Dr. Armand V. Feigenbaum

Dr. Armand V. Feigenbaum, the developer of “Total Quality Control” concept, was President and CEO of General Systems Company, which he founded in 1968. In 2008, Dr. Feigenbaum was presented with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by President Bush at a ceremony at the East Wing of the White House. The National Medal is the highest honor for technological achievement bestowed on America’s leading innovators.

From 1937-1968, Dr. Feigenbaum grew from an entry-level pre-college job to be the hands-on manager of quality as the Company-wide Manager of Manufacturing Operations and Quality Control at the General Electric Company (1958-68) in New York City.

He developed the “Total Quality Control” concept while concurrently at GE. He introduced the concept first in an article in 1946. In 1951, while a doctoral student at MIT, Dr. Feigenbaum wrote the first edition of his book Total Quality Control. He established the principles of Total Quality Management (“TQM”), the approach to quality and profitability that has profoundly influenced management strategy and productivity in the competition for world markets in the United States, Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. He wrote, “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.”

Armand V. Feigenbaum is also known for his concept of the “hidden plant“. That is – in every factory a certain proportion of its capacity is wasted through not getting it right the first time. Dr. Feigenbaum quoted a figure of up to 40% of the capacity of the plant being wasted. At that time, this was an unbelievable figure; even today some managers are still to learn that this is a figure not too far removed from the truth.

The elements of total quality to enable a totally customer focus (internal and external)

  • Quality is the customers perception of what quality is, not what a company thinks it is.
  • Quality and cost are the same not different.
  • Quality is an individual and team commitment.
  • Quality and innovation are interrelated and mutually beneficial.
  • Managing Quality is managing the business.
  • Quality is a principal.
  • Quality is not a temporary or quick fix but a continuous process of improvement.
  • Productivity gained by cost effective demonstrably beneficial Quality investment.
  • Implement Quality by encompassing suppliers and customers in the system.

The several editions of Total Quality Control have been published in more than twenty languages including French, German, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish and Russian, and are widely used throughout the world as a foundation for management practice.

Dr. Feigenbaum’s establishment of General Systems with his brother Donald, made it possible for him to further refine TQM and widely bring to many companies and organizations the benefits of the total quality and management practices he had developed. This has brought demonstrable economic, environmental and social business benefits to these companies and their customers, and correspondingly to America’s economy. Equally important, far more than General Systems Company clients have benefitted from his intellect, creativity and experience.

He co-authored The Power of Management Capital with his brother and business partner, Donald S. Feigenbaum (see bio), a former GE engineer and manager, setting a new direction for innovation in management in the twenty first century not only in industry but also in health care, education, public administration and technology. The book has been translated into Japanese, Chinese, Brazilian Portuguese, Arabic, in several other languages and an edition in India.

Dr. Feigenbaum has been exceptionally generous, sharing his concepts, processes and implementation knowledge through numerous books, articles, interviews, keynotes and leadership as President of such groups as the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and the International Academy for Quality (IAQ). He is well known, highly visible, revered worldwide, and his name in synonymous with “Total Quality.” He is considered one of the World’s “Gurus of Quality.”


BA, Union College, Schenectady, NY
MA, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management
PHD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Doctor of Science Degree from Union College
Doctor of Humane Letters degree from University of Massachusetts
Doctor of Science by the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts


Armand V. and Donald S. Feigenbaum Hall, Union College
Armand V. and Donald S. Feigenbaum Distinguished Professorship, University of Massachusetts
Outstanding Engineering Alumnus, Union College


2008 National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest honor for technological achievement bestowed on America’s leading innovators.

The Armand V. Feigenbaum Lifetime Achievement Medal was established by the Asia Pacific Quality Organization (APQO) and the Walter L. Hurd Foundation. The first award was presented on Nov. 1, 2011, to Yuanzhang Liu, Ph.D., a research professor of the Academy of Math and System Sciences, Shanghai, China. Liu received this medal in recognition of his promotion of total quality management (TQM) in China for more than 50 years during which time he accomplished many firsts.

1988, appointed by the Secretary of Commerce in Washington, D.C. to the first Board of Overseers of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Program.

1992, elected to the National Academy of Engineering of the United States.

National Institute for Engineering Management & Systems’ Distinguished Service Award, and sponsored by the National Society of Professional Engineers, for lifetime contributions to the field of management.

Edwards Medal of the American Society for Quality for “outstanding leadership in the field of quality control.

Founding Chairman of the Board of the International Academy for Quality, the worldwide quality body.

Served two terms as President of the American Society for Quality and one term as Chairman of its Board of Directors.

Past-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Council for International Progress in Management, the United States affiliate of C.I.O.S., the international general management body.

Served several terms on the Board of Directors of the Engineers Joint Council.

Member of the Advisory Group of the U.S. Army, and twice served as general chairman of a system-wide evaluation of the quality assurance activities of the U.S. Army.

National Security Industrial Association Award of Merit for “true leadership in the defense of the nation.

Honorary Member of the American Society for Quality, that body’s highest honor.

Founders Medal by Union College for his “distinguished career in management and engineering.”

First recipient of the Lancaster Award of the American Society for Quality, for his “leadership of the international development of quality.”

1988 in Paris, Dr. Feigenbaum was awarded the Medaille G. Borel by France, the first American to be so honored, in recognition of his international leadership of quality as well as his contributions to France.

1993, Fellow of the World Academy of Productivity Science, and awarded the Distinguished Leadership Award by the Quality & Productivity Management Association

1996, he was the first recipient of the Ishikawa/Harrington Medal by the Asia-Pacific Quality Organization for “outstanding leadership in management excellence in the Asia-Pacific region.”

1997, the Quebec Society for Quality established the Feigenbaum Medal, which recognizes leadership as a source of quality progress in Quebec society.

1998, designated Honorary Member of FUNDECE (Fundacion Empresaria Para La Calidad y La Excelencia).

1998, the American Society for Quality established the Feigenbaum Medal to be granted annually for excellence in performance.

2006, awarded the Six Sigma Grand Master Medal by the Walter L. Hurd Foundation.

1992, Governor of Massachusetts established the Armand V. Feigenbaum Massachusetts Quality Award to annually recognize the business organizations displaying the strongest competitive leadership.

2001, presented with a Proclamation by the Governor or Massachusetts on the Anniversary of his book Total Quality Control.

1994, Singapore’s Ngee Ann Polytechnic inaugurated the annual Dr. A.V. Feigenbaum Gold Medal Award for the outstanding Quality Assurance Engineering graduate.

2005, The Feigenbaum Leadership Excellence Award was established in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and is annually awarded there.

[1] RCS, Regulatory Compliance Services description published online.


Established the Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation at the Berkshire Museum which celebrates the leadership of Berkshire-based global innovators and the principles through which they brought leadership.

Sponsored the Hilda Vallin Feigenbaum Lecture at the Temple Anshe Amunim in honor of their mother.

Established the Hilda Vallin Feigenbaum Berkshire Authors Room in the Berkshire Athenaeum, which recognizes both 19th and 20th Century New England writers.

Developed and sponsored the Michael Walsh Trail on West Stockbridge Mountain, emphasizing environmental protection.

Established Feigenbaum Forum at Union College for discussion of liberal arts and engineering education.

Established the Feigenbaum Forum at the University of Massachusetts’ Medical School for improvement in the quality of health care.

Major contributor to the Colonial Theatre Restoration in Pittsfield.

Awarded annually the Feigenbaum Scholarship in Engineering and Technology to the outstanding graduating senior of the Pittsfield high schools.


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