Armand V. Feigenbaum

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Armand V. Feigenbaum
Born(1920-04-06)April 6, 1920[1]
DiedNovember 13, 2014(2014-11-13) (aged 94)
Alma materMIT Sloan School of Management
Occupation(s)Engineer and Quality control

Armand Vallin Feigenbaum (April 6, 1920[1] – November 13, 2014) was an American quality control expert and businessman.[2] He devised the concept of Total Quality Control which inspired Total Quality Management.


Feigenbaum Hall on the campus of Union College

Feigenbaum, known as “Val”,[3] received a bachelor's degree in industrial administration from Union College, his master's degree from the MIT Sloan School of Management, and his Ph.D. in Economics from MIT. He was Director of Manufacturing Operations at General Electric (1958–1968), and was later the President and CEO of General Systems Company of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, an engineering firm that helps companies define business operating systems. Feigenbaum wrote several books and served as president of the American Society for Quality (1961–1963).[4] He worked closely with his brother, Donald S. Feigenbaum.[5]

Gravestone in the Anshe Amunim section of Pittsfield Cemetery

He died on November 13, 2014, at the age of 94.[6]

Key ideas[edit]

Val Feigenbaum's contributions to the quality body of knowledge include:

  • "Total quality control is an effective system for integrating the quality development, quality maintenance, and quality improvement efforts of the various groups in an organization so as to enable production and service at the most economical levels which allow full customer satisfaction."
  • The concept of a "hidden" plant or factory, popularised in the 1970s: the idea that so much extra work is performed in correcting mistakes that there is effectively a hidden plant within any factory, potentially 20-40% of the total capacity.[7]
  • Accountability for quality: because quality is everybody's job, it may become nobody's job.[8] Central to this idea is that quality must be actively managed and have visibility at the highest levels of management.
  • The concept of quality cost: the cost of achieving quality plus the cost of absence of quality.[9]
  • The time lag between the introduction of total quality initiatives inside the major companies within a country and their observed economic impact: for example, Japanese companies introduced quality initiatives in the 1950s which took effect in the Japanese economy in the 1970s and likewise the United States' quality initiatives from the 1980's saw an economic impact in the 1990s.[10]
  • Quality is neither a department, nor a technique nor a philosophy. It is a fundamental way of managing.[9]


  • Feigenbaum, A V (1945), Quality control: principles, practice and administration; an industrial management tool for improving product quality and design and for reducing operating costs and losses, McGraw-Hill industrial organization and management series, New York, McGraw-Hill, OCLC 18582947
  • Feigenbaum, Armand Vallin (1961), Total Quality Control, New York, McGraw-Hill, OCLC 250573852
  • Feigenbaum, A V; Feigenbaum, Donald S (2003), The power of management capital : utilizing the new drivers of innovation, profitability, and growth in a demanding global economy, McGraw-Hill, ISBN 978-0-07-021733-1, OCLC 52165584
  • Feigenbaum, A V; Feigenbaum, Donald S (2009), The power of management innovation : 24 keys for sustaining and accelerating business growth and profitability, McGraw-Hill mighty manager handbooks., McGraw-Hill, ISBN 978-0-07-162578-4, OCLC 277205991


  1. ^ a b Armand Feigenbaum Obituary - Pittsfield, MA | The Berkshire Eagle Retrieved September 22, 2018.
  2. ^ Cook, Robert Cecil (1966). Who's who in American Education: A Biographical Dictionary of Eminent Living Educators of the United States, Volume 22. Who's Who in American Education.
  3. ^ Union College, Donald S. '46 and Armand V. '42 Feigenbaum, published 22 July 2004, accessed 26 July 2021
  4. ^ "A. V. FEIGENBAUM: Laying the foundations of modern quality control". ASQ. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  5. ^ Feigenbaum Foundation, Dr. Donald S. Feigenbaum, accessed 27 July 2021
  6. ^ "College mourns Armand V. Feigenbaum '42". Archived from the original on 2014-12-18. Retrieved 2014-11-15.
  7. ^ Stevens, T., Dr. Armand Feigenbaum on the Cost of Quality and the Hidden Factory, Industry Week, 4 July 1994, accessed 27 July 2021
  8. ^ Smith, J. L., Quality Responsibility, Quality Magazine, published 1 January 2020, accessed 28 July 2021
  9. ^ a b Powell, S., An interview with Armand Feigenbaum, Emerald Group Publishers, republished March 2001, archived content from an older version of the Emerald Publishing website, accessed 1 August 2021
  10. ^ Watson, G. H., "Feigenbaum's Enduring Influence" in Quality Progress, November 2005, p. 51, accessed 27 July 2021

External links[edit]