God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference. (Serenity Prayer, Reinhold Niebuhr)
Quality is a subjective term for which each person or sector has its own definition. In technical usage, quality can have two meanings: 1. the characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs; 2. a product or service free of deficiencies. According to Joseph Juran, quality means “fitness for use;” according to Philip Crosby, it means “conformance to requirements.” (ASQ)
- Quality is conformance to requirements (keeping the promise made, meeting the specifications, and free from deficiencies).
- Quality is fitness for use (does that it is intended to do, what it costs users when it doesn't do what it is supposed to do).
- Quality is meeting customer expectations (satisfying the customer, whatever the customer says it is, whatever the customer perceives it to be).
- Quality is exceeding customer expectations (belief that it exceeds needs and expectations, delighting the customer).
- Quality is superiority to competitors (how they compare to competitors and your products of the past, perceived of excellence of the brand). Employees in an organization have opinions, beliefs, traditions, and practices concerning quality. We will call this set of characteristics the “company quality culture”.
Customers are anyone who is affected by the service, product or process. External customers include ultimate users (current and potential) and also intermediate processors, as well as retailers. External customers clearly are of primary importance. Internal customers include other divisions of a company that are provided with information or components for an assembly and also departments or persons that supply products to each other.
Dimensions of Quality
- Performance – the basic operating characteristics of the product or service
- Features – what extra characteristics does the product or service have, beyond the basic performance operating characteristics
- Reliability – how long the product can go between failures or the need for maintenance
- Durability – What is the useful life for a product – how will the product hold up under extended or extreme use?
- Conformance – Was the product made or service performed to specifications?
- Aesthetics – how well does the product or service appeal to the senses?
- Serviceability – How easy it is to repair, maintain or support the product or service?
- Perceived quality – what is the reputation or image of the product or service?
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