The Australian Organisation for Quality Inc annually presents The J. M. Juran Award to recognize people “who have contributed in an outstanding way to the application of effective quality management in Australia.” Dr. Juran first came to Australia in the early 1950’s
In this interview with Australian Brian Scott conducted in May of 1992 in New York City, Scott talks about how Dr. Juran came to Australia.
BRIAN SCOTT: . . . When Dr. Juran first came to Australia -- I think it was in 1953 -- and he was brought out to Australia by my father, who was then the chief executive of the consulting firm he'd founded some 15 years before (W. D. Scott & Company, Proprietary, Limited). And he was one of, I think, 15 or 16 distinguished American lecturers, leaders in the management area, who Dad and his associates brought to Australia to run special seminars and conferences and training groups --and through and to about the mid-1960's. Because, at that stage, Australia didn't have a business school. It didn't have anything that was remotely like a business school. And Dad was one who was very keen to try and bring some of the best of the overseas know-how into the Australian business community.
And, in that context, he was fairly earlier, set upon seeking out Dr. Joe Juran. And he brought Dr. Juran to Australia in the early 1950's, for a series of seminars in Sydney and in Melbourne, the two major cities of Australia. I remember meeting him then. He looked very American with his crew-cut and with his bow tie. They were always symbols of the Americans when we were growing up. And I met him, of course, at the family dinner table. That's my early recollection as a teenager at the university.
There are interesting reminiscences that I can mention in that regard. One of them is that, much later, I suppose in the late '60's or early '70's -- by which time Dr. Juran had come out again for the company. Dad one day said to me, just in a reflective mood, he said: "You know, of all the people who we brought out to Australia, I think Joe Juran was the best, from our standpoint. " What he meant by "from our standpoint" was really in bringing a practical management message to the Australian business community, bringing a management awareness.
Although it's a much, much smaller country, and the comparison is, obviously, a very limited one -- what Dr. Juran did when he first came out and ran those quality seminars in 1953, was to bring for the first time to Australia a recognition of this central role of quality in the management movement. And Australia had grown up as an affluent country, but a country, as we used to say, very much “riding on the sheep's back”. We were an agricultural country. A country, just after the war, of seven maybe eight million people. And one which had its prime heritage on agriculture and, increasingly, on mineral wealth. And our industry had been very limited before the war. We had imported very many things, and paid for them through the receipts of the agricultural exports. And now, it was in that first decade after the war, the war itself and then the first decade afterwards, that Australian industry started to develop -- that we started to get an infrastructure to industry.
And, therefore you had a lot of what you in America would call very small business. And it was first generation business that was growing. But what it lacked for in size and perhaps in sophistication was made up for by the enthusiasm and, if you like, patriotic dedication in the years after the war that we were going to turn this into a sophisticated nation, and we recognized that we couldn't just continue to ride on the sheep's back.
Now it was into that context that Dr. Juran coming out, a number of leading organizations sending people to a conference on quality management, quality control, that was really quite a novel idea. And the feedback from those conferences was very favorable indeed. Once again, I recall what my father had said about how practical and how instructive the feedback, the sheets on feedback were about these particular programs. Now, by and large, the whole series of the 15 or 16 Americans who came out were well received. But the Australian is an independent animal at times, and sometimes they say: "Well, you know, he was all right, but he didn't tell us anything new." Or maybe, you know: "He was good and the philosophy is interesting, but what about the practical. " It was that kind of atmosphere, and Dr. Juran met the practical test -- that was the situation.
One can say that what Dr. Juran brought to Australia through that series of seminars was an opening of a door. And I think that we can all be pleased that -- may I say -- my father made a wise selection of who would be an excellent communicator in this area, and that we were able to persuade Dr. Juran to come, and that, indeed, that seminar was filled. Because I know, coming to my generation later on, that there would be people -- often in senior management positions -- who would recall having been a member of the training program which Dr. Juran had conducted way back when.
Image from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AFlag_of_Australia.svg
By Ian Fieggen (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons