Quality is an important attribute of performance which reflects the excellence of performance of a product or a service. It is generally regarded as a concern of manufactures. All manufacturing processes involve materials, men and machines and they all have inherent variability in addition to an attributable variability, which can be controlled to an irreducible minimum. Reducing the variability is synonymous to improving quality of a product or a service. The most widely used definition of quality states that it is a degree of conformance of a product to design specifications and workmanship standards. This leaves enough scope of improvement in design specifications to satisfy the intended user or customer and by raising workmanship standard.
All enterprises of the world compete on the basis of quality, cost and time and quality is an important characteristic or attribute to compete with. ISO 8402 defines quality as a” summary of characteristics or features of a product or a service determining their ability to satisfy established or anticipated needs or requirements.” Customer satisfaction thus becomes an important parameter of quality improvement program or planning. Long ago, inspectors were assigned the task of controlling the quality and to accept, reject or rework a product. This involved 100 percent inspection. It was in 1930s, Shewhard first developed his statistical approach to control quality and laid down the foundation of charts to control the variability. This was followed by a period of extensive development of
statistical quality control procedures and many other concepts like statistical process control etc. The details of which shall be discussed in a review paper by the Guest Editor and other papers presented in this issue..
With the introduction of the dimension of consumer satisfaction, improving quality has become an engineering as well as a management function. This led to several new definitions of quality and its scope widened considerably. Eventually, the subject of quality engineering and management is about reducing the variability in products and processes, quality costs and to provide maximum satisfaction to the customers through improved performance. This cannot be done without the involvement of every one in an enterprise and to develop organizational structure, resources, procedure, programs and processes for documentation and standardization during production, their stabilization and improvement in the form of corrective and preventive measures and based on standardization directives. In other words, it is about introducing a quality management system in an enterprise.
On the other hand, the concept of total quality management (TQM) is about exploiting the knowledge and skills and ability of all personnel of an enterprise, including suppliers in resolving problems and improving processes with an ultimate goal of providing customer satisfaction and the satisfaction of employees, management and owners of an enterprise. The important element of TQM philosophy is to prevent defects and to place emphasis on quality in design, elimination of losses and reduction of variability. At the same time, it also stresses development of relationship between employees, suppliers and customers. Everyone is required to participate in making the mission of an enterprise successful.
There are several other programs that complement or supplement the quality improvement strategy. The details of which can be found in the Handbook .
I am thankful to all those authors who enthusiastically contributed to make this special issue a success. I like to thank Professor V.N.A. Naikan, Reliability Engineering Centre of IIT Kharagpur, who accepted the invitation of organizing this special issue and spare his valuable time. I sincerely hope that this issue will be received well by the readers of the International Journal of Peformability Engineering for whom we have been bringing out special issues on topical and important themes from time to time.
 Misra, Krishna B. Handbook of Performability Engineering, Springer, London, 2008.
An Update on IJPE
The International of Journal of Performability Engineering is a refereed interdisciplinary journal which presents all engineering aspects of performance of products, systems or services. This journal was started in July 2005, and has completed eight years of its publication. We like to present here how this journal has progressed during these eight years. Undoubtedly, we have come a long way and will continue making special efforts to ensure that we have participation and representation of all major countries of the world and the journal has a wide coverage of the topics that are within the scope of this journal. It is a matter of great satisfaction that the journal, in general, has been appreciated and has been received very well by the scientific community of the world. This is reflected through the demand /orders received for the copies of the papers published in this journal. We will of course continue to keep the standard of this journal very high and strive to provide high quality papers to our readers. It may be mentioned that we take utmost care to subject the submitted papers to a rigorous refereeing process involving competent reviewers so that the published papers are brief, precise and compact.
We have been bringing out special issues in the important and new emerging areas of research and invite acclaimed researchers and practitioners to serve as Guest Editors in order to provide interaction with leading researchers in the area. A special issue on Best Practices in RAM and Assets Management has been planned for early 2013.
IJPE also provides a unique facility to authors/researchers to present their new ideas to the scientific community through the medium of Short Communication, which otherwise might take quite some time to develop the idea into a full-fledged research paper.
Book reviews of latest books are often published in the journal to apprise our readership of new arrivals in the literature to keep them up-to-date in their respective area.
The details of IJPE issues published during these eight years (July 2005-Nov. 2012) are as follows:
Issues in the Volume
Number of Full Papers
Total number of Pages
List of 46 Countries which have contributed papers to IJPE: The following countries (in alphabetic order) contributed papers to the IJPE during this period:
Abu Dhabi, Algeria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Korea (South), Kuwait, Latvia, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America, Venezuela.
Major contributing countries happen to be: Australia, China, Canada, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, South Korea, Taiwan, U.K., U.S.A. (The highest number of papers published have been from U.S.A.).
Areas represented: Our effort has been to emphasize and to ensure a balanced representation of all constituent areas of Performability Engineering (viz., Quality, Reliability, Maintainability, Survivability, Safety, Risk and Sustainability).
We like to thank a large number of anonymous reviewers of papers, who over this period have given us their precious time and advice to keep the standard of this journal very high. We like to thank them here collectively and would like to record our gratitude to them.