Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to discuss the causes for the discrepancy between the utilization of statistical process control (SPC) in services and manufacturing. Furthermore, an approach for integrating customer demands and technical aspects of a service is presented. Services are very often characterized by a large number of characteristics, with relatively few observations. This research addresses a methodology based on Z and W charts, proposing it for the control of service features. An example associated with service provision is presented to illustrate the computation of Z and W as well as its interpretation. Design/methodology/approach: The shortcomings of traditional control charts are stated and compared with the control charts for Z and W. An example illustrates how to utilize these charts, their ability to monitor several characteristics simultaneously, along with a continuous monitoring of process capability. Findings: The proposed approach allowed the representation of several process characteristics in the same charts, even when those characteristics are not collected with the same periodicity. The Z and W charts are dimensionless and can be applied whenever it is possible to estimate process parameters, being an interesting approach to be utilized in Phase 2 of SPC. The difficulty for identifying the existence of non-random patterns emerges as the major shortcoming for these charts. Research limitations/implications: The proposed approach is a contribute to overcoming the discrepancy that persists between the utilization of SPC in services and manufacturing. Nevertheless, service production and consumption are frequently simultaneous, which constitutes an issue hard to deal with that is not fully addressed in this piece of research. Furthermore, the Z charts also present some disadvantages, notably an increased difficulty for analyzing the existence of non-random patterns, which worsens as increases the number of products/quality characteristics to be checked. Practical implications: The proposed charts are very flexible and provide a rational utilization of resources. In fact, the representation of several processes is possible, along with the traditional analysis of patterns, thus providing an effective approach for controlling services processes. Social implications: Several quantitative approaches that have been utilized in manufacturing for a long time are still scarce in services. However, services play a major role in modern economies, being clear that improvements in service provision might have a direct impact on society. Originality/value: The approach was based on the utilization of Z/W with samples, but it can be extended to individual observations or even to the control of discrete variables. Additionally, a methodology for process capability analysis in real-time is also proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-306
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal Of Quality And Reliability Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Service quality
  • SPC
  • W charts
  • Z charts


Dive into the research topics of 'Z and W charts for controlling service processes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this