Thomas, Marlin U. School of Industrial Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana.
- Quality control
- Performance measures
- Quality, reliability, and warranties
- Operational measures of product performance
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Quality is the collection of features and characteristics of a product that contribute to its ability to meet given requirements. Although quality concepts date back to ancient times, the early work in modern times was on methods and processes to create standards for producing acceptable products. By the mid-1950s, mature methods had evolved for controlling quality, including statistical quality control and statistical process control, utilizing sequential sampling techniques for tracking the mean and variance in process performance. During the 1960s, these methods and techniques were extended to the service industry. During 1960–1980, there was a major shift in world markets, with the position of the United States declining while Japan and Europe experienced substantial growth in international markets. Consumers became more conscious of the cost and quality of products and services. Firms began to focus on total production systems for achieving quality at minimum cost. This trend has continued, and today the goals of quality control are largely driven by consumer concerns and preferences.
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