Statistical methods for monitoring service processes

Michael Wood

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The techniques of statistical process control (SPC) are designed to monitor production processes in order to prevent the production of waste and improve the quality of future output. The emphasis is on the prevention of problems before they occur instead of simply revealing and correcting past mistakes. SPC is now increasingly used for service processes as well as the manufacturing processes for which it was originally developed. This raises the question of whether the same benefits can be achieved, and whether the techniques need to be refined in any way, if they are to be equally useful in the service arena. Looks at a number of examples of the application of SPC techniques to service processes. Argues that there are features of many service processes which have implications for the way SPC should be applied. Proposes a set of guidelines for systems for the statistical monitoring of service processes. Argues that standard SPC techniques can yield substantial benefits for service processes, provided that users remember these guidelines. In particular, argues that the use of the word "control", and so the phrase "statistical process control", is often inappropriate. Finally, suggests that some of the conclusions may be equally applicable to many production processes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)53-68
    Number of pages16
    JournalInternational Journal of Service Industry Management
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1994


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