Harry Romig

Harry Romig

By Discovery Lean Six Sigma

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Harry Romig and His Contributions to Quality Control

Harry Romig is a name which will remain etched into the halls of quality control stalwarts. His outstanding work in advancing research in the field of quality control is still being studied by engineering graduates. Romig himself loved teaching and was instrumental in laying the groundwork upon which the modern principles of quality control stand. It can be safely said that he was, in the true sense, one of the architects of modern quality control.

Early Life, Work, and Contributions

Harry Romig was one of the founding members of the prestigious institution American Society for Quality also known as ASQ. Romig began his career around 1921 with a teaching job at a high school in Oregon. While teaching mathematics and science there, Romig was also considering getting a master’s degree in physics. The very next year, he resigned from his teaching job at the school and joined the University of California, Berkeley to pursue a master’s in physics. Before his stint at the Bell Labs which changed the course of history forever, he also taught physics and math at San Jose state college.

Romig began working at the Bell Labs in 1926, where he immersed himself in the quality control department. It was here that he created the famous sampling tables with Harold F. Dodge, another stalwart of quality control. Romig is associated with a new sampling technique he created where variables are used instead of data derived from attributes. He is also credited with the development of the concept surrounding outgoing quality limit.

While creating the building blocks of quality control, Romig was also improving his education by earning degrees in various fields of industrial engineering. He enjoyed improving his understanding while applying the learnings into his own designs.

Romig’ s contributions to Quality Control

Harry Romig is credited with the development of sampling tables called the Dodge-Romig tables. His other famous work included the usage of variables instead of data derived from attributes.

  1. The Dodge-Romig sampling method: Quality becomes highly important when the products are related to issues like defense. The US army follows certain standards. One of them is the MIL-STD-105 which was co-developed by Romig, Dodge, and Shewhart. The latest revision was termed MIL-STD-105E which was canceled only in 1995 due to further advancements in the field.

This method was based on various inspection theories related to sampling and mathematical equations. It falls under a wider area of study termed as acceptance sampling. The rationale behind this method is that a production lot should always match with the requirements of the technical design. Inspection alone cannot hammer out non-compliance to the engineering design. Not only is it costly but consumes a lot of time which adds to the net cost to the company. Instead of inspecting and evaluating every element in a system, samples are taken and if they pass the acceptable quality limit or AQL, it is accepted or rejected.

Romig’ s contribution to improving the quality control system through this sampling method still serve as a building block for further research in this area.


  1. Average Outgoing Quality Limit (AOQL): Romig is also credited with the development of the concept behind AOQL. In simple terms, it can be defined as the maximum tolerable defect in a product. It is defined as a percentage and is calculated over time. It was the tenacity of Romig and team that led to the statistical establishment of the fact that if the quality of raw material is up to the mark it should result in a near defect-free product.

The equations which were developed still serve as a standard to production companies to this day, as it was the first-time statistics and math were leveraged to quantify various rules of thumb. Romig has written hundreds of papers on the topic and has four publications to his name.


The ideas of Romig have long been considered the foundation stones of modern quality control. The fundamentals of the area would never have matured to fruition had it not been for the work of Romig. His contributions to sampling methods and development can never be forgotten; quality remains an inherent part of any production process.

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Original: https://www.shmula.com/27859-2/27859/
By: Shmula Contributor
Posted: March 3, 2019, 1:54 pm

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