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Mike Richman

Quality Insider

Juran’s Quality Essentials for Leaders

Making the link between a great quality culture and eye-popping financial performance

Published: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 - 16:04

The wisdom of Joseph M. Juran continues to inform and enlighten the quality industry here in the United States and around the world. Juran, who passed away at the age of 103 in 2008, stands as one of the true giants in the modern world of quality and performance excellence.

Joseph DeFeo worked closely with Juran during the latter part of the great man’s life, and he now holds the position of CEO and president of Juran Global. DeFeo’s latest book, Juran’s Quality Essentials for Leaders (McGraw-Hill Professional, 2014) is a practical guide that helps top managers understand the positive effects that improved quality can have on their organizations. In particular, the book explains the benefits of strategic planning and culture change, and addresses important tactical considerations such as goal-setting and tracking, innovation, and benchmarking.

A differentiator in this book is that it considers, in a quite direct way, how management activities using basic quality principles—what DeFeo, as Juran before him, refers to as “The Universals”—connect with the financial performance of companies. Top managers, after all, are generally concerned with the bottom-line performance of the organizations under their watch: stock price, dividends, gross profits, and net earnings, among others. These data points are all likely to be more on the mind of a C-level executive than defects per million opportunities for a particular product or service that the company produces.

Here, however, DeFeo makes clear the link between a great culture of quality and eye-popping financial performance. Companies that make quality a priority benefit in two key ways. First, they capture a greater share of the market through better products and services. Second, they cut waste and inefficiency to wring more profit out of each and every transaction. The combination is what supercharges performance for best-in-class organizations that have that culture of quality.

The hallmark of DeFeo’s thinking (and of Juran as well) is pragmatism. This is not a one-size-fits-all system that must be followed to the “T.” This book contains no deep statistical analysis. It is written for leaders of organizations that have customers. These customers are the ones who determine the ultimate success of the organization, and DeFeo helps managers better understand how they can adapt their own processes to improve and serve those customers better. That, more than anything else, will help managers do their jobs better and create companies that are designed to compete—and win—at the highest levels of global competition.


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Mike Richman