Philip Crosby – “Zero Defects” and “Right First Time”

Philip Crosby is an American who promoted the phrases “zero defects” and “right first time“. “Zero defects” doesn’t mean mistakes never happen, rather that there is no allowable number of errors built into a product or process and that you get it right first time.

Philip Crosby believes management should take prime responsibility for quality, and workers only follow their managers’ example. He defined the Four Absolutes of Quality Management.

The Four Absolutes of Quality Management

  1. Quality is conformance to requirements
  2. Quality prevention is preferable to quality inspection
  3. Zero defects is the quality performance standard
  4. Quality is measured in monetary terms – the price of non-conformance

Crosby’s 14 Steps to Quality Improvement

  1. Management is committed to quality – and this is clear to all
  2. Create quality improvement teams – with (senior) representatives from all departments.
  3. Measure processes to determine current and potential quality issues.
  4. Calculate the cost of (poor) quality
  5. Raise quality awareness of all employees
  6. Take action to correct quality issues
  7. Monitor progress of quality improvement – establish a zero defects committee.
  8. Train supervisors in quality improvement
  9. Hold “zero defects” days
  10. Encourage employees to create their own quality improvement goals
  11. Encourage employee communication with management about obstacles to quality
  12. Recognise participants’ effort
  13. Create quality councils
  14. Do it all over again – quality improvement does not end

Philip Crosby has broadened his approach to include wider improvement ideals. He defined the:

Five characteristics of an”Eternally Successful Organisation”

  1. People routinely do things right first time
  2. Change is anticipated and used to advantage
  3. Growth is consistent and profitable
  4. New products and services appear when needed
  5. Everyone is happy to work there

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