Today, it is almost impossible to find a manufacturer who has not been significantly influenced by the quality culture, but it is evident that some are doing more to improve their product quality than others are. The so-called "Chain of Quality" through integrated product development is a useful metaphor since it recognises that quality is a continuing topic of attention throughout the product development process and that discrete, quality related activities in the process are inter-linked. Depending upon how the product development process is modelled, the chain can be viewed as open or closed with single or parallel threads. In this paper, the overall purpose of the chain, the nature and identity of its many links and the relationship of the chain to the product development process will be discussed. In so doing, this paper will present an overall picture of important product development strategies and practices that can have a key impact on product quality.

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School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics