Armand Feigenbaum, who with his brother, Donald, developed the influential concepts of Total Quality Control and established General Systems Co., has died at 92.

In 1946 he developed the concept of “Total Quality Control” while he was working at General Electric (GE). Feigenbaum wrote his first book Total Quality Control: Principles, Practice, and Administration in 1951 while he was pursuing his PhD degree at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He defined Total Quality Control as “an effective system for integrating the quality development, quality maintenance, and quality improvement efforts of the various groups in an organization so as to enable production and service at the most economical levels which allow full customer satisfaction”. Feigenbaum emphasised the importance of 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.

The 40th Anniversary edition of Dr A V Feigenbaum’s book, Total Quality Control, defined TQC in the form of ten crucial benchmarks for total quality success:

  • Quality is a company-wide process.
  • Quality is what the customer says it is.
  • Quality and cost are a sum, not a difference.
  • Quality requires both individual and team zealotry.
  • Quality is a way of managing.
  • Quality and innovation are mutually dependent.
  • Quality is an ethic.
  • Quality requires continuous improvement.
  • Quality is the most cost-effective, least capital-intensive route to productivity.
  • Quality is implemented with a total system connected with customers and suppliers.

Feigenbaum is also known for the concept of the “Hidden Plant”. It points to the extra resources that are required to rework and repair the products coming from the production process. He explained how 15% to 40% of plant capacity was typically wasted.
The legacy of Armand Feigenbaum will be remembered for years to come.

Read an interview with Feigenbaum

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