About the authors
Professor Garry G. Azgaldov, a pioneer of Qualimetry, is a Doctor of Economics and a fellow of the International Academy of Informatisation, the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, the Academy of Economic Sciences and Business, the Futures Research Academy, the Academy of Quality Problems and the International Guild of Quality Professionals. He is a chief researcher at the Central Economics and Mathematics Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow.
Contact phone: +7(495)6143024; e-mail: email@example.com
Alexander V. Kostin is a PhD in Economics, a certified appraiser of intellectual property, a corresponding member of the Academy of Quality Problems. He is a senior researcher at the Central Economics and Mathematics Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow; the Creator of the on-line library QUALIMETRY.RU.
Contact phone: +7(916)1058104; е-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Professor Alvaro E. Padilla Omiste is a Doctor of Education, a Biochemist and a Bolivian Chemist. He is a Lecturer of Distance learning programs, Education Management and Education Research Methodology at several Bolivian and Latin American universities; Author and Co-author of several books and articles on issues related mainly to the R & D and innovation.
Contact phones: +591 44721878 (home); +591 70713681 (mobile); e-mail: email@example.com
Anything that people produce with in aperiod of time, as well as, anything they encounter in the course of commodity exchange and consumption and, generally in their everyday life, can be expressed by a set of four elements: products, services, information, and energy.Some times information and energy are subsumed under products or services. Each of these elementscan be fully described by three fundamental variables:
— Quantity (in conventional units of measurement);
— Cost of production, distributionDistribution may be subsumed under consumption. and consumption / utilisation / exploitation / application of a unit of quantity; and
— Quality of the unit of quantity.
The first of these, quantity, is basic to calculation in the engineering disciplines. The second, cost, is recognised and studied by the body of economic disciplines. As to the third characteristic, quality, until quite recently it was seldom if ever taken into account by either engineering or economic or management disciplines.
The reason was a lack of a theory and a toolbox for avalid quantification (assessment) of quality, such as the quality of products / services / information / energy. Without this kind of assessmentit is very difficult, if not impossible, to maintain an effective economic or social structure, e.g., an important omnibus structure called the quality of life, otherwise known as the standard of living.
The foregoing applies, among other things, to management, political, legislative or analytical activities.
For at least one time, almost every manager (as well as a policy-maker, law-maker or analystFor simplicity here in after they will all be referred to as managers.) has faced the problem of quantitative evaluation of quality, e.g., the need for quality control; depending on the specifics of their work it may be the quality control of an industrial or a social process (including the control of life quality), a design, a product, personnel, etc.
In every such situation what the manager has to do is to convert the quality of a controlled object –a production or social process, a design, a product, personnel, etc. — within a given time from a given state, A, to a target state, B. Clearly, the manager cannot solve this problem unless he/she is capable of quantifying A and B, that is, assessing the object’s quality in quantitative terms.
Hereinafter in this ABC we will often discuss quality with special reference to the quality of life as the most important, succinct and general description of socio-economic processes. The quality of other objects, e.g., products, will be used to make our examples more graphic.
Secondly, quality must be quantified in those frequent situations where a manager must decide between two or more options. For example, with superior quality in mind a manager has to decide:
— Whether a consumer product is to be imported or to be manufactured at home;
— On an organisation/administrative structure best suited for controlling a social or manufacturing process; or
— An equipment package for building infrastructure facilities in an urban setting.
When the number of options is greater than two, given that the quality of each option is determined by a combination of parameters (more about it later), the inescapable conclusion is that if one is to address this class of problem one must be able to quantify quality.
Lastly, we need to quantify quality when dealing with economic and social problems where, if we are to improve calculation accuracy, we have to take into account qualitative as well as quantitative factors (that is to say, if the former cannot be expressed in currency units), such as social, environmental, ergonomic or aesthetic ones.
