How To Reduce Defects in Business by 20% Using the Juran Trilogy

juran trilogy

Joseph Juran, the Architect of Quality, paved the way for the active pursuit of quality in Business.

The Juran Trilogy redefined quality management; reducing chronic defects and the costs associated below a 20% industry expectation.

The Juran Trilogy has been shown to give benefits across multiple parameters, increasing productivity, reducing cycle-times, improving human safety, and reducing product failure rates – with a 80% reduction in some cases.

For us as Process Street, the Juran Trilogy is one of our favorite tools for improving business operations. It’s a straightforward methodology that brings results.

Learn how to apply the Juran Trilogy for your business, and improve the quality of operations. Click on the relevant subheader below to jump to your section of choice, alternatively scroll down to read all we have to say:

Let’s get started!

What is the Juran Trilogy?

Fitness for intended use.” – Joseph M. Juran

Joseph Juran was a management theorist who worked in Japan in the 1950s. Juran redefined our depiction of quality in business, thinking from the end user’s perspective. Juran thought of quality as creating products/services fit for their intended use.

An essential requirement of these products is that they meet the needs of those members of society who will actually use them. This concept of fitness for use is universal. It applies to all goods and services, without exception. The popular term for fitness for use is Quality, and our basic definition becomes: Quality means fitness for use.” – Joseph M. Juran

Juran single-handedly created a solid foundation for modern process and quality improvement methods. The Juran Trilogy addresses planning, control, and improvement of quality in products, upending traditional early 20th-century quality approaches.

How the juran trilogy redefined quality management

The Factory System, a product of the industrial revolution, was a widely used quality system throughout the 19th century. Quality was ensured via regular inspections and audits which acted to remove, rework, or scrap defective outputs.

Late in the 19th century, the United States broke further from European tradition and adopted a new management approach, developed by Frederick E. Taylor. Taylor’s goal was to increase productivity without increasing the number of skilled employees. He achieved this by assigning factory planning to specialized engineers and using supervisors and managers to regularly conduct quality inspections and audits.

Taylor’s new approach raised the productivity game but harmed quality.

During and after WW2 there was a big drive to improve output quality, beginning in the 20th-century with the inclusion of processes in quality practices.

As you know, we 💗 love 💗 processes at Process Street and pay thanks to Walter Shewhart who was the first to truly hone in on the concept during the mid-1920s. Shewhart ensured quality was relevant not only for the finished product but also to the processes that created it.

After the war, Japan took the concept of processes for quality and raised the quality game via developing concepts such as the Hoshin Kanri methodology and Poke-Yoke. America had some catching up to do.

juran trilogy

Field experts started to visit Japan to find out how they were taking a quality lead on the world’s stage. This is where the likes of W. Edwards Deming, and Joseph M. Juran – two quality experts – come into our timeline.

  • Deming: Edward Deming deciphered the Deming Cycle, a cycle born from Deming’s frustration with American managers. Most quality programs were terminated once the war and government contracts came to an end, which Deming saw as a quality failure. The Deming Cycle counteracts such termination via adopting the mindset of continuous improvement. For more information on the Deming Cycle, read: How to Use The Deming Cycle for Continuous Quality Improvement.
  • Juran: Joseph Juran predicted the quality of Japanese goods would overtake U.S. quality of goods by the mid-1970s, due to Japan’s revolutionary quality improvement rate. Juran constructed the Juran Trilogy in reaction.

Both Deming and Juran took the concept of business processes to alter the status-quo of quality management. That is, both the Juran Trilogy and the Deming Cycle play heed to documented business processes giving full transparency over operations.

For this article, we’ll continue our story on quality management, solely focussing on Juran’s developments.

Using the Juran Trilogy for quality control

The Juran Trilogy comprises of three core processes:

  • Quality Planning
  • Quality Control
  • Quality Improvement

These processes parallel those used in financial management e.g. planning, control, and improvement – which are universal. Juran was aiming for a similar conceptual approach for quality management when developing the Juran Trilogy.

I’ve summarized the various aspects of quality planning, control, and improvement in the table below, as adapted from the Juran Quality Handbook:

Quality Planning

Quality Control

Quality Improvement

Establish quality goals Evaluate actual performance Prove the need
Identify who the customers are Compare actual performance with quality goals Establish the infrastructure
Determine the needs of the customers’ Act on the difference Identify the improvement projects
Develop product features that respond to customers’ needs Establish project teams
Develop processes that can produce the product features Provide the team with resources, training and motivation to diagnose the causes and stimulate the remedies
Establish process controls and transfer the plan to the operating forces Establish controls to hold the gains

The interrelationship between these processes can be visualized via the Juran Trilogy chart below.

juran trilogy

The horizontal (x-axis) represents time, and the vertical (y-axis) represents quality.

The Juran Trilogy chart explained

The initial activity is quality planning, otherwise termed as quality by design. This stage occurs during the creation of something new, e.g. a new product, service, or process.

As the operations proceed, it becomes apparent that product delivery is not 100% defect-free. This is due to the hidden failures or periodic failures (variation) that require rework.

Based on the Juran Trilogy chart, 20% of work must be redone due to failures. This waste is considered chronic and will continue unless removed using root cause analysis. This is termed as the Cost of Poor Quality.

The Cost of Poor Quality is a symptom of unforeseen obstacles in development, and it’s here that we witness the true revolutionary power of the Juran Trilogy.

You see, under the more traditional quality management approaches, operating forces were unable to remove these chronic defects or waste. Usually, quality is controlled – via an inspection or audit – to maintain products/service standards at a given level. Yet these standards were limited without removing chronic quality failures and the costs associated.

In the chart, you’ll also notice a spike/raise in the cost of poor quality, increasing this cost to 40%. This spike is the result of an unplanned event such as a power failure, process breakdown, or human error.

Process Street can remove human error and prevent process breakdowns using business process documentation. Process Street, therefore, supplements the Juran Trilogy in terms of bringing quality improvements. Find out how by reading:

Following such spikes, traditional control processes and operating forces converge on the scene and take action to restore the status quo, termed as corrective action, troubleshooting or firefighting.

On implementing the third process, Quality Improvement, chronic waste is driven down to a level far below the original level. The Juran Trilogy uses defect spikes as an opportunity for improvement and steps are taken to make that improvement.

Implementing the Juran Trilogy using Process Street

The Juran Trilogy is a quality control method that revolves around business processes. For effective implementation of this method, we recommend you set yourself up with a business process management solution like Process Street.

With Process Street you can document any business operation to give transparency, prevent process breakdowns, and reduce human error.

To find out how to document your business processes, read:

How to Write Process Documentation That Helps Your Business Scale (in 5 Steps)

Having the ability to check back and review records and comments to understand where we did great and where we can improve is really useful.” – Gregory C, G2 Reviews

Process Street gives you an extra layer of quality control, and when used in combination with the Juran Trilogy, acts as your quality superpower.

Share your systems and repeat tasks without error.” – Tim L, Capterra Reviews

Create your free Process Street account to get started.

Once you’ve set yourself up with a Process Street account, you can use Process Street to effectively implement the 3 different Juran Trilogy processes, as I’ll explain.

Quality Planning (Quality by Design)

The design process enables innovation to happen by designing products/services together with the relevant processes. These processes act as a control measure for the production of the final output.

The Juran Quality by Design model is a structured method used to create innovative design features that respond to the customer’s needs.

In essence, the Quality Planning process is all about deciphering the customer’s needs to designing products/services to meet those needs.

Use Process Street’s premade templates during the quality planning phase so you can design your product/service based on what your high-value prospects need.

Inbound Sales Lead Discovery Checklist

First off, determine which leads to focus your energy on using our Inbound Sales Lead Discovery Checklist. Sift through the noise and lock onto the highest value leads. It’s the needs of these leads that you should focus on to determine your product/service design.

Click here to access our Inbound Sales Lead Discovery Checklist!

Key checklist feature: Use our Variables and Integration links to insert values from form fields into other parts of your checklist. This will summarize key prospect information, ensuring nothing is missed for you to make informed decisions during product/service development.

BANT Sales Qualification Call Process

Once you’ve identified your target prospects, use our BANT Sales Qualification Call Process to determine whether your service is a good fit for their goals. This means determining the prospect’s use case, budget, need, and timeframe. You can then design your new product/service based on this evaluation.

Click here to access our BANT Sales Qualification Call Process!

Key checklist feature: Our Dropdown Form Field is used to present multiple checklist cases. The user can select a case most relevant to their unique situation, tailoring the checklist to fit the user’s goals for each qualification process.

Quality Control (process control and regulation)

Quality Control processes come into effect during the middle and final stages of the Juran process.

  • Middle: To control quality during the original quality zone – when the cost of poor quality is ~20%.
  • End: To control quality within the new zone of quality control – when the cost of poor quality is reduced to ~5%.

As we know, the term control of quality emerged during the 20th century and was ensured via inspection audits. Little has changed since and the goal of quality control is to comply with international standards or regulatory authorities such as ISO 9000. The Juran Trilogy has not altered the means of quality control but merely frames it in a larger context for quality management.

ISO 90001 Internal Audit Checklist for Quality Management Systems

Comply with international quality standards using our ISO 9001 International Audit Checklist for Quality Systems. Run this checklist to perform an internal audit on a quality management system (QMS) against the ISO 9001:2015 requirements.

Click here to access our ISO 9001 Internal Audit Checklist for Quality Managment Systems!

Key checklist feature: Use our Approvals feature to obtain the required audit review and approval by upper management. With this feature, approval requests are streamlined, giving quick and efficient responses.

ISO 9004:2018 Self-Audit Checklist

Our ISO 9004:2018 Self-Audit Checklist has been designed to perform a self-audit following ISO 9004:2018 standards.

Run this checklist to perform an internal audit using guidelines set out in the ISO 9004:2018 standards for achieving sustained success, consistent with principles of quality management outlined in ISO 9001:2015.

Click here to access ISO 9004:2018 Self-Audit Checklist!

Key checklist feature: Use our File Upload form field to upload action item recommendations following the audit. This will store all important documentation in one place, meaning the checklists act as an online document management system.

ISO-9000 Structure Template

Run our ISO-9000 Structure Template to build standard operating procedures in line with ISO-9001:2015 specifications for a QMS mini-manual.

Click here to access our ISO-9000 Structure Template!

Key checklist feature: Use our Task Permissions feature to assign the relevant personnel to specific tasks. This enhances teamwork, synchronizing collaboration between team members, while also controlling what members can see which tasks.

Quality Improvement (lean Six Sigma)

The idea of continuous improvement should be an act every organization carries out to make incremental advancement.

However, a distinction between daily improvements and breakthrough improvements must be made.

Breakthrough improvements require special methods and leadership support to attain significant changes and results.

Making breakthrough improvements requires leaders to stand back to discover what may be preventing the current level of performance from meeting the needs of its customers. Focusing on breakthrough improvements means leaders can increase the rate of progress.

Readers, this is a key value proposition of the Juran Trilogy. By attaining a few vital breakthroughs year after year, an organization can outperform competitors and meet stakeholder needs.

It is here that the Juran Principle molds with other quality improvement methodologies, namely The Pareto Principle and Six Sigma improvement.

  • The Pareto Principle: Also known as the 80/20 rule, The Law of the Vital Few and The Principles of Factory Sparsity. This principle illustrates that 80% of effects arise from 20% of causes. Or in more layman terms, 20% of your actions will account for 80% of your results. Juran noted this principle as a universal phenomenon, coining terms such as vital few and useful many or trivial many. These terms refer to those few contributions that accounted for the bulk of quality effect.
  • Six Sigma: The lean Six Sigma methodology relies on a collaborative team effort to improve performance by systematically removing waste and reducing variation. The lean Six Sigma methodology gives an organized creation of beneficial change through 10-fold levels of improvement over current levels of process performance. This is why documenting your business processes is important for the application of the Juran Trilogy. E.g. How do you know whether you improved on your current process performance level?

Breakthrough improvements result in significant cost reductions, enhancement of customer satisfaction, and superior results satisfying stakeholders. These are important benefits to consider when thinking about why you should implement the Juran Trilogy and will be discussed in further detail later in this article, keep reading.

Why not check out our top content you can use to make business process improvements:

Pareto Chart Process Checklist

A Pareto chart, in its simplest form, is a bar chart that arranges the bars from largest to smallest, from left to right. The bigger bars on the left are more important than the smaller bars on the right.

Use our Pareto Chart Process Checklist to identify the most significant defects within a quality issue, and prioritize actions accordingly.

Click here to access our Pareto Chart Process Checklist!

Key checklist feature: Using the Image Widget this template provides a visual guide on how to create an effective Pareto Chart.

DMAIC Improvement Project Tollgate Checklist

DMAIC is a five-step method for improving existing problems with unknown causes. It’s part of the Six Sigma system of continuous improvement.

Use our DMAIC Improvement Project Tollgate Checklist to ensure your improvement projects achieve measurable change and positive results for your business.

Click here to access our DMAIC Improvement Project Tollgate Checklist!

Key checklist feature: The File Attachment feature is used to provide key resources aiding the completion of DMAIC by the user.

Juran Trilogy examples: Quality improvement in the real world

The Juran Trilogy is a widely practiced business framework, but is also applicable to areas outside of business, as you shall find out.

Next, we’ll explore examples of real-world applications of the Juran Trilogy.

Case study #1: Implementation of the Juran Trilogy in SMEs in Indonesia

This study looked at 12 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in 4 cities in West Java Province, Indonesia.

Qualitative research methods were used via conducting in-depth interviews to decipher how the Juran Trilogy could be applied as a quality management framework.

The SMEs were found to have significant weaknesses in their output quality, and the Juran Trilogy was identified as a means to alleviate this.

However, problems arose during the Quality Control phase of the Trilogy, partly due to a lack of understanding regarding the technology used to assist this phase. As such, the study calls on governmental action to provide mastery of technology and improve the skills of SME owners. The aim is to better equipped SME owners and employees for them to deliver the relevant quality planning, control, and improvement processes.

At Process Street we also acknowledge the importance of process mastery, and in this case, we’re talking mastery of the planning, control, and improvement processes for quality management. This is why it’s important to:

  1. Document business processes, giving transparency and driving teamwide operational understanding.
  2. Follow the process. In this case, we’re talking about quality planning, control, and improvement-related processes. In this article, we have provided you with free access to our relevant templates for each Trilogy phase.
  3. Use simple, easy-to-understand technology as your aid. Process Street is a no-code business process management solution, and as software, we’re proud of the inclusivity we give. Take me as an example. I joined Process Street with relatively limited knowledge of the tech-world. But using Process Street has felt like a breeze. As such, Process Street as a Juran Trilogy/quality management tool removes knowledge barriers creating accessibility for a wide range of users.

Case study #2: Improving the quality of care in England

One of the main strategic challenges facing the English NHS is closing the care and quality gap. There’s a need for a coherent national strategy for achieving high-quality, affordable care.

This study questioned the effectiveness of existing national decisions and interventions supporting clinicians delivering care on the front line. The NHS is recognized as a complex and dynamic environment with multiple players. As such, four concepts were carefully selected to meet this complexity and help strategize for improved NHS quality.

The Juran Trilogy was one of the concepts selected. The Juran Trilogy highlights three core functions for achieving high quality in any industry (planning, control, and improvement).

In the context of the NHS, the Trilogy framed processes needed at a national level, as follows:

  • Planning: The need for robust national planning to set direction.
  • Improvement: The provision of meaningful support to the professionals and organizations delivering care.
  • Control: The appropriate use of control mechanisms to ensure risks are minimized and progress is made.

Quality does not happen by accident, you need to actively pursue business quality

The processes delivered in the Juran Trilogy pave the way for the active pursuit of quality in and outside of the business.

Joseph Juran believed that:

Quality does not happen by accident.” – Joseph M. Juran, Architect of Quality – Part 4: The Juran Quality Trilogy

And we at Process Street couldn’t agree more. Use the Juran Trilogy and Process Street to actively pursue quality for your business. Sign up for your free Process Street account and get started today!

Why not explore more of our top content for further information on how you can improve quality in your business? Explore our top content below:

How do you ensure quality in your business? What practices and processes do you implement? We’d love to hear from you so please comment below. Who knows, you may even get featured in an upcoming article.

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Jane Courtnell

Hi there, I am a Junior Content Writer at Process Street. I graduated in Biology, specializing in Environmental Science at Imperial College London. During my degree, I developed an enthusiasm for writing to communicate environmental issues. I continued my studies at Imperial College's Business School, and with this, my writing progressed looking at sustainability in a business sense. When I am not writing I enjoy being in the mountains, running and rock climbing. Follow me at @JaneCourtnell.


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