Title: Managing common and specific causes of quality problems in project-based organisations

Authors: Paul Lillrank, Jaakko Kujala

Addresses: Helsinki University of Technology, Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, P.O. Box 5500, FIN-02150 Espoo, Finland. ' Helsinki University of Technology, BIT Research Centre, P.O. Box 5500, FIN-02150 Espoo, Finland

Abstract: Statistical process control (SPC) provides a methodology to distinguish quality problems due to common and specific causes. While it carries profound managerial implications, its theoretical foundations are vague. An analysis of the literature reveals that it is based on assumptions of production processes consisting of identical repetition in closed or closable systems. Where these assumptions do not hold, SPC cannot be applied directly. The applicability of SPC in non-repetitive processes and open systems, non-routine processes and project-based businesses is examined. Guidelines for adjusting the logic of common and specific causes for project-based businesses are proposed.

Keywords: quality problems; project-based organisations; statistical process control; SPC; quality management.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPQM.2006.008373

International Journal of Productivity and Quality Management, 2006 Vol.1 No.1/2, pp.56 - 68

Published online: 12 Dec 2005 *

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