Monday 24 December 2018

What is Quality?

What is Quality

Quality can be interpreting as "Customer's expressed and implied requirements are met fully". This is a core statement from which some eminent definitions of quality have been derived. They include: "the totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bears on its ability to meet a stated or implied need" [ISO, 1994], "fitness for use" [Juran, 1988], and "conformance to requirement" [Crosby, 1979]. It is important to note that satisfying the customers' needs and expectations is the main factor in all these definitions.

Therefore, it is an imperative for a company to identify such needs early in the product/service development cycle. The ability to define accurately the needs related to design, performance, price, safety, delivery, and other business activities and processes will place a firm ahead of its competitors in the market. In 1992 Crosby broadened his definition for quality adding an integrated notion to it: "Quality meaning getting everyone to do what they have agreed to do and to do it right the first time is the skeletal structure of an organization, finance is the nourishment, and relationships are the soul."


Some Japanese companies find that "conformance to a standard" too narrowly reflects the actual meaning of quality and consequently have started to use a newer definition of quality as "providing extraordinary customer satisfaction".

There is a trend in modern day competition among Japanese companies to give you rather more in order to 'delight' you. So when you buy a lamp bulb which has a 'mean time between failure' of 1,000 hours, the Japanese manufacturer will try their best to ensure that you can get at least 20% more. Likewise, when you buy a Japanese brand video tape specifying 180 minutes, it can normally record up to 190 minutes. When you buy a 'mink' coat from a department store in Japan, they would invite you to store the fur coat in their temperature-control room during the hot summer season free-of-charge. They call these extra little things as 'extra-ordinary customer satisfaction' or 'delighting the customers'

Definition of Quality

Despite being in use for nearly 50 years, the term TQM still poses problems of definition for writers on quality, and consequently often remain a rather abstract term. There are a number of well-known quality definitions. ISO 8402 [ISO, 1986] defines quality as "the totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bears on its ability to meet a stated or implied need". [Crosby, 1979] defines quality as "conformance to requirement". [Juran, 1988] defines quality as "fitness for use". Japanese companies found the old definition of quality "the degree of conformance to a standard" too narrow and consequently have started to use a new definition of quality as "user satisfaction" [Wayne, 1983].

Table below defines quality from the view point of different quality professionals and to provide a conceptual scheme for the discussion of TQM. This can be classified in three sections: Customer-base, Service and Manufacturing-base, and Value-based definition.

Customer-based Definitions

  • Edwards [1968] Quality consists of the capacity to satisfy wants...

  • Gilmore [1974] Quality is the degree to which a specific product satisfies the wants of a specific consumer. ·

  • Kuehn & Day [1962] In the final analysis of the marketplace, the quality of a product depends on how well it fits patterns of consumer preferences.

  • Juran [1988] Quality is fitness for use.

  • Oakland [1989] The core of a total quality approach is to identify and meet the requirements of both internal and external customers.

Value-based definitions

  • Broh [1982] Quality is the degree of excellence at an acceptable price and the control of variablity at an acceptable cost.

  • Feigenbaum [1983] Quality is the degree to which a specific product conforms to a design or specification

  • Newell & Dale [1991] Quality must be achieved in five basic areas: people, equipment, methods, materials and the environment to ensure customer’s need are met.

  • Kanji [1990] Quality is to satisfy customers’ requirements continually; TQM is to achieve quality at low cost by involving everyone’s daily commitment.

Why is there a need for TQM?

"In order to compete in a global economy, our products, systems and services must be of a higher quality than our competition. Increasing Total Quality is our number one priority here at Hewlett-Packard."

-- John Young, President of Hewlett-Packard

From the four examples of corporate visions and mission statements below, it is apparent that all these companies want to provide good quality goods and services to their customers. The end result is that they will enjoy prosperity and long-term growth.

Example 1:

Dow Chemicals (by H.H. Dow, Founder)
"A premier global company, dedicated to growth, driven by quality performance and innovation, committed to maximizing our customers' successes, and always living our Core Values."

Mission Statement (Core Values):

  • Long-term profit growth is essential to ensure the prosperity and well-being of Dow employees, stockholders, and customers. How we achieve this objective is as important as the objective itself. Fundamental to our success are the core values we believe in and practice.

  • Employees are the source of Dow's success. We treat them with respect, promote teamwork, and encourage personal freedom and growth. Excellence in performance is sought and rewarded.

  • Customers will receive our strongest possible commitment to meet their needs with high quality products and superior service.

  • Our Products are based on continuing excellence and innovation in chemist-related sciences and technology.

  • Our Conduct demonstrates a deep concern for ethics, citizenship, safety, health and the environment.

Example 2:

Sea-Land (by A.J. Mandl, Chairman and CEO)
"A unique transportation-distribution capability"

Mission Statement:

  • Sea-Land is driven by the requirements of its customers.

  • Sea-Land's strategy is to strengthen its competitive advantages by linking all global transportation elements into a cohesive system supported by an array of information services that customers clearly value.

  • The company's assets and capital, operational enhancements, organisational structure and marketing initiatives are all focused on this goal.

  • We are convinced that this strategy secures a vigorous and prosperous future for Sea-Land and each one of its employees.

Example 3:

Matsushita Electric (by K. Matsushita, Founder)
"Profits are linked to growth and that investments which promote growth will eventually pay off in the long term."
Mission Statement:

  • National service through industry,

  • Fairness,

  • Harmony and co-operation,

  • Strive for betterment,

  • Courtesy and humility,

  • Assimilation to the society, and

  • Gratitude.

Example 4:

Leicester Business School, De Montfort University (by J. Coyne, Head of School)
"By the year 2000 we want to be recognized amongst the leading Business School in Britain. With our critical mass and full range, full function approach to Business we aim to be 'The Best of the Big.'"
Mission Statement:

  • Be recognize as a major provider of high quality teaching, research, management development and consultancy, servicing clients regionally, nationally and internationally.

  • Provide a supportive working environment, with staff and students enjoying facilities of the highest standards attainable within the resources available.

  • To contribute fully to the creation of a major international University of the Year 2000.

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