Quality Management can be considered to have four main components: quality planning, quality control, quality assurance and quality improvement.
Quality management is focused not only on product/service quality, but also the means to achieve it.
Quality management therefore uses quality assurance and control of processes as well as products to achieve more consistent quality.
Walter A. Shewhart made a major step in the evolution towards quality management by creating a method for quality control for production, using statistical methods, first proposed in 1924. After the second world war,
Japan decided to make quality improvement a national imperative as part of rebuilding their economy, and sought the help of Shewhart, Deming and Juran, amongst others.
Customers recognize that quality is an important attribute in products and services. Suppliers recognize that quality can be an important differentiator between their own offerings and those of competitors.
In the past two decades this quality gap has been greatly reduced between competitive products and services.