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Quality Management and Lean: A Symbiotic Relationship

Summary: Recognition that quality management (QM) and lean are a potent combination is not a new idea. This article examines the relationships, including the mutual dependencies, between the two, as well as the shifts in associated concepts and terminologies. The author states that all the turmoil ("churning") in QM and lean methodologies, concepts, and terminology that has taken place over several decades makes it difficult to arrive at a solid conclusion about QM's role in lean. What does seem apparent to the author is that QM and lean are inherently symbiotic, meaning that neither can be very effective without the other. However, the profusion of methods, concepts, and terms involved seems sure to lead to misguided training and application of QM and lean. The article concludes that academic researchers need to examine the degree to which companies have truly integrated lean and QM in their programs.

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  • Topics: Lean, Quality Management
  • Keywords: Lean, Quality management (QM), Lean manufacturing, Terminology, Research
  • Author: Schonberger, Richard;
  • Journal: Quality Management Journal