Over the past 20 years, I have seen many companies start projects to improve existing processes. In all cases, some sort of formal or informal process was already in place. Companies and their leaders embarked upon process improvement efforts with the hope of driving out process waste and increasing overall process efficiency.
Improving process efficiency and driving out waste generally fell under the heading of improving process quality. Early on, quality improvement focused on inspections, but later the focus shifted to quality management as found in the Total Quality Management (TQM) movement that peaked in the 1980s and early 1990s. W. Edwards Deming, Joseph Juran, Kaoru Ishikawa, Genichi Taguchi, Shigeo Shingo, Phil Crosby and others contributed to the TQM body of knowledge that led TQM to becoming a huge fad.
When I started my career in the 1980s, some companies were implementing quality improvement projects based on the concepts put … Read More