ASQ has been at the forefront of the quality movement for 75 years. Headquartered in Milwaukee, ASQ traces its beginnings to the end of World War II, as quality experts and manufacturers sought ways to sustain the many quality-improvement techniques used during wartime. ASQ has played a crucial role in upholding these standards from the past while, at the same time, championing continued innovation in the field of quality.
By the end of the 1970s, the principles of quality had greatly influenced manufacturing and other industrial processes, by focusing attention on how products and services could define and meet technical specifications. Businesses typically established a quality-control department to ensure specifications were met.
In the 1980s, ASQ members began to see how quality could be applied beyond the world of manufacturing. Quality, they realized, could make a difference in any organization and touch every person in it. Quality began to blossom into a much broader discipline aimed at leading, inspiring, and managing a broad range of businesses and activities, always with a focus on excellence.
Today, ASQ has become a global organization, with members in more than 130 countries. ASQ now has service centers in Mexico, China, and India, and has established strategic alliances with numerous organizations. ASQ empowers people, communities, and organizations across the world to achieve excellence through quality.
1946The American Society for Quality Control is formed on February 16 by 253 members of 17 quality-related societies. George Edwards, director of quality assurance at Bell Telephone Labs, is elected president. Industrial Quality Control becomes ASQ's first flagship publication. The first Section outside the U.S., the Toronto Section, received its ASQ charter on December 15, 1946.
1948ASQC's Code of Ethics establishes responsibilities and standards by which members should conduct their activities and business.
First Shewhart Medal is awarded to Leslie Simon, director of the Ballistics Research Laboratory in Maryland.
1956Headquarters operations are consolidated in Milwaukee; a full-time administrative secretary is employed to handle expanding operations. The International Chapter is formed to provide services to members abroad.
1959ASQC and the American Statistical Association jointly create Technometrics, a journal covering the physical, chemical, and engineering sciences.
1960The Education and Training Institute Board is formed with a national program focusing on management seminars and quality control engineering courses.
1968Industrial Quality Control is replaced by two new publications, Quality Progress magazine and The Journal of Quality Technology. The first certification examinations are held for quality engineers.
1984October is designated National Quality Month by Congress to emphasize to business leaders that quality is essential to U.S. preeminence in products and services.
1987The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award is established, with ASQC as a co-administrator.
1990The Registrar Accreditation Board is founded as an independent organization to accredit third-party ISO 9000 registrars.
1993The Public Sector Network Technical Committee (now the Government Division) established. Quality Management Journal debuts.
1995The Certified Quality Manager program is developed.
1997ASQC drops "Control" from its name, becomes ASQ and formally adopts a new mission to promote performance excellence in a broad range of organizations and activities worldwide.
1998ASQ is named administrator of the QuEST Forum, which develops the TL 9000 telecommunications standards. The journal Software Quality Professional debuts. ASQ rolls out Six Sigma black belt training for individuals and organizations. The American Customer Satisfaction Index expands to include 32 high-impact federal agencies.
2001The Certified Quality Improvement Associate (CQIA) program is introduced. ASQ relocates to the ASQ Center, its current world headquarters, in the landmark Gimbel’s building in downtown Milwaukee. ASQ's Six Sigma Forum is launched. Six Sigma Forum Magazine debuts. ASQ membership extends to 122 countries. International Six Sigma program is launched in Europe. Gazeta Global, an international newsletter, is founded. The Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers (JUSE), Excellence Ireland, the Israel Society for Quality (ISQ), and Brazil’s Regional Program of Quality and Productivity, Programa Gaúcho da Qualidade e Produtividade (PGQP), become WorldPartners.
2004ASQ China is launched. ASQ leads the charge that culminates with President Bush signing into law the bill to create a nonprofit category of the Baldrige Award. ASQ’s board of directors voted to change the name of Region 4 to ASQ Canada. ASQ’s International Six Sigma Program expands into Latin America with Spanish-language Six Sigma courses offered through local training partners. ASQ Costa Rica becomes the first International Member Unit (equivalent to a Section) outside of North America.
2006ASQ launches an initiative to promote the Economic Case for Quality. ASQ is named secretariat for the US TAG to the ISO Committee on Social Responsibility. ASQ successfully campaigns to have the Baldrige Award expanded to cover the nonprofit sector. ASQ forms 11 new networks and communities of practice to expand networking opportunities for individuals with a wide range of interests. ASQ hosts expert panel discussion on quality and healthcare for members of Congress.
2008Quality Progress magazine introduces a new design and launches its own separate and fully featured Web site.
World Quality Month was created to reignite attention once generated in the 1980s by National Quality Month in the U.S. and to create a united, global forum for the people and organizations that have celebrated World Quality Days in November to come together and raise their voices for quality.
ASQ releases the Global State of Quality: Discoveries Report. This groundbreaking initiative identifies quality successes and opportunities from around the world. This unprecedented worldwide research took nearly a year and a half to complete, with more than 2,000 survey responses from organizations in more than 22 countries.
ASQ celebrates 70 years of serving members and the global quality community!
In partnership with Boston Consulting Group and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Qualität (DGQ), ASQ released study on Quality 4.0. This research focused on the opportunities and challenges arising from Quality 4.0—the application of Industry 4.0’s advanced digital technologies to enhance traditional best practices in quality management.
ASQ Technical Community chairs and members contributed to "Quality's Impact on the global Pandemic Response" an introduction on the role quality played in the COVID-19 vaccination process. This piece highlights how quality principles are foundational for industries integral to each stage of the COVID-19 response (vaccine development and approval, distribution, and administration).
ASQ celebrates 75 years of serving the global quality community.