Tuesday, 30 August 2011



Everyone has had experiences of poor quality when dealing with business organizations. These experiences might involve an airline that has lost a passenger’s luggage, a dry cleaner that has left clothes wrinkled or stained, poor course offerings and scheduling at your college, a purchased product that is damaged or broken, or a pizza delivery service that is often late or delivers the wrong order. So, what is the exact definition of Quality.

Although Quality is a vague concept up to some extent, but we can still define it. So, we define "Quality of a Product" as the degree of its excellence and fitness for the purpose.
Although, some of the quality characteristics can be specified in quantitative terms, but no single characteristics can be used to measure the quality of a product on an absolute scale. 

Quality of a product means all those activities which are directed to
  (i) Maintaining and improving such as setting of quality targets,
           (ii) Appraisal of conformance
          (iii) Taking corrective action where any deviation is noticed
          (iv) And planning for improvements in quality.

Quality is a measure of the user satisfaction provided by a product, it includes
            (i) Functional efficiency
           (ii) Appearance
          (iii) Ease of installation and operation
          (iv)  Safety reliability
           (v) Maintainability
          (vi) Running and maintenance cost
         (vii) Continued fault free service/ after-sales service.

There are two elements of quality, namely 

(i) Quality of Design
(ii) Quality of Conformance.

Quality is initially created by the designer in the form of product specifications and manufacturing instructions where as the design provides user satisfaction, the product must be conformed to the design.

Making quality a priority means putting customer needs first. It means meeting and exceeding customer expectations by involving everyone in the organization through an integrated effort. Total quality management (TQM) is an integrated organizational effort designed to improve quality at every level.

So, to be a successful brand a product must possess the best quality. But, how does one build quality into a product?

It is obvious that inspection alone can not build quality into a product unless quality has been designed and manufactured into it.

The quality of a product in a company is determined by the philosophy, commitment, and the quality policy of the top management and the extent to which these policies can be put into actual practice.

TQM is about meeting quality expectations as defined by the customer; this is called customer-defined quality. However, defining quality is not as easy as it may seem, because different people have different ideas of what constitutes high quality. Let’s begin by looking at different ways in which quality can be defined.

Total quality management (TQM):
"An integrated effort designed to improve quality performance at every level
of the organization."

Customer-defined Quality:
"The meaning of quality as defined by the customer."

Conformance to Specifications:
"How well a product or service meets the targets and tolerances determined by its designers."

Fitness for Use:
"A definition of quality that evaluates how well the product performs for its intended use."

Value for Price Paid:
"Quality defined in terms of product or service usefulness for the price paid."

Quality Control and User-defined Characteristics of Quality:

The perception of quality is heavily dependent upon the types of processes adopted to maintain the quality of the product during manufacturing and distribution of the product. Those processes are called as Quality Control processes. In modern concept of quality control, mainly TQC or Total Quality Control, Quality Assurance and Quality Management have been termed as "QUALITY CONTROL".

Quality of a product is determined by the combined effects of various departments such as Design, Engineering, Purchase, Production and Inspection.

Quality is perceived differently by different people, but understood by almost everyone. The customer as a user takes the quality of fit, finish, appearance and performance in a manufactured product where as service quality may be evaluated on the basis of the "degree of satisfaction".

As the customer has the final saying about the quality of a product; therefore, the measurable characteristics in a product or service are basically translation of the customer needs.

Once the specifications are developed depending upon the customer satisfaction, next the ways to measure as well as monitor the characteristics should be devised.

This becomes the basis of further improvement or continuous improvement of the product or the service.

The ultimate objective of all the processes is to ensure the customer satisfaction so that they become ready to pay for the product or the service.

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