Quality refers to the ability of a product or service to consistently meet or exceed customer requirements or expectations.
Identify the different aspects and determinants of product quality
- Some of these consequences of poor quality include loss of business, liability, decreased productivity, and increased costs.
- Good quality has its own costs, including prevention, appraisal, and failure.
- Successful management of quality requires that managers have insights on various aspects of quality such as understanding the costs and benefits of quality and recognizing the consequences of poor quality.
- Understanding the determants of quality, such as design of the product and the “ease of use” of the product, will help managers price the products accordingly.
- return on quality: An internal management approach that evaluates the financial return of investments in quality.
- quality: The ability of a product or service to consistently meet or exceed customer requirements or expectations.
Broadly defined, quality refers to the ability of a product or service to consistently meet or exceed customer requirements or expectations. Different customers will have different expectations, so a working definition of quality is customer-dependent. When discussing quality one must consider design, production, and service. In a culmination of efforts, it begins with careful assessment of what the customers want, then translating this information into technical specifications to which goods or services must conform. The specifications guide product and service design, process design, production of goods and delivery of services, and service after the sale or delivery.
Some of these consequences of poor quality include loss of business, liability, decreased productivity, and increased costs. However, good quality has its own costs, including prevention, appraisal, and failure. A recent and more effective approach is discovering ways to prevent problems, instead of trying to fix them once they occur. This will ultimately decrease the cost of good quality in the long run.
There are several costs associated with quality:
- Appraisal costs – costs of activities designed to ensure quality or uncover defects
- Prevention costs – costs of prevention defects from occurring
- Failure costs – Costs caused by defective parts or products or by faulty services
- Internal failures – failures discovered during production
- External failures – failures discovered after delivery to the customer
- Return on quality (ROQ) – an approach that evaluates the financial return of investments in quality
Successful management of quality requires that managers have insights on various aspects of quality. These include defining quality in operational terms, understanding the costs and benefits of quality, recognizing the consequences of poor quality and recognizing the need for ethical behavior. Understanding dimensions that customers use to judge the quality of a product or service helps organizations meet customer expectations.
Dimensions of Product Quality
- Performance– main characteristics of the product
- Aesthetics– appearance, feel, smell, taste
- Special features– extra characteristics
- Conformance – how well the product conforms to design specifications
- Reliability– consistency of performance
- Durability– the useful life of the product
- Perceived quality– indirect evaluation of quality
- Service-ability– handling of complaints or repairs
Determinants of Quality
- Quality of Design – intention of designers to include or exclude features in a product or service. The starting point of producing quality in products begins in the “design phase”. Designing decisions may involve product or service size, shape and location. When making designs, designers must keep in mind customer wants, production or service capabilities, safety and liability, costs, and other similar considerations.
- Quality of conformance – refers to the degree to which goods and services conform to the intent of the designer. Quality of conformance can easily be affected by factors like: capability of equipment used, skills, training, and motivation of workers, extent to which the design lends itself to production, the monitoring process to assess conformance, and the taking of corrective action.
- Ease of use – refers to the ease of usage of the product or services for the customers. The term “ease of use” refers to user instructions. Designing a product with “ease of use” increases the chances that the product will be used in its intended design and it will continue to function properly and safely. Without ease of use, companies may lose customers, face sales returns, or legal problems from product injuries. Ease of use also applies to services. Manufacturers must make sure that directions for unpacking, assembling, using, maintaining, and adjusting the product are included. Directions for “What to do when something goes wrong” should also be included. Ease of use makes a consumer very happy and can help retain customers.