This article reports the findings of an exploratory study that compares the quality management practices of manufacturing firms at different levels of the supply chain and across different industries. Firms are first separated into three levels in the supply chain - final assemblers, top-tier suppliers, and tertiary-tier suppliers. The study also separates firms into three industry groups - automotive, electronics, and others. A mailed survey was used to collect the data. The analysis found no statistical difference in the level of quality management practices across the supply chain. This contradicts the general speculation that tertiary-tier suppliers have fallen behind final assemblers and top-tier suppliers in quality management practices. However, the results did reveal an industry effect regarding strategic quality planning. The manufacturers in the automotive industry were more active in strategic quality planning than their counterparts in the electronics industry.
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