Armand V. Feigenbaum

Armand V. Feigenbaum

Armand Vallin Feigenbaum (born 1922) is an American quality control expert and businessman. He devised the concept of Total Quality Control, later known as Total Quality Management (TQM).
Feigenbaum received a bachelor's degree from Union College, and his master's degree and Ph.D. from MIT. He was Director of Manufacturing Operations at General Electric (1958-1968), and is now President and CEO of General Systems Company of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, an engineering firm that designs and installs operational systems. Feigenbaum wrote several books and served as President of the American Society for Quality (1961-1963).

His contributions to the quality body of knowledge include:
  • "Total quality control is 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."
  • The concept of a "hidden" plant: the idea that so much extra work is performed in correcting mistakes that there is effectively a hidden plant within any factory.
  • Accountability for quality: Because quality is everybody's job, it may become nobody's job: the idea that quality must be actively managed and have visibility at the highest levels of management.

Awards and Honours

  • First recipient of ASQ's Lancaster Award
  • ASQ 1965 Edwards Medal in recognition of "his origination and implementation of basic foundations for modern quality control"
  • National Security Industrial Association Award of Merit
  • Member of the Advisory Group of the U.S. Army
  • Chairman of a system-wide evaluation of quality assurance activities of the Army Materiel Command
  • Consultant with the Industrial College of the Armed Forces
  • Union College Founders Medal
  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Life member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
  • Life member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineer

Armand Feigenbaum 

Armand Feigenbaum is the originator of Total Quality Control. He sees quality control as a business method rather than technically, and believes that quality has become the single most important force leading to organisational success and growth.
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 still a doctoral student at MIT.
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 emphasised 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 effective system for co-ordinating the quality maintenance and quality improvement efforts of the various groups in an organisation so as to enable production at the most economical levels which allow for full customer satisfaction.'
Armand Feigenbaum stresses that quality does not mean best but best for the customer use and selling price. The word control in quality control represents a management tool with 4 steps:
  • Setting quality standards
  • Appraising conformance to these standards
  • Acting when standards are exceeded
  • Planning for improvements in the standards.
Quality control is seen as entering into all phases of the industrial production process, from customer specification and sale through design, engineering and assembly, and ending with shipment of product to a customer who is happy with it. Effective control over the factors affecting product quality is regarded as requiring controls at all important stages of the production process. These controls or jobs of quality control can be classified as:
  • New-design control
  • Incoming material control
  • Product control
  • Special process studies.
Quality is seen as having become the single most important force leading to organisational success and company growth in national and international markets. Further, it is argued that:
Quality is in its essence a way of managing the organisation and that, like finance and marketing, quality has now become an essential element of modern management.
Thus a Total Quality System is defined as:
The agreed company-wide and plantwide operating work structure, documented in effective, integrated technical and managerial procedures, for guiding the co-ordinated actions of the people, the machines and the information of the company and plant in the best and most practical ways to assure customer quality satisfaction and economical costs of quality.
Operating quality costs are divided into:
  • Prevention costs including quality planning.
  • Appraisal costs including inspection.
  • Internal failure costs including scrap and rework.
  • External failure costs including warranty costs, complaints etc.
Reductions in operating quality costs result from setting up a total quality system for two reasons:
  • Lack of existing effective customer-orientated customer standards may mean current quality of products is not optimal given use
  • Expenditure on prevention costs can lead to a severalfold reduction in internal and external failure costs.
The new 40th Anniversary edition of Dr A V Feigenbaum's book, Total Quality Control, now further defines TQC for the 1990s in the form of ten crucial benchmarks for total quality success. These are that:
  • 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.
These are the ten benchmarks for total quality in the 1990s. They make quality a way of totally focusing the company on the customer - whether it be the end user or the man or woman at the next work station or next desk. Most importantly, they provide the company with foundation points for successful implementation of its international quality leadership.