Early SQC: A Historical Supplement


Juran, J.M.   (1997, J.M. Juran)   Juran Institute, Inc.; Wilton, CT

Quality Progress    Vol. 30    No. 9
QICID: 13270    September 1997    pp. 73-81

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Article Abstract

The Hawthorne Works of AT&T's Western Electric Company was the site of early applications of statistics to inspection problems. Probability theory at AT&T can be traced to 1903, and its first application to inspection occurred in 1916. By 1922, A. P. Lancaster became an informal consultant to Hawthorne inspection supervisors in the scientific approach to sampling. J. M. Juran may be the last survivor of these early days of what came to be known as statistical quality control. Juran joined Hawthorne in 1924 and was employed by its Inspection Branch. In 1925, Hawthorne and Bell Labs proposed a three-part quality initiative: apply probability theory to sampling inspection; use control charts to analyze inspection data; and improve the rating of product quality. The sampling initiative was based on the concept of lot. This led to debates about: setting limits on lot tolerance percent defective; the role of process stability; and single versus double sampling. The sampling initiative also produced sampling tables and Juran's discovery of the average outgoing quality limit. The control chart initiative developed out of W. A. Shewhart's work at Bell Labs. As innovative as the charts were, it took decades for them to be widely accepted at Hawthorne. Improving the rating of product quality at Hawthorne led to refinement of the check inspection process, including introduction of a four-level classification of defects. For Juran, the early days at Hawthorne involved him in training, probability, statistics, and management, all of which would affect the rest of his career.


Control charts,History,Inspection,Statistical quality control (SQC),Probability,Product quality,Sampling,Juran, Joseph M.

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