The History of ASQ Quality Management Division
The Quality Management Division has been recognized as a Division within ASQ since May, 1988. However, the division has a history which goes back to May 1953 when a group of ASQ members met at the National Conference. Therefore, May 2013 was the 60th anniversary of the initiation of the QMD.
The ASQ Administrative Applications Technical Committee was initiated at a meeting at the 1953 ASQ National Conference. Prime movers behind this formative meeting were the quality staff of the Bell Telephone System. The first committee chairman was Dale Lobsinger, Quality Control Superintendent at United Airlines in Denver.
In 1954, the Technical Committee was approved and given official status. A C Rosander, a statistician working for the Federal Government in Washington, joined the committee in July of that year. Upon joining, he wrote a letter to Lobsinger, the founding committee chairman. This letter is reproduced in his book, “The Early History of the Administrative Applications Division (AAD)”. In this letter, he stated that he thought “administrative” would be misunderstood and that there was a need to explain what it meant. He was right, the name caused much confusion over the years.
For the 1954-55 program year, there were 17 people on the committee, 5 of who worked in service oriented businesses. They were: Lobsinger, Jones, Olmstead, Noble and Rosander. The other 12 from manufacturing businesses were: Noble, Romig, Bayer, Bicking, Butterbaugh, Buhl, Biggs, Hilyard, Olmstead, Pabst, Robert and Shainin. In the beginning, this committee, soon to become the AAD, was more focused on applying quality control to administrative aspects of manufacturing operations than applying quality control to service companies. This created conflict and confusion.
Rosander, a prolific writer, provided great technical leadership to the committee from the outset. In a letter dated December 13, 1954, he stated, “We should try to clarify the work ‘administrative’. It might include planning, programming, controlling, policy making. It could include [such functions as] accounting, auditing, internal control, financial, purchasing, budgeting, appraising, sales, market research, sample data as evidence, personnel, rating, training, legal, office management, records management, data processing, and procedural analysis.” He stressed the need for introducing probability and statistics in the above areas including “the use of sample surveys, sample audits, statistical quality control charts, sample tabulations, sample inspection, design of experiments, correlation control and analysis of variance.”
In the conclusion of his December 1954 letter, Rosander said, “We should stress improved quality in data, performance and decisions for administrators, planners, procedural analysts, clerks, etc., while other division in ASQ are doing the same relative to factor machine workers, engineers, etc.”
Rosander’s interest in the AAD did not extend to the top leadership of the division and he never held the position of chair. He probably was much more influential than most chairmen and his involvement was permanent.
Name Change: Beginning around 1975, efforts were made to change the name of the AAD to better reflect its true mission. H James Harrington, who later became the president of ASQ and of the International Academy for Quality, was one of the strongest early proponents of the name change. Changing the name was a challenge due to conflicting forces within ASQ. When the name was changed to the Quality Management Division (QMD) in 1988, Skip Johnson had the honor of being the first chair to manage this transition. In 2013, ASQ formally re-designated the divisions as Technical Communities. From a branding perspective the QMD would remain with its same name. It continues to be recognized as the largest Quality-based Technical Community in the world.
Past Chairs of the AAD and QMD
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