Quality in the Digital Transformation Era 

Call for papers for: International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management

Submissions Portal Opens: 1 April 2021

Submission Deadline: 29 July 2021



Ever since the beginning of industrialization, organizations have gone through industrial transitions marked by technical and technological innovation. While such innovation has consistently allowed the pursuit of new levels of development (Popkova et al., 2019), technology did not have the same impact in the Quality and performance of organizations as it has today, as we undergo the Digital Transformation process.  

An organization’s ability to constantly give to the customers high-quality products and meet their needs is key to their competitive advantage, expansion, or even survival. The development of better, faster, inexpensive, and more informative technologies may enable rapid advances towards these goals. Supported by the development of smart technological solutions, organizations aim to improve efficiency, effectiveness, customer satisfaction, and empower their human capital to continuous learning and adaptation. However, the integration between Quality principles and practices and technologies and advanced manufacturing processes is not always clear nor straightforward (Carvalho et al., 2020).  

This Special Issue aims to address the challenges faced by companies when integrating Quality Management (QM) and Quality Improvement (QI) into the Digital Transformation process, and to relate Quality and technologies such as (but not limited to) the Internet of Things (IoT), cyber-physical systems (CPS), cloud computing and robotics, digitalization, digitization, big data, artificial intelligence (AI), or machine learning (ML).  


Theoretical Background and Objectives 

Technology is often argued not be the most important driver of the Digital Transformation (Kane et al., 2015), but a part of the complex puzzle that must be solved for organizations to remain competitive (Vial, 2019). However, in practice the Digital Transformation process is most often technology-driven – and it has been claimed that there is limited innovation in the field of Quality in the scope of the Digital Transformation (Lee et al., 2014; Shubin & Zhi, 2017).  

The lack of a Quality-led perspective means that the technologists rather than the Quality experts are making the decisions that will affect the way we think Quality Engineering and Management in the future. It has been argued that it is hard to find studies on the impact of technologies on Quality Management (Gunasekaran et al., 2019), and that new Quality perspectives, when existing, do not transition into practice (Bossert, 2018). To avoid a generalist approach and promote new contributions on Quality topics in the Digital Transformation, it is crucial to create opportunities for them to be discussed in Quality-specific forums. 

It is in this perspective that we argue for the importance of discussing the implications for Quality in the Digital Transformation process in a Special Issue. Quality in the Digital Transformation (often branded as “Quality 4.0” or “Q4.0”) combines Quality Management and Improvement practices with technological tools to develop critical factors for organizational success (Armani et al., 2021; Küpper et al., 2019; Ralea, 2020; Sader et al., 2017; Sony et al., 2020). It is an integral part of the Digital Transformation which opens the way for Quality to become a leading force in this transition (Aldag & Eker, 2018; Küpper et al., 2019; Radziwill, 2018; Zonnenshain & Kenett, 2020). 


The pursuit of excellence through the current disruptive digital transformation has an important role to play in the organizations of the future (Carvalho et al., 2019). In order to achieve a successful Q4.0 transition, organizations need to understand the concept and its importance together with a clear and structured roadmap approach. The proposal of a special issue focusing Quality in the Digital Transformation aims to contribute to the definition of this concept, attesting the importance of Quality to Industry 4.0 and, consequently, helping organizations to maintain high levels of quality and performance in a time of transition.  

The Special Issue Guest Editors cordially invite you to submit a paper. All papers, with both theoretical and practical applications, are welcome. Relevant topics include, but are not limited to:  

  • Defining Digital Quality 

  • Quality and Technology  

  • Supply Chain Quality Management in the Digital Era 

  • Data Quality and Quality in Information Management Systems 

  • Applications of Predictive Quality  

  • Quality for Advanced Manufacturing Systems 

  • Quality for Additive Manufacturing 

  • Digital Quality and Risk Management 

  • Quality Management Systems in the Digital Era 

  • Work systems and human factors in Quality 4.0. 


