Deutsch: Degradierung / Español: Degradación / Português: Degradação / Français: Dégradation / Italiano: Degradazione

Degradation in the context of quality management refers to the decline in quality, performance, or condition of a product, service, or process over time. This concept is critical for understanding how and why products or services may fail to meet quality standards or customer expectations during their lifecycle. Managing degradation is crucial for maintaining quality, extending the lifespan of products and services, and ensuring customer satisfaction.


In quality management, degradation is often associated with wear and tear, obsolescence, or environmental factors that lead to a decrease in the functionality, appearance, or reliability of a product or service. Identifying the potential for degradation requires a thorough analysis of product design, material selection, manufacturing processes, and usage conditions. Effective quality management practices aim to predict, measure, and mitigate degradation through continuous improvement, rigorous testing, and adherence to maintenance schedules.

Application Areas

Degradation management is important in various sectors, including:

  • Manufacturing: Monitoring equipment and product wear to prevent unexpected breakdowns and ensure consistent product quality.
  • Software Development: Addressing software degradation (software rot) through regular updates and maintenance to ensure continued functionality and security.
  • Construction and Infrastructure: Implementing materials and designs that resist environmental degradation to ensure the longevity of structures.
  • Pharmaceuticals: Ensuring that products maintain their efficacy and safety up to the expiration date through stability testing.

Well-Known Examples

An example of managing degradation in quality management can be found in the automotive industry, where manufacturers conduct extensive durability testing to understand how different components of a vehicle will degrade under various conditions. This testing helps in designing cars that are capable of maintaining high performance and safety standards over time, thereby reducing the total cost of ownership for consumers.

Treatment and Risks

Failure to manage degradation effectively can lead to product failure, safety hazards, increased costs, and damage to the organization's reputation. Quality management strategies to mitigate these risks include implementing robust design principles, selecting high-quality materials, performing regular maintenance, and providing customers with clear usage and care instructions. Additionally, lifecycle assessment and feedback loops are crucial for understanding and addressing degradation issues.

Similar Terms or Synonyms

In the context of quality management, related terms to degradation include deterioration, wear and tear, and decline in quality.



Degradation in quality management denotes the gradual decline in the quality, performance, or condition of products, services, or processes. Understanding and managing degradation is essential for ensuring the longevity and reliability of offerings, fulfilling customer expectations, and sustaining brand reputation. Through proactive quality management practices, organizations can identify potential degradation factors and implement strategies to mitigate their impact.


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