Dr. Harrington is recognized as the father of the Business Process Improvement methodology.
Dr. Harrington now serves as the Chief Executive Officer for Harrington Management Systems with branches in many countries around the world.
He also serves as:
• President of the Walter L. Hurd Foundation
• Honorary Advisor for Quality for China
• Chairman of the Centre for Organizational Excellence Research (COER)
• Past President and Chairman of the American Society for Quality
• Honorary Member of the American Society for Quality
• Past President and Chairman of the International Association for Quality
• A member of the Board of Directors for a number of small to medium size companies
Dr. Harrington is a very prolific author, publishing hundreds of technical reports and magazine articles. He has authored over 50 books.
Born: January 16, 1929 in Johnson City, New York, USA.
Occupation: Author, lecturer, consultant, international Performance Improvement and Quality guru, entrepreneur, engineer and businessman.
Education: BS in Electrical Engineering, MBA and PhD. in Engineering Management.
Dr. H. James Harrington is an international Performance Improvement guru and business man. Over his long career he has developed many concepts; some of the more important ones are: Poor-Quality Cost, Total Improvement Management, Area Activity Analysis and Business Process Improvement.
Dr. Harrington has authored over 50 books and created ten software packages focused on Performance Improvement. In addition, he wrote a monthly column for Quality Digest for over thirteen years. He is considered one of the world’s leading Performance Improvement gurus. His career in Quality and Performance Improvement spans 65+ years. He spent forty years with IBM. The majority of his time here was spent working in Reliability and Quality organizations and this provided him an opportunity to create new and revolutionary approaches to Performance Improvement. For a number of years he headed up the Quality Research Center for IBM in San Jose, California. For ten years he was a Principal at Ernst & Young and served as their International Quality Advisor. In 2010 he was named "The Global Leader in Performance Improvement Initiatives" by the Australian Organization for Quality.
He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy in 1952 after four years of service.
Dr. Harrington is currently CEO of Harrington Management Systems and is also the president and Chairman of the Walter L. Hurd Foundation that he founded and funds to honor his good friend and business associate, Walter L. Hurd. This foundation focuses on improving performance in the developing countries of Asia.
Dr. Harrington started working for IBM in July 1947 as an apprentice tool maker. When he retired from IBM in 1987, he joined with Walter Hurd and Wayne Rieker to start the Harrington, Hurd, and Rieker consulting company. In 1989 this company was bought by Ernst & Young. For the next ten years Dr. Harrington worked as Ernst & Young’s International Quality Advisor helping to develop Performance Improvement methodologies that were rolled out throughout the world. In January 2000 he retired from Ernst & Young to become the CEO of Systemcorp, an early-stage, struggling software development company located in Montreal, Canada. He worked for Systemcorp for 2 years until it was sold to IBM. He then started the Harrington Institute, a consulting firm with branches in the U.S., Middle East, Asia and Canada. In 2008 Dr. Harrington and the Harrington Institute were the subject of a 30-minute TV broadcast called "Heartbeat of America" hosted by William Shatner, who stated "You (Harrington) are obviously successful".
Dr. Harrington's latest venture is Harrington Management Systems where he serves as CEO and his focus is on innovation, supply chain management, change management, knowledge management, rewards and recognition, acquisition, validation and organizational restructuring. Harrington Management Systems has four divisions: Harrington Academy, Harrington Certification, Harrington Consulting and the Harrington Research Center.
Dr. Harrington is a member of a number of Boards of Directors and serves as Chairman for some of them. He likes to work with start-up organizations to help them get organized and bring their product to market in an expeditious manner and time frame.
Throughout the years Dr. Harrington has been very active in his professional activities, working his way up through the ranks to become President and Chairman of the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and President and Chairman of the International Academy for Quality (IAQ). He is now a Fellow of ASQ and Honorary Member of IAQ.
When he was the head of the International Chapter of ASQ, he organized a program called "World Crusade for Quality" (1981 –1985). This program annually scheduled a number of tours where the leading quality experts from the U.S. paid their own way to go to countries around the world to give free lectures on quality and Performance Improvement methodologies. Dr. Harrington led each of these very successful tours. These lectures were sponsored by the quality organizations in the countries that were visited.