With these considerations in mind the reader is introduced to an ABC of qualimetry, a relatively new scientific discipline concerned with the methodology and total quantitative assessment of the quality of different objects and of some of their qualitative characteristics that do not lend themselves to measurement in common monetary units. The fact is that despite there being a sizeable body of writing (more than 100 books with the term qualimetry in their title) any information found there is usually outdated and often plain wrong, which may lead to wrong decision making processes.
Because of the limited size of this text we can only describe the basics of qualimetry in its most common version rather than cover this discipline in full. For this reason Chapter 1 will focus on the so-called short-cut method of qualimetry. Unlike other methods, the approximate and the exact ones, it takes far less time to learn, understand and apply; however, it will help you solve, with reasonable accuracy, quite a few problems encountered in practiceFor the same reason we will exclude from consideration other, less common types of qualimetric techniques..
This ABC will be useful to specialists in the executive, regulatory and legislative branches, as well as, to all those interested in the methodology of decision-making pertaining to the quality of different kinds of objects.
The authors would appreciate any constructive comments on the subject matter of this book.
Chapter 1. Qualimetry in Outline
Over the years following the appearance of qualimetry, many new scientific related with this science resulted, but most of them are scattered over various small editions and remain virtually inaccessible to the broad reading public interested in quality assessment issues. The purpose of this section then is to give a systematic and fairly complete picture of the state of the art in the theory and practice of evaluation of the quality of various objects of a social or economic character.
1.1. General Information about Quality and Quality Control
1.1.1. The Essence of Quality and Quality Control
The Concept of Quality and What Makes It Different from Other Similar Concepts
As already noted in the Introduction, Quality Control is one of the main applications for qualimetry.
Unfortunately, modern economic theory and economic practice alike, has unambiguous and common interpretations of the terms quality and control, leading to frequent misunderstandings with resulting in completely different approaches to many important issues. For example, “What really happens to an object (e.g., life quality), which, as often claimed, is being controlled?” Is the process indeed a control one? Is it indeed quality and not something else that is subject to control?”
These are not idle questions. Unless we figure them out we cannot count on success in addressing the issue of quality. Therefore, let us clarify our definitions of the key terms, quality and control. At the outset we introduce some terms based on which it will be possible to define the desired term, quality control.
Object, a thing or a process; as applied to the theme of these introduction:
— An animate thing (e.g., a city dweller) or an inanimate one (e.g., a motor car);
— A product of labour (e.g., a dwelling house) or a product of nature (e.g., a natural landscape around an urban settlement);
— A physical object (e.g., an industrial enterprises) or an ideal one (e.g., an artwork made out in a book title);
— A natural object (e.g., a landscape) or a man-made one (e.g., a set of landscape design structures);
— A product (e.g., a piece of clothing) or a service (e.g., a medical service);
— Items (e.g., motorways) or processes (e.g., life activities, which collectively form the quality of life).
In what follows the term object will apply to an object (which can be called “singular”) such that its quantity, in common measurement units, equals one. Then, a city can be an object but not three cities taken together; likewise one airplane, one specialist, etc.
Property. A feature, characteristic or peculiarity of an object, that becomes apparent during its consumption/operation/use/application (henceforth, all these terms are used interchangeably) according to the purpose of its use (e.g., the mean lifetime of a community).
The mention of the condition “according to its purpose” is caused by the following considerations: Imagine an emergency situation in which indoor sports facilities have to be used as temporary shelter for the inhabitants of a city whose homes were destroyed in a disaster (such as caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005). The floor area of the interior, which can accommodate refugees, would seem to be a characteristic of a sports structure. The thing is that this kind of utilisation of athletic facilities is abnormal, out of keeping with their purpose. Therefore, a feature of a sport hall such as “the number of refugees it can accommodate” cannot be regarded as its “property” in a qualimetric sense.
We draw the reader’s attention to one more circumstance, which, although mentioned in the definition of the term property, is sometimes neglected in practice. Properties are not just any features/characteristics/peculiarities of an object, but only those that occur during its production or consumption/application/use/operation.
For illustration we give the following example (which for greater clarity relates to product quality). Any product made of a ferromagnetic material is known to possess the quality of magnetostriction, that is, the ability to change its shape and size in response to changes in the magnetic field.
Let us consider two different kinds of products made of a ferromagnetic material: a mechanical chronometer watch and the track shoes of a caterpillar tractor. Obviously, magnetostriction is incident to both.
In a chronometer magnetostriction shows in the way its accuracy is affected by exposure to a strong magnetic field. As for tracks, the phenomenon of magnetostriction in a physical sense does take place during their operation, but its impact (e.g., the magnitude of the absolute and relative changes in the linear and volumetric dimensions of the tracks) does not affect the performance of the tracks as part of a caterpillar belt. We can assume, therefore, that magnetostriction is not manifested in the consumption of these products (that is not in a physical but an economic sense.)
It follows that for an object like a chronometer watch, the presence of magnetostriction is to be considered one of its properties, whereas for a caterpillar track it is not a property in the sense outlined above in the definition of property.
Quality is a property representing a set of those and only those properties that characterise the consumption results of an object, both desirable and undesirable, excluding the cost of their creation and consumption. That is to say, this set includes only properties associated with the results achieved in consuming an object, and does not include ones associated with the cost of providing these results.
(1) The properties that constitute quality do not include those that manifest themselves in the course of production/creation/development/manufacture of objects (hereinafter, unless otherwise indicated we shall generally use instead of four terms — production, creation, development, manufacture – a single umbrella term, production);and
(2) The entire life cycle of an object will be conventionally considered to consist of only two broad stages, those of production and consumption, with the consumption stage including what is known as distribution (which is only applicable to some objects, e.g., products of labour but not the quality of life).
Thus, when we analyse the quality of an object we can — even must — ignore its manufacturing technique and its production and consumption costs and focus instead on the results, both positive and negative, achieved at its consumption stage.
Cost Effectiveness. The totality of properties characterising the capital input into the production and consumption of an object. (In some cases cumulative costs can be represented by so-called reduced costs or full costs.).
From the definitions and interpretations of the terms quality and cost-effectiveness it follows that the entire set of properties of an object can be divided into two disjoint subsets: the properties that form the quality of the object and those that form its cost effectiveness.
As consumers are not normally only care for either the quality of an object ignoring its cost effectiveness or, alternatively, its cost effectiveness without regard to its quality, the science of qualimetry, naturally, felt the need for a characteristic that would take into account the entire set of properties associated both with the consumption of an object (its quality) and the costs incurred (its cost effectiveness).
This characteristic is termed integral quality in qualimetry.
Integral quality. The property of an object describing the sum of its quality and cost effectiveness. Thus, integral quality is the most general characteristic of an object, which factors in all of its properties.
It should be noted that the engineering and economic literature uses concepts and terms similar in meaning to the ones introduced above, quality and integral quality. We will consider these concepts starting with those who are close to the concept of quality.
The term engineering level is usually applied to the quality of products (but not, e.g., to the quality of life). It is almost identical in scope to the term quality. However, it has several shortcomings compared to the latter:
(a) In a purely linguistic sense, with some objects this term is perceived as much less suitable than quality. Imagine pronouncing phrases like “the engineering level of ladies” perfume”, “the engineering level of milk,” “the engineering level of a specialist,” “the engineering level of a managerial decision,” or “the engineering level of life.” Substituting quality for engineering level immediately improves the sound of these identical terms: “the quality of ladies” perfume,” “the quality of milk,” “the quality of a specialist,”“the quality of a managerial decision,” “the quality of life.”
(b) The term quality has a long history dating back to Aristotle’s days, while the term engineering level came into being (mainly in the Russian literature) in the last 30 — 35 years. This brings up the natural question: why use a new term if we have a long-established synonymous term?
(c) It is common knowledge that the quality of a finished product is defined by three factors: the quality of its design, the quality of its raw materials and semi-finished products, and the quality of its manufacture (that is, the extent to which its design parameters are met in manufacture).Sometimes the term engineering level refers to what is termed design quality in qualimetry.
Then the question arises: why introduce a new term, engineering level, if we can do with the good old term, quality (or more precisely, design quality)?
For these reasons, in the science of qualimetry (and in this ABC) the term engineering level is not used.
The term technical excellence is an absolute synonym of engineering level. Therefore, all that was said above regarding engineering level applies to technical excellence.
The term utility describes a property that characterises the aggregate of quantity and quality of an object (see, e.g., ).
For example, the utility of two houses is greater than that of one of exactly the same quality. However, utility and quality means the same thing when applied to one unit of quantity of an object. That is to say, we can assume that quality is the utility of one unit of quantity of an object. Since the quantitative estimation toolbox is better designed for quality than for utility in what follows we will use mainly the term quality, that is to say, consider mainly objects whose number is equal to one unit.
The term value is synonymous with utility but its use is normally restricted to the philosophical literature. All that we have said above about utility holds for value.
Concept of use value. If as shown above, quality is the utility of an object unit (that is, a property inherent in the object),use value is the object possessing this property, i.e. utility. As applied to an object whose quantity equals unity, use value is the object possessing this property whose quantity equals unity (see ). As the subject matter of this ABC is the quality of an object (e.g., the quality of life) and not its quantity, hereafter the concept of use value will not be generally used and our exposition will be in relation to the concept of quality.
The term efficiency has many different interpretations. With regard to the most commonly used one it is very close to integral quality. However, because of its ambiguity we will use it instead the term integral quality. On the other hand, since most of the statements relating to the concept of quality remain in force and applicable to the concept of integral quality, the latter will be used hereafter only in specified cases.
We introduce some more concepts related to the concept of quality.
Property / quality / integral quality index. Is a quantitative characteristic of a property / quality / integral quality.
Index value. Is a specific numeric value that an index can take. For example, the values for the property index “room temperature” can be 20° С or 22° С. Here the numerals 20 or 22 are the values of the property index. Similarly the term index value can be illustrated (this time in dimensionless units) with reference to quality. Let the quality index be expressed by the symbol Кк. Then in the expression Кк = 0.68 the numeral 0.68 is the value of Кк.
Where quality is analysed in general terms (i.e., not in a numeric but in an alphabetic form) the value of the index is expressed not by a numeral but by a lowercase letter (as opposed to the index itself, which is always denoted by a capital letter). For example, the expression KК= k1K reads as follows: the quality index KK has the value k1K. This applies to a quality index but also to a property index, an integral property index, etc.; to any index at all.
After we have clarified the meanings of the basic concepts related to the term quality we can analyse concepts related to the term control, which is in practice often linked with quality (e.g., in phrases like “product quality control”).
1.1.2. The Term Control and Its Difference from Other Similar Terms
Let us denote a given time point byt1and a time point in the future by t2 (obviously, t2>t1). Let us denote by ΔT the time elapsed from t1 to t2: ΔT= t2 — t1.
Let us define our terms:
Pre-settime ΔTSET: a time period ΔT, the value of which is pre-set by a human controller.
Indefinite period of time ΔTi: a time period ΔTi the value of which is not pre-set/defined by human controller.
Let us introduce some terms:
Object state: the state of an object at an instant defined by its quality whose index has the value kK.
Given object state: the state of an object at a given (initial) instantt1at which the value of its quality index is k1K.
Future object state: the state of an object at a future instant t2at which its quality index will be k2K.
Quality variation: a value given by the expression ΔKK = k2K- k1K.
Pre-set quality variation ΔKKPRE: a quality variationΔKK the value of which is given in advance by a human controller.
Indefinite quality variation ΔKK?: a quality variation ΔKK the value of which is not given by a human controller.
Object quality control: the transfer of an object from a given state k1K to a future state k2K at ΔKKPRE with in ΔTPRE (To rephrase it, to control the quality of an object is to ensure in the object a pre-set quality variation ΔKKPRE with in a pre-set time ΔTPRE).
It follows from this definition that if any of these conditions were not met (e.g., indefinite timeΔT? instead of pre-set time ΔTPRE or in definite quality variation ΔKK? instead of pre-set quality variation ΔKKPRE is used) it would be improper to refer to it as quality control. In actual fact a different process is in progress. Table 1 shows different processes and their relation to the quality control process.
Table 1 lists twelve situations differing in their combinations of ΔKK (quality variation) and ΔT (time variation). Each has an associated process type related to quality variation, from total uncertainty to quality control, which may vary within pre-set limits within a pre-set time.
Regrettably, in practice the term quality control is frequently applied to processes that can at best be described as quality improvement (see, e.g., line 4 above).In these processes (which in most cases concern industrial products) the value of an object’s property index could be improved by so many per cent within a pre-set time; e.g., the life of a component part could be increased by 30%.It is then concluded that the quality of the object improved by the selfsame 30% supposedly as a result of quality control.
There are two principal fallacies here. One is that the magnitude of increase in the value of the quality index was determined incorrectly, taking no account of the fact that an improvement in the value of a property of an object by α% almost always leads to an improvement in its quality index by β% (with α<β).
The second fallacy is neglect the following: a quality improvement in one property of an object will result in an improved quality index of the object to the extent that none of its other property indices has deteriorated. Yet, this is a fairly common occurrence. Let us suppose that in the above case a 30% increase in the life of a component part is often accompanied by an increase in its mass. This leads to a deterioration of its “product mass” property by so many percent. Unless we make a qualimetric calculation we cannot say a priori whether — and by how many per cent — the quality of the product deteriorated or improved. (Proofs of both these assertions are to be found in books on theoretical qualimetry; see, e.g., ).
Therefore, it often happens in practice that the term quality control is applied to processes which, in control theoretic terms, cannot be considered quality control and, not infrequently, cannot be even called quality improvement because in reality they only ensure some indefinite quality variation (see lines 2 and 5 in Table 1 above).
The grey background in Table 1 is used to highlight two lines, 10 and 11, which represent the criteria to be met if we are to have a real quality control process. Line 10 describes the conditions under which, as common sense tells us, quality control is really achievable. That is to say, it is about a quality improvement is achievable to a pre-set extent within a pre-set time.
The case introduced by line 11 also belongs to control processes, though it is less apparent in the usual sense. Its only difference from case 10 is that the latter achieves a quality improvement (accordingly, ΔKK > 0), whereas in case11 no improvement is envisioned, the only intention being to keep quality from deteriorating within a pre-set time period, i.e., to set it at a constant level, ΔKK = 0).
The process described in line 12 is also related to quality control is totally unobvious to common sense. In pure theory, however, one can imagine a situation where the goal is not to increase but to decrease the quality of a product within pre-set limits and within a pre-set time, e.g., in order to cut production costs so as to boost demand. Since this is more academic than a real-life situation the respective line (12) in Table 1 was not highlighted with grey.
The foregoing interpretation of quality and quality control suggests that if we are to control quality we must be able to calculate the values of ΔKK. To do it we must, in turn, be able to quantify or estimate quality using its index KK. Consequently, we need a tool for the quantification of quality, which is provided by qualimetry.
There were also other factors, which made the appearance of qualimetry necessary, even inevitable. They will be discussed in the section that follows.
1.1.3. The Origin, Growth and Future of Qualimetry
220.127.116.11. The Reasons Behind the Rise of Qualimetry as a Science
Qualimetry is a consequence of knowledge quantification
The term qualimetry (from the Latin quale, “of what kind”, and the Greek μετρεω, “to measure”) was initially applied to a scientific discipline studying the methodology and problems of quantitative assessment of the quality of various objects, mainly of industrial products . By 1970 enough experience had accumulated to permit a thorough investigation of qualimetry, its subject matter and its relations with various scientific fields. At the same time there was a growing awareness of the need to expand the scope of qualimetry from product quality (which was the focus of some researchers) to the quality of objects of whatever nature, including socio-economic objects such as the quality of life.
When the term (and the respective concept) was first used it seemed unexpected, almost fortuitous; some still regard it so.
However, it would be wrong to speak of the fortuity of qualimetry. On the contrary, its appearance should be seen as one of the many perfectly natural signs of the general broadening of the scope of quantification and the use of quantitative methods in scientific and, generally, cognitive activities at large.
The universal and imperative nature of this tendency to expand the use of quantification as a major tool of cognition was succinctly stated by Galileo, who said “Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so.” The Russian Mathematician D. B. Yudin expressed nowadays essentially the same idea: “Quality is a yet unknown quantity”.
Many great minds were aware of the important influence that mathematics, as a general framework of quantification techniques, has exerted on the development of science.
K. Marx was of the opinion that a subject could be called a science if it had a mathematical foundation. A century before him, I. Kant wrote in his Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science, “I maintain, however, that in every special doctrine of nature only so much science proper can be found as there is mathematics in it”. Three centuries before Kant, Leonardo made a similar statement: “No human investigation can be called real science if it cannot be demonstrated mathematically”. Five centuries before Leonardo, in the 9th century, the famous Arab scientist Abu Yusuf Ya’qub ibn Ishaq al-Kindi, who saw in mathematics the basis and prerequisite of all science, including philosophy and natural history, pursued a similar line of thought. Another thirteen centuries earlier the Greek philosopher Xenocrates of Chalcedon expressed the ancients” idea of mathematics in the following maxim: “Mathematics is the handle of philosophy”. Dozens of years before Xenocrates, or 2300 years before our time, his teacher Plato said, “Exclude from any science mathematics, measure and weight, and it is left with very little”.
Quantification is steadily broadening its scope of application, as evidenced by the growth of scientific disciplines or technical problem solving techniques that include the Greek μετρεω in their name. Here are a few examples:
Absorptiometry; autometry; autorefractometry; adaptometry; axiometry; actinometry; algometry; amperometry; angiostereometry; anthropometry; astrocalorimetry; astrometry; astrophotometry; audiometry; acidimetry; batimetry; biometry; bibliometry; veloergometry; visometry; viscosimetry; gigrometry; hygrometry; hydrometry; glucometry; gravimetry; gradiometry; densitometry; didactometry; dilatometry; dynamometry; dielectrometry; dosimetry; dopleometry; isometrym impedancemetry; inclinometry; interferometry; cliometrics; calipometry; calorimetry; chelatometry; conductometry; craniometry; coulometry; lipometry; luxmetry; mediometry; mercurimetry; morphometry; scientometrics; nitritometry; optometry; ordometry; oscillometry; optometry; perimetry; pirometry; pH-metry; planimetry; polarimetry; psychometrics; potentiometry; pulseoxymetry; radiometry; radiothermometry; redoxmetry; roentgenometry; refractometry; sensitometry; sociometry; spectrometry; spectroradiometry; spectropolariometry; spectrophotometry; spirometry; spiroergometry; stabilometry; stereometry; sphincterometry; tacheometry; tensometry; technometry; tonometry; turbidemetry; uroflowmetry; fluorimetry; photogrammetry; photocolorimetry; photometry; chronometry; equilibriometry; econometrics; exponometry; electrometry; echobiometry. Qualimetry is also a member of this steadily expanding family. (It would be wrong, however, to believe that every discipline using quantification has metry / metrics in its name.)
Qualimetry: A Tool for Enhancing the Efficiency of Any Kind of Work
What happened for the qualimetry to appear in the 1960s?
Modern management science has formulated five necessary and sufficient conditions for the success of any work, which can be represented by a “condition tree” (Figure 1).