There are many contenders for the event that began the quality movement and in reality there was no single event, but a progression of events that still continue. However, one catalyst that had a major impact was the crisis in World War One concerning the quality of shells. At this time, trench warfare had opposing armies so close to each other that it meant artillery fire had to be more accurate than ever before. Problems existed if a shell fell short or travelled too far. There was an urgent need for shells to be highly consistent in their performance.
Not surprisingly, the military pushed for quality in manufacture and demanded standardised products. In particular, they needed a standard method to determine whether or not to accept a shipment of shells, while not testing every shell, given that the final test was to fire it. This led to the concept of testing just a few shells from every batch and using the test results to decide whether to have confidence in the whole batch. Rather than take risks with a batch they did not trust, the military preferred to reject the entire batch.