Japanese industrial firms had learnt about or even adopted new applications in scientific management in the form of statistical quality control. Traditionally, American management put 85 per cent of the responsibility of quality control on line managers and engineering staff and only fifteen percent on plant workers.
However, two prominent American experts in applied statistics, W. Edwards Deming and J. M. Juran lectured extensively in Japan and recommended a reversal of this 85-15 per cent formula. According to them, quality control should be built into the structure of job tasks and worker-management relations. This has been adopted by Japanese firms.
The Japanese strategy requires all hierarchical levels to be exposed to statistical quality control techniques. Continuous training and discussion is the norm, based on seminars, lectures and study groups.
The Japanese strategy emphasizes efforts aimed at preventing defects from occurring in the first place. This preventive approach – as opposed to curative approach – can cost less than the traditional approach.
Today, QC circles in Japan are active not only in the management of quality control and defects but also in cost savings, improvement of safety, pollution control, energy savings and education of employees.