The project lasted for four years and some of the countries that were visited at least once (and many were visited two to four times) were China, Hong Kong, Philippines, Singapore, India, Germany, Italy, Russia, Yugoslavia, Poland, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Columbia, Mexico and Portugal.
As a result of these and other activities, Dr. Harrington was made an honorary member of many professional associations. Some of these associations are located in Taiwan, Brazil, Philippines, Chile, Columbia, Iran, India, Australia, Singapore and Argentina.
He served for ten years as an A-level member of ISO TC176 (the technical committee responsible for writing the ISO 9000 series). He also served as an A-level member of TC 207 (the technical committee responsible for writing ISO 14000 environmental standards) for five years representing the International Academy for Quality. He is now a member of the ISO TC 279 that is responsible for preparing the standard for Innovation Management Systems. Since 2018 he has been actively involved in the ISO 197 technical committee. He has been the US representative to 3 of the technical committees that are writing the standards for Innovation Management Systems.
Typical consulting projects of Dr. Harrington include:
• Took companies that are struggling to stay alive and transformed them into profitable organizations
• Implemented TQM at various Air Force Bases in the USA
• Managed a medium-size international consulting company in Dubai, UAE
• Designed and implemented executive leadership teams in various Fortune 1000 and larger corporations within the USA
• Developed and helped with the implementation of the strategic quality improvement program for one branch of the U.S. government
• Worked with a number of CEOs and presidents to help them improve the way they perform
• Completed restructuring and documented a major city’s organization so that it would be more customer centric
• Led an international team of consultants in developing and implementing TQM
Dr. Harrington now serves as the Past President of the Altshuller Institute and as the Chief Executive Officer for Harrington Management Systems (formerly Harrington Institute) with branches in many countries around the world. Harrington Management Systems is an international consulting practice consisting of four divisions – Harrington Academy, Harrington Certification, Harrington Consulting, and Harrington Research Center. At the present time Harrington Certification division has certified more than 4,000 individuals.
He also serves as:
Dr. Harrington is recognized as one of the world leaders in applying performance improvement methodologies to business processes. For 11 years he wrote a regular column for Quality Digest Magazine (U.S.). He also wrote columns for Business Quality Review (Dubai) and for several publications in China and Mexico. Harrington is on the Editorial Review Board for five magazines. He has an excellent record of coming into an organization working as its CEO or COO, resulting in a major improvement in its financial and quality performance.
While Dr. Harrington was Chairman of ASQ, he was one of the leaders in getting the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award through Congress and approved by the President of the U.S. He also served as the first Treasurer of the Malcolm Baldrige Consortium that set up and developed the award.
Over the years he has worked as CEO of 3 midsize company all of which grew to the point that they were purchased by a larger firm allowing Harrington to move on to another assignment.
Additional accomplishments include:
• 1967 Originated the Poor-Quality Cost concept. This concept extended quality cost into indirect areas like customer-incurred quality cost, loss of reputation cost, and lost opportunity cost. This concept was documented in IBM’s Technical Report TR02.588-5/1967. Dr. Harrington’s book entitled Poor-Quality Cost was published in 1987 by Marcel Dekker Inc. Dr. Harrington developed at IBM a software package called "QC 1000" that reported on the Poor-Quality Cost from receiving, to sub-assembly, to final assembly, to final unit test, to system test, to shipping, to installation and first year performance. This software package included the customer impact cost of errors that occurred when the product was in use in the customer’s office. Hewlett Packard also developed a software package which they marketed that was based upon his book.
• 1979 Originated the procedures for internal benchmarking at IBM San Jose, Germany and Japan. The procedure required the teams from all locations worldwide that were producing the same product to meet twice a year. During these meetings they performed a detailed review of the way each step in the production process was being conducted and compared the cost and quality related to each step. Best concepts and procedures were then standardized across all locations. This process was documented in IBM’s Technical Report TR.02.834 -3/1979.
• 1981 Originated IBM’s process for Process Qualification which includes three levels of certification: development process and models, pilot process and models and production process and products. This procedure was documented in IBM’s Technical Report TR02.901-8/1981.2.
• 1985 -1990 Developed the Business Process Improvement methodology. This approach was first documented in Ernst & Young Technical Report TR 90.006 HJH 8/1990 and then in Harrington’s 1991 book entitled Business Process Improvement – the Breakthrough Strategy for Total Quality, Productivity and Competitiveness published by McGraw-Hill. This approach is sometimes referred to as "Business Process Management". This methodology uses a process redesign approach to eliminating waste from the major business processes within the organization.
Learn more about the concept behind the Business Process Improvement methodology.
• 1987 - 1991 – Started developing a Strategic Improvement Plan for Ernst & Young in 1987 (Reference: His first document published for general public release was Ernst & Young’s Technical Report TR91.002)
• 1998 Developed the Area Activity Analysis (AAA) methodology which is also called “Department Activity Analysis.” This methodology first aligns the mission of each Natural Work Team (NWT) in the organization to support and be in line with the corporate objectives and mission statements. It then sets up documented Individual Performance Indicators (IPI) for the major processes within each NWT. These IPIs cover both efficiency and effectiveness measurements for each of these major processes and they are signed off by the process’ customers and management. This approach cements the internal and external customer/supplier relationship. The AAA concept was documented in Dr. Harrington’s book entitled Area Activity Analysis – Aligning Work Activities and Measurements to Enhance Business Performance published 1998 by McGraw-Hill.
• 1986 - 1991 Developed the Total Improvement Management (TIM) methodology. This methodology was first documented in Ernst & Young Technical Report TR91.002 and in Dr. Harrington’s book, Total Improvement Management – The Next Generation in Performance Improvement, published by McGraw-Hill in 1995. This methodology was designed to focus the improvement effort on the total business environment and to integrate the many improvement activities that are going on within an organization into one directed project that would maximize the use of resources and the results achieved. It combined Total Cost Management, Total Productivity Management, Total Quality Management, Total Resource Management, Total Technology Management and Total Business Management. This methodology was designed and pictured as a pyramid with a base of providing maximum value to all of the stakeholders.
Learn more about the concept behind the Total Improvement Management (TIM) methodology.
• 2003 Developed the Five Pillars of Organizational Excellence methodology. This methodology was documented in Harrington Institute Technical Report TR 03.003 and published by Quality Digest magazine in a series of five articles in 2003.
After years of working with all types of organizations and using many different approaches to Performance Improvement, Dr. Harrington came to realize that five key elements must be managed for an organization to excel. He called them the "Five Pillars of Organizational Excellence". All five must be managed creatively and simultaneously. Top management’s job is to keep all these elements moving ahead simultaneously. To concentrate on one or two alone is a sure formula for failure. Priorities might shift causing an individual pillar to move from "very important" to simply "important", but it should never shift lower than that.
• 2005 Paton Press published a series of five books under the following titles:
• Process Management Excellence – The Art of Excelling in Process Management
• Project Management Excellence – The Art of Excelling in Project Management
• Change Management Excellence – The Art of Excelling in Change Management
• Knowledge Management Excellence – The Art of Excelling in Knowledge Management
• Resource Management Excellence – The Art of Excelling in Resource Management
Learn more about the concept behind the Five Pillars of Organizational Excellence methodology.
Dr. Harrington was elected to the honorary level of the International Academy for Quality, which is the highest level of recognition in the quality profession. He is one of the the very few government-registered Quality Engineers, is a Certified Quality and Reliability Engineer by the American Society for Quality Control and is a Permanent Certified Professional Manager by the Institute of Certified Professional Managers. He is a certified Master Six Sigma Black Belt and has received the title of Six Sigma Grand Master. Dr. Harrington has an MBA and PhD. in Engineering Management and a BS in Electrical Engineering.
Dr. Harrington has served as the Chairman of the Advisory Board for E-TQM College and he is now an Honorary Advisory Board member for the Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University Advisory Board.
