Quality in U.S. Manufacturing Industries: An Empirical Study

Document Type



Published by the American Society for Quality in Quality Management Journal, volume 9 issue 3, 2002. Bryant users may access this article here.


manufacturing; quality management practices; supply chain; survey


American Society for Quality

Publication Source

The Quality Management Journal


Quality management practices were determined in this research study from previous research, in-depth interviews, multiple case-study analysis, and an empirically based survey. A national survey was sent to 3,375 managers representing 3,285 different manufacturing companies. Six hundred thirty-four of the surveys were returned. The responses were examined with respect to each organization's self-reported level in a five-level manufacturing supply chain (base-level supplier to end-product producer). The rank order of the most applicable and least applicable quality management practices was consistent across all five levels of the supply chain. Results indicate that level of supply chain does not influence how quality is managed. A successful manufacturing company is usually indicative of a successful manufacturing supply chain. By identifying the quality management practices that are considered important to each level in a supply chain, one level of a supply chain can better communicate and understand another level. Better communication creates a competitive advantage for individual entities and their connected supply chain.