leadership.
* In 2001 Dr. Feigenbaum was presented with a Governor's Proclamation on
the Anniversary of his book Total Quality Control by the Governor of
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* In 1994 Singapore's Ngee Ann Polytechnic inaugurated the annual Dr. A.V.
Feigenbaum Gold Medal Award for the outstanding Quality Assurance
Dr. Feigenbaum is a member of many professional societies. He is a Life Member of
both the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Institute of Electrical
and Electronic Engineers. He is Honor Advisor to China's Association for Quality,
and Honorary Member of the Argentine Institute for Quality. He is a member of the
National Society of Professional Engineers, the American Economics Association,
the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, the Academy of Political and Social Sciences,
and the Industrial Relations Research Association. He is a Fellow of both the
American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Society for
Quality. He has for many years been a registered professional engineer and active in
Feigenbaum's idea of Total Quality Control as a management responsibility has
been widely appreciated and implemented. Nevertheless, it is only through entire
workforce dedication that high quality by Total Quality Control can be achieved.
For A rticle on Q uality visit my blog http:/ / iso-qms.blogspot.com/
Link to Previous A rticles
1. Quality Control Tools
2. PDCA Cycle
3. Top Quality Gurus
4. Quality management system - Summary of requirements
5. Difference between Quality Assurance and Quality Control
6. What is ISO 9000?
7. Quality Glossary - A to Z
8. The Quality Control Audit - By Kaoru Ishikwa
9. The eight principles of quality management
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10. Executive Summary of the 14 Toyota Way Principles
11. Toyota Production System
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