Dr. Harrington’s contributions to performance improvement around the world have brought him many honors. He was appointed the honorary advisor to the China Quality Control Association in 1984 and was elected to the Singapore Productivity Hall of Fame in 1990. He has been named lifetime honorary President of the Asia-Pacific Quality Control Organization and honorary Director of the Association Chilean de Control de Calidad. In 2006 Harrington accepted the Honorary Chairman position of the Quality Technology Park of Iran.
Dr. Harrington has been elected a Fellow of the British Quality Control Organization and the American Society for Quality Control. In 2008 he was elected to be an Honorary Fellow of the Iran Quality Association and of the Azerbaijan Quality Association. He was also elected an honorary member of the quality societies in Taiwan, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Australia and Singapore. He has been listed in "Who’s-Who Worldwide" and "Men of Distinction Worldwide". He has presented hundreds of papers on Performance Improvement and organizational management structure at the local, state, national, and international levels.
In addition, the International Association of Innovative Professionals presented him with a lifetime achievement award, the US Chamber of Commerce presented him with a lifetime achievement award and he has been named an honorary member of the American Society for Quality Control, the highest level of recognition an individual can achieve in the quality profession.
There is no greater award or recognition that a person can receive than having an award or medal named after him. The following 7 awards recognize him by being named after him:• The Harrington/Ishikawa Medal, presented yearly by the Asian Pacific Quality Organization, was named after H. James Harrington to recognize his many contributions to the region.
In 2020 Dr. Harrington was elected to the honorary level of the American Society for Quality, which is the highest level of recognition in the quality profession.
Dr. Harrington is a government-registered Professional Quality Engineer, a Certified Quality Engineer and a Certified Reliability Engineer by the American Society for Quality Control, and a Permanent Certified Professional Manager by the Institute of Certified Professional Managers. He is a certified Master Six Sigma Black Belt and received the title of Six Sigma Grand Master. In 2013 the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy was conferred upon Harrington by Sudan Academy of Sciences for his “immense contributions, remarkable achievements and distinguished accomplishments in the field of Quality Management, Business Excellence, and Innovation, covering wider range of Geographical locations and countries.”
Dr. Harrington’s contributions to performance improvement around the world have brought him many honors. He was appointed the honorary advisor to the China Quality Control Association, and was elected to the Singapore Productivity Hall of Fame in 1990. He has been named lifetime honorary President of the Asia-Pacific Quality Control Organization and honorary Director of the Association Chilean de Control de Calidad. In 2006 he accepted the Honorary Chairman position of Quality Technology Park of Iran.
Dr. Harrington has been elected a Fellow of the British Quality Control Organization and the American Society for Quality Control. In 2008 he was elected to be an Honorary Fellow of the Iran Quality Association and of the Azerbaijan Quality Association. He was also elected an honorary member of the quality societies in Taiwan, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Singapore. He is also listed in the “Who’s-Who Worldwide” and “Men of Distinction Worldwide.” He has presented hundreds of papers on performance improvement and organizational management structure at the local, state, national, and international levels.
Harrington got his first award in 1960 when he received the Mac Titan Award from NASA for improving yield on the Titan missile project at IBM. Over the last fifty years he has received many other awards.
In 2012 Harrington was honored by the Asia Pacific Quality Organization by being awarded the Armand V. Feigenbaum Lifetime Achievement Medal. This award is given annually to an individual whose relentless pursuit of performance improvement over a minimum of 25 years has distinguished himself or herself for the candidate’s work in promoting the use of quality methodologies and principles within and outside of the organization he or she is part of. In 2014 Harrington was appointed Chair of TQM College Manchester (UK) Board. In 2017 he received the first Lifetime Achievement Awardfrom Innovation Association of Innovative Professionals (IAOIP) for his many contributions to the advancement of process improvement and innovation methodologies . In 2020 he received a lifetime achievement award from the United Arab Emirates Department of Commerce. In 2020 he received the highest award given out in the performance improvement field when he was made an honorary member of the American Society for Quality.
Dr. Harrington is a very prolific author, publishing hundreds of technical reports and magazine articles. He wrote a monthly column in the Quality Digest magazine from 1997 to 2010.
Dr. Harrington has authored over 60 books that have been published in the following languages:
You can see a current list of Dr. Harrington's books by visiting the Books page.