QUALITY: “Quality is not an act. It is a habit.”- Aristotle. Gravin (1988) comprised quality to the following six stages:
(1) Transcendent: Quality cannot be defined, and can be recognized only when the product is used, or the service is expired.
(2) Product-based: Quality can be judged by the presence or absence of particular characteristics of the product itself. If they are present, quality can be said to be present.
(3) Manufacturing-based: This concept states that quality exists if the product meets original specifications. A failure to meet the standards completely represents a lack of quality.
(4) User-based: The next stage recognized customer’s wants, expectations, needs & requirements and that they had to be met. Until the customer was completely satisfied, quality did not exist.
(5) Value-based: The current thinking is that there is a quality/cost trade-off. The concept extends beyond that, and
(6) Includes a philosophy and a system approach to QM.
In a word, Quality is the totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs. Quality is perceived as consisting of following eight dimensions:
· Performance: What a customer expects it to do.
· Features: Desirable characteristics.
· Reliability: Not malfunction or break down.
· Conformance: Meet specified standards.
· Durability: Have a long life.
· Serviceability: Easy and cheap to repair.
· Aesthetics: Look good.
· Perceived quality: Value in the eyes of the customer.
TOTAL QUALITY MANAGEMENT (TQM)
TQM is a strategic commitment by top management of an organization for changing its total approach to business and to make quality a guiding factor in everything the organization does. It is not a tool or technique but a philosophy for management that is characterized by 3 principles: Customer focus and satisfaction, Continuous improvement and Teamwork.
TQM tools and techniques
Beyond the strategic context of quality, managers can also rely on several specific tools and techniques for improving quality. Some are introduced here:
(1) American Society for Quality Control (ASQC) is the organization that officially represents those working in the area of quality management in
(2) Benchmarking is the process of continually comparing an organization’s processes with other institutions that are deemed to be best-in-class.
(3) Continuous improvement is an ongoing commitment to improve product and/or service quality by constