Quality, The World and You, yes you as an individual will make or break the objective of world quality. Quality is everyone’s responsibility, we all want quality, expect quality however when our name is called up to perform/apply quality in our OWN life and work we often follow the “route of least resistance”.
No, it’s not just the Quality Manager’s job, No it’s not just the president of the company’s job, it’s yours and mine. We need to ask ourselves why Quality has taken a back seat to Safety? Why has quality not been placed on equal level of importance as SAFETY. The two are inherently, by the sheer nature of risk & critically, eternally
joint at the hip. Embracing, promoting and Participating in World Quality Day 2011 is one of the best mediums for our Quality Community to accomplish the global goal of elevating Quality to its rightful status.
In its broadest sense, quality is a degree of excellence: the extent to which something is fit
for its purpose.
In quality management, quality is defined as all of the characteristics of a product or service
that affect its ability to do its stated and implied functions. Quality is also rapidly embracing
the nature or degree of impact an organization has on its stakeholders, environment and
However, specifications are an imprecise means of conveying subjective aspects – not
everything can be reduced to figures or measurable characteristics. For instance, the
characteristics of friendliness or courtesy in a service industry are difficult to measure
reliably and repeatedly. Therefore, conformance to requirements is not necessarily all there
is to achieving quality.
Quality is the result of a comparison between what was required and what was provided.
It is judged not by the producer but by the receiver. The judgement can be made of an
intention, as is the case when selecting suppliers, or an output, as is the case when purchasing
a product or service.
The only true measure of acceptable quality is customer satisfaction, which takes into
account both objective and subjective interpretations of the needs and expectations of
customers. If customers are satisfied with the products and services offered, the organization
has not only correctly interpreted customer needs and expectations but it is also providing
products and services of acceptable quality.
Customer needs and expectations are constantly changing. Awareness of new technology,
legislation, problems, competitor products or services creates new wants for customers.
Wants turn into demands when these customers begin their next purchase. Therefore, it is
vital for organizations to constantly improve quality so that satisfied customers are retained
as well as created.
Value is not a price tag but a measure of the benefits derived from a product or service for
what is given in return. A product may well meet physical and functional requirements but
be overpriced when compared to others of the same class and grade. Alternatively, the same
product may be on offer at another store for 50 per cent less, indicating exceedingly good
value for money. In an effort to reduce costs, some organizations have forgotten that it is the
quality of the complete transaction that counts. Getting product quality right while ignoring the
human relationship between customer and supplier will not lead to satisfied customers.
Quality is not perfection, a standard, a procedure, a measure or an adjective. No amount
of inspection changes the quality of a product or service. Quality does not exist in isolation
– there has to be an entity, the quality of which is being discussed. Quality is not a specific
characteristic of an entity but the extent to which that characteristic meets certain needs.
The value of the characteristic is unimportant – it is how its value compares with customer
needs that signifies its quality.
Every business exists not to make a profit, as many would have us believe, but to create
and retain satisfied customers. A business would have no profits if it failed to create and
retain satisfied customers. Providing products and services which meet customer needs and
expectations creates satisfied customers. Anticipating future needs and expectations retains
satisfied customers. Therefore, quality is vital to the survival of every enterprise.
What does quality apply to?
Every product, service, process, task, action and decision can either be acceptable or
unacceptable. Hence, there is an intrinsic quality in everything that an organization does.
Everyone must pay attention to quality, from the chief executive to those working on the
shop floor, across all functions in an enterprise. It is just as important for support staff to pay
attention to quality as for production staff.
One can only be responsible for doing something relative to quality. Hence a person can be
Assigning responsibility means giving a person who is responsible for a particular quality
output the right to cause things to happen. Alongside this right, the authority to control the
processes which deliver quality output should also be delegated.
One manager cannot be made responsible for quality within an organization unless that
manager is the CEO. All that a specialist manager, such as a quality manager, can do is to
enable others to achieve quality by providing encouragement, leadership, training, tools,
techniques and performance data. However, it is important for someone in the business
to provide leadership and results on quality performance, and this person needs special
knowledge and skills.
Several methods have evolved to achieve, sustain and improve quality. They are known as
quality control, quality improvement and quality assurance – collectively known as quality
management. Quality management is not the preserve of one manager but of all managers.
Quality is achieved through a chain of processes, each of which has to be under control and
subject to continual improvement. The chain starts with top management expressing a firm
commitment to quality, then: