Quality – definition, types, traditional and modern concept (2of2)

published in: Educational articles

02 Mar


In part 1 "Do we perceive the quality the same way“, the term quality was not defined.

Who determines the quality? – The customer does. Quality product or service is the one that the consumer buys repeatedly.

In general, quality is meeting and exceeding customer expectations at a price that he is willing to pay to possess the product or service.

The second part of the definition is dictated by the following example. In the second half of the 20th century, a laser mice trap was produced. It resolved all problems the standard mechanical traps had. It didn’t not require cleaning or corpse disposal. It was easy be reloaded, and the victims were not tortured for hours but experienced an instant death... But the price was so high that only 6 pieces were sold. Customer expectations were exceeded, but they were not willing to pay for this super high quality. qualityAnd no customers - no product and no quality.

The figure, to the right, shows the instruments that influence the quality and its perception by the customer.
While collecting material for this article I came across three quality types that worth mentioning:
Desired quality (DQ) – satisfying customer needs.
Regulatory quality (RQ) - required by the standards of the country, in which the product or service is being sold.
Actual quality (AQ) - achieved by the manufacturer.
Usually:  DQ> RQ> AQ

Quality is the first job - according to Mitsubishi corp.

D. Harvin, professor at Harvard University considers that the quality has passed through four stages:
      s1) inspection - quality control is applied upon the produced quantity
      s2) partial - a representative sample quality control is done to assess the quality of the whole quantity
      s3) "quality guaranteed" - based on the hypothesis that the prevention of wastage is cheaper and more efficient than its repairing.
      s4) strategic quality management – integrates the best practices from the previous three stages, but unlike them it does not consider quality as a problem requiring solution, but as a tool in the competitive struggle for market success.

Some of the differences between traditional and modern view of quality are presented in the following table:

Traditional concept
Modern concept
Some minor defects and deviations are acceptable.
The goal is to have defects-free products and services.
Low quality is due to poor working people.
Automation is the key to higher quality. Low quality is due to poor labor management. Sincere evaluation and respect for people is the key to higher quality.
Higher quality means higher costs, reduced profits and makes production harder.
Higher quality creates higher profits. It is the major production target.
Control finished products quality and remove the low quality ones.
Improve the processes in advance to eliminate the reasons for the low quality.
The quality control department is a separate unit, checking the finished products.
Quality is everyone's business. Its total control includes all production phases.
Buy only from the cheapest suppliers. Compete suppliers to lower your overall costs.
Buy from quality and reliable suppliers. Even if you split your profit with such a supplier, you will win.
Quality depends only on production.
Quality depends on all phases of the production process - from the design till the delivery and after-sales service.
Business inventories are necessary to ensure a continuous process. Idle workers are direct net loss.
Maintaining surplus stocks sharply deteriorates economic performance. Idle workers are diverted to other useful activities.



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