Submit a paper to the special issue 

Submissions to International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts, the online submission and peer review system. Registration and access is available at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ijqrm. Please submit your paper via ScholarOne and ensure to select the correct special issue. Full author guidelines can be found at https://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/journal/ijqrm#author-guidelines 


•    Paper submission deadline: 29 July 2021

•    Anticipated publication date: February 2022 

Submissions to be made through The IJQRM Journal ScholarOne manuscript submission portal  https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ijqrm

Guest Editors: 

Paulo Sampaio 

University of Minho, ALGORITMI Research Centre 

[email protected] 


André Mendes de Carvalho 

University of Minho, ALGORITMI Research Centre 

[email protected]  


José Pedro Teixeira Domingues 

University of Minho, ALGORITMI Research Centre 

[email protected]


Pedro Manuel Saraiva 

Dean of NOVA IMS 

[email protected] 



Aldag, M. C., & Eker, B. (2018). What Is Quality 4.0 in the Era of Industry 4.0 ? International Conference on Quality of Life, November, 31–34. 

Armani, C. G., de Oliveira, K. F., Munhoz, I. P., & Akkari, A. C. S. (2021). Proposal and application of a framework to measure the degree of maturity in Quality 4.0: A multiple case study. In Advances in Mathematics for Industry 4.0. INC. https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-12-818906-1.00006-1 

Bossert, J. L. (2018). Is Quality 4.0 the End of Six Sigma? Lean & Six Sigma Review, 17(3), 4. 

Carvalho, A. M., Sampaio, P., Rebentisch, E., & Oehmen, J. (2020). Technology and quality management: A review of concepts and opportunities in the digital transformation. International Conference on Quality Engineering and Management. 

Carvalho, A. M., Sampaio, P., Rebentisch, E., & Saraiva, P. (2019). 35 years of excellence, and perspectives ahead for excellence 4.0. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 1–34. https://doi.org/10.1080/14783363.2019.1691915 

Gunasekaran, A., Subramanian, N., & Ngai, W. T. E. (2019). Quality management in the 21st century enterprises: Research pathway towards Industry 4.0. International Journal of Production Economics. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpe.2018.09.005 

Kane, G. C., Palmer, D., Philips Nguyen, A., Kiron, D., & Buckley, N. (2015). Strategy, Not Technology, Drives Digital Transformation. MIT Sloan Management Review & Deloitte. 

Küpper, D., Knizek, C., Ryeson, D., & Noecker, J. (2019). Quality 4 . 0 Takes More Than Technology. In Boston Consulting Group (BCG). https://www.bcg.com/publications/2019/quality-4.0-takes-more-than-technology.aspx 

Lee, J., Kao, H.-A., & Yang, S. (2014). Service Innovation and Smart Analytics for Industry 4.0 and Big Data Environment. Procedia CIRP, 16, 3–8. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.procir.2014.02.001 

Popkova, E. G., Ragulina, Y. V., & Bogoviz, A. V. (2019). Fundamental differences of transition to industry 4.0 from previous industrial revolutions. Studies in Systems, Decision and Control, 169, 21–29. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-94310-7_3 

Radziwill, N. (2018). Let’s Get Digital: The many ways the fourth industrial revolution is reshaping the way we think about quality. Quality Progress, ASQ, p. 24-29, October, 0–10. 

Ralea, C. (2020). Looking to the future: Digital transformation of quality management. 13th International Management Conference “Management Strategies for High Performance”, Bucharest, Romania., January. 

Sader, S., Husti, I., & Daroczi, M. (2017). Total Quality Management in the Context of Industry 4 . 0. Synergy International Conferences - Engineering, Agriculture and Green Industry Innovation, June 2018, 9001. 

Shubin, T., & Zhi, P. (2017). “Made in China 2025” and “industrie 4.0”-in motion together. In The Internet of Things: Industrie 4.0 Unleashed. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-54904-9_7 

Sony, M., Antony, J., & Douglas, J. A. (2020). Essential ingredients for the implementation of Quality 4.0: A narrative review of literature and future directions for research. TQM Journal, 32(4), 779–793. https://doi.org/10.1108/TQM-12-2019-0275 

Vial, G. (2019). Understanding digital transformation: A review and a research agenda. In Journal of Strategic Information Systems. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsis.2019.01.003 

Zonnenshain, A., & Kenett, R. S. (2020). Quality 4.0—the challenging future of quality engineering. Quality Engineering, 32(4), 614–626. https://doi.org/10.1080/08982112.2019.1706744