Quality Assurance And Statistical Process Control

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Quality Assurance and Statistical Process Control

Quality Assurance and Statistical Process Control


Wal-Mart is the world's largest retail operation, with over $400 billion in annual sales, 4,100 stores in the United States, and 3,500 stores overseas. In 2009, Wal-Mart was the highest-volume grocer in the United States, with approximately $100 billion in sales and a 21 percent share of the grocery market. When H. Lee Scott was named president and chief executive officer in 2000, the company suffered from a maligned public image, defending itself against allegations of underpaid and under insured workers, Clean Water Act violations, and a reputation for destroying the viability of local businesses in many localities. (Giroux, 2002) Over the past eight years, the company has pledged a commitment to sustainable principles, adopted new food quality and safety standards, brings together and extends the concerns of total quality management (TQM) and just-in-time (J-I-T) management techniques that preceded it. Although detractors dismiss Wal-Mart's efforts to clean up its practices, an argument can be made for the positive effects of shifting such a large-scale supply chain to environmentally conscious principles. On the other hand, plethora of Statistical Process Control (SPC) can be used to attempt to achieve this “conditionalization” of nuisance variables (Breaugh, 2006).


Quality Assurance

Traditionally, Wal-Mart is responsible for monitoring food quality standards and other food quality attributes. However, the recent emergence of privately regulated supply chains organized more around principles of safety or quality has precipitated a shift in governance. Previously, the notion of food safety was understood like freshness and taste; however, recent movements have extended this notion to include other social and environmental attributes. Local and global environmental and civil rights movements have launched campaigns to address social justice issues by making sure that food products are environmentally friendly and socially responsible and have meaningful community participation. These are sometimes known as “credence” or nonmaterial characteristics of food safety—characteristics that the consumers cannot detect after purchase in the same way those they detect freshness and taste. These credence qualities include the environmental and ethical conditions of production. For example, is the food commodity produced organically? Do foods contain genetically modified varieties? Are bean or coffee producers being paid a fair price? As these safety attributes are confined to the production and processing of food commodities and are not readily apparent in the physical products that reach the consumer, consumers can ...
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