During the course of World War II, the use of control charts and statistical control became a necessity. Under President Roosevelt’s leadership from 1939-1945, the US saw a massive industrialization effort to produce weaponry, aircraft, planes, and naval vessels, to support its allies.
Ensuring the quality of these munitions, materials, and other war supplies, was of integral importance to the ongoing efforts to defeat the Nazis. Hence, SPC became an ideal quality standard, to supplement and uphold the existing production taking place.
To date, statistical process control has only grown more sophisticated. As technology has improved, so has our capacity for devising sophisticated data collection systems.
A noteworthy triumph that reflects the influence of SPC and total quality management, was the efforts of the notable W. Edwards Deming in Japan.
Using what would become Deming’s own theory (literally known as Deming theory), Japan was able to turn itself into a preeminent manufacturing superpower. Within the span of a few short decades, the tiny island and its people had overtaken the United States in terms of manufacturing capability. That is, they could produce better items and sell the abroad for less.
It was only when Americans realized they were buying cheaper and higher quality Japanese products at home, that they realized how sharply their own manufacturing had declined.
A lack of competition in the immediate post World War II era, had given the Americans the impression that they would never have to actively compete with foreign markets again.
As Japan had shown, their rationalizations had been in error. Using methods such as statistical process control, a manufacturing process could be continuously improved upon. It was only a matter of time before the Japanese became proficient enough to challenge other manufacturing economies.