From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about quality in a business
context. For other uses, see Quality
Quality in business, engineering and
manufacturing has a pragmatic interpretation as the
non-inferiority or superiority of something.
Quality is a perceptual, conditional and somewhat subjective
attribute and may be understood differently by different people.
Consumers may focus on the specification quality
of a product/service, or how it compares to competitors in the
marketplace. Producers might measure the conformance
quality, or degree to which the product/service was
Numerous definitions and methodologies have been created to
assist in managing the quality-affecting aspects of business
operations. Many different techniques and concepts have evolved to
improve product or service quality. There are two common
quality-related functions within a business. One is quality
assurance which is the prevention of defects, such as
by the deployment of a quality management system and
preventative activities like FMEA.
The other is quality control which is the
detection of defects, most commonly associated with
testing which takes place within a quality management system
typically referred to as verification and validation.
The common element of the business definitions is that the
quality of a product or service refers to the perception of the
degree to which the product or service meets the customer's
expectations. Quality has no specific meaning unless related to a
specific function and/or object. Quality is a perceptual,
conditional and somewhat subjective attribute.
The business meanings of quality have developed over
time. Various interpretations are given below:
- ISO 9000: "Degree to
which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements." The
standard defines requirement as need or expectation.
- Six Sigma: "Number
of defects per million opportunities."
- Philip B.
Crosby: "Conformance to requirements."
The requirements may not fully represent customer expectations; Crosby treats this as a
- Joseph M.
Juran: "Fitness for use."
Fitness is defined by the customer.
- Noriaki Kano
and others, present a two-dimensional model of quality: "must-be
quality" and "attractive quality." The
former is near to "fitness for use" and the latter is what the
customer would love, but has not yet thought about. Supporters
characterize this model more succinctly as: "Products
and services that meet or exceed
- Robert Pirsig: "The result of care."
Taguchi, with two definitions:
- a. "Uniformity around a target value." The
idea is to lower the standard deviation in outcomes, and
to keep the range of outcomes to a certain number of standard
deviations, with rare exceptions.
- b. "The loss a product imposes on society after it is
definition of quality is based on a more comprehensive view of the
- American Society for
Quality: "A subjective term for which each person has his or
her own definition. In technical usage, quality can have two
- a. The characteristics of a product or service that bear on its
ability to satisfy stated or implied needs;
- b. A product or service free of deficiencies."
Drucker: "Quality in a product or service is not what the
supplier puts in. It is what the customer gets out and is willing
to pay for."
Edwards Deming: concentrating on "the efficient production of
the quality that the market expects," and he
linked quality and management: "Costs go down and productivity goes
up as improvement of quality is accomplished by better management
of design, engineering, testing and by improvement of
- Priyavrat Thareja: "Quality is quantitative measure of
perfection @ the customer's preference".
- Gerald M. Weinberg: "Value to some
- Alex Steffen:
"Quality is Wealth" 
- Kenneth Pipke: "A robust definition requires that all of the
following conditions are met simultaneously--The product or service
is designed, produced and delivered: BETTER, that is without defect
and meets the needs, wants and desires of the end user; FASTER,
both from a task time and cycle time perspective; EASIER for every
worker involved in creating and delivering the product or service;
and CHEAPER for everyone in the supply, production, distribution
and user chain.
The dimensions of quality refer to the attributes that quality
achieves in Operations Management
- Quality supports Dependability
- Dependability supports Speed
- Speed supports Flexibility
- Flexibility supports Cost
Quality <-> Dependability <-> Speed <->
Flexibility <-> Cost
In the manufacturing industry it is commonly stated that
“Quality drives productivity.” Improved productivity is a source of
greater revenues, employment
opportunities and technological advances. However, this has not
been the case historically, and in the early 19th century it was
recognised that some markets,such as those in Asia, preferred
cheaper products to those of quality Most
discussions of quality refer to a finished part, wherever it is in
the process. Inspection, which is what quality insurance usually
means, is historical, since the work is done. The best way to think
about quality is in process control. If the process is under
control, inspection is not necessary.
However, there is one characteristic of modern quality that is
universal. In the past, when we tried to improve quality, typically
defined as producing fewer defective parts, we did so at the
expense of increased cost, increased task time, longer cycle time,
etc. We could not get fewer defective parts and lower cost and
shorter cycle times, and so on. However, when modern quality
techniques are applied correctly to business, engineering,
manufacturing or assembly processes, all aspects of quality - customer satisfaction
and fewer defects/errors and cycle time
and task time/productivity and total cost, etc.-
must all improve or, if one of these aspects does not improve, it
must at least stay stable and not decline. So modern quality has
the characteristic that it creates AND-based benefits, not
The most progressive view of quality is that it is defined
entirely by the customer or end user and is based upon that
person's evaluation of his or her entire customer experience. The
customer experience is the aggregate of all the touch points that
customers have with the company's product and services, and is by
definition a combination of these. For example, any time one buys a
product one forms an impression based on how it was sold, how it
was delivered, how it performed, how well it was supported etc.
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Quality management systems -- Fundamentals and vocabulary.
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