June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.95.1 - 14.95.14
A QRW Paradigm for the Industrial Engineering Curriculum
Industrial engineers need to have a thorough understanding of how product and service quality are influenced through their design and development, production, and acceptance by customers. This paper proposes a core course for the basic curriculum that provides a modern broad view of quality as a vector of attributes that includes reliability and warranty concepts and methods. A notional course is developed by integrating topics from current courses using concept mapping to construct a platform that can be used to build and reinforce quality throughout the curriculum.
1. Introduction Quality is much more broadly interpreted today than it was during the embryonic days of development of the industrial engineering (IE) discipline. Initially, it was treated more as a compliance process to ensure that processes and standards were being followed in producing products. This interpretation held for many year throughout the era of mass production when more often than not the pressures for high volume production out-weighed options for testing and inspection in cost tradeoff decisions. This all changed drastically with the onset of global competition and the explosion of new technologies in the early 1970s. This led to an almost immediate shift in management philosophies and to major change in attitudes and consciousness that ultimately altered the meaning of quality throughout the world.
Quality can be defined as the state of acceptance of a product or service relative to the expectations of customers or users of the product. These states depend on how the products are developed, produced, and used by customers. There are several factors that influence a quality state. Compliance with standards in manufacturing and production is still important but there are other important factors as well, one being reliability since it expresses the amount of failure-free time that can be expected of a product or system. When competition was weak or non-existent product manufacturers lacked incentives to focus on customer needs as we know them today. Though product guarantees and warranties were offered on many product lines they were commonly ignored and not taken seriously. Today, essentially all consumer products have warranty protection either directly or indirectly through consumer protection legislation. Moreover, warranty programs are essential for product manufacturers to remain competitive in global markets (see Kelley5). The first industrial engineering curriculum was created by modifying a mechanical engineering curriculum to include a selection of courses from business, psychology, and statistics along with courses in time study and work methods. Production management, quality control, statistical testing and process control were soon to emerge as part of the core areas for entry level IE professionals (see Aldrich1). The focus of the discipline was on improvement of the efficiencies of the worker and the processes used in production to maximize productivity. Quality was certainly an important part of this focus and was particularly emphasized in the curriculum as the discipline matured. However, in the late 1960s U.S. engineering schools shifted bachelors level programs from five to four years. IE being the most diversified
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