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20 CHAPTER THREE DATA QUALITY MANAGEMENT CONCEPTS A complete pavement condition data collection quality man- 3. Adequate record keeping (control of records); agement program provides a comprehensive, systematic 4. Continuous checking output for defects (control of approach to data collection and processing. This chapter pre- nonconforming product/service), with appropriate sents the main data quality management concepts and princi- corrective actions; ples as they apply to pavement condition data collection; the 5. Periodic reviews of individual processes, preventive main sources of variability in pavement condition data collec- actions, and the quality system itself to verify its effec- tion; and the general policies, principles, and guidelines cur- tiveness (often including both internal and external rently being followed by transportation agencies to conduct audits); and quality management activities. 6. Fostering continuous improvement. The concept of quality is reasonably simple to understand; PAVEMENT CONDITION DATA COLLECTION however, the methods, tools, attitudes, and values involved QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM in providing high-quality products and services are not. Approaches to achieve quality, such as Total Quality Manage- Independently of the mechanism used to collect the data, in- ment (TQM), are often difficult to understand and operational- house or through a service provider, a complete pavement con- ize because they are not simply toolkits, methods, or manage- dition data quality management system would include a clearly ment theories, but rather part of an encompassing quality documented quality management plan, detailed quality accep- approach (44). Furthermore, the concept is particularly com- tance procedures, and established guidelines to monitor the plex to apply to services such as pavement data collection, entire process (as summarized in Figure 2). It is important that because the approach was developed for, and has had its great- the quality management plan include the activities to be con- est successes in, manufacturing industries where the "product" ducted, as well as clear timelines, milestones, and evaluation is a clearly defined physical entity. Managing the quality of criteria. For the quality management system to properly work, pavement condition data is particularly challenging because not everything from effective data collection procedures and only the product is not clearly known, but also the ground truth training to efficient data processing and quality control/quality or reference value is often difficult to determine (45). It is acceptance reviews needs to be performed in a timely manner. important that the quality principles and practices used in the manufacturing industries be adapted to match pavement data For example, previous studies have suggested that the collection services. steps in the quality management process of distress data col- lection include the following activities [adapted from Morian The most efficient way to achieve high-quality services is et al. (45)]: to adopt a comprehensive quality management approach that includes methods, techniques, tools, and model prob- · Distress definition; lem solutions. The development of a quality management sys- · Rater training (and equipment calibration); tem requires, as any management system, the interaction of · Systematic data collection process management; three fundamental components: processes, people, and tech- · Systematic data handing and processing; nology. If any of these components is lacking, it is unlikely · Timely, effective quality control system; that the system will be successful (46). Furthermore, adopt- · Timely, effective quality acceptance check system; ing a comprehensive quality approach is typically hard to · Timely identification and implementation of corrective justify with a simple cost-benefit analysis. The costs and ben- actions; efits of a quality "approach" are clear only after the quality · Timely report development; and processes have been tested and the organization can exploit · Delivery of results to the owner agency. the benefits from the improved quality. The overall quality approach would include the following elements (47): BACKGROUND ON QUALITY MANAGEMENT CONCEPTS AND PROCESSES 1. Identification and documentation of the procedures that cover all key business processes (control of documents); The subjects of quality, quality management systems, qual- 2. Monitoring processes to ensure these procedures are ity management, quality control, and quality acceptance have effective (including audits); been the focus of a series of documents developed by the