Choosing the right quality monitoring process is not an easy task: there are many options, and the economic implications of implementing each of them is not obvious. This was the problem facing Philkeram-Johnson SA, a major Greek manufacturer of ceramic tiles with a work force of more than 400 employees. The company sought the advice of a research team headed by George Tagaras of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. The research team initially attempted a comprehensive comparison of alternative process monitoring schemes from an economic point of view. At one end of the spectrum is the standard Shewhart-type chart, and at the other end is the elaborate, fully adaptive Bayesian control chart. Many characteristics of a product are subject to degradation. During product use, those characteristics degrade, resulting in the deterioration of the product's performance. By sacrificing quality at the initial stage of the product's use, one might be able to improve the reliability of the product and increase its lifetime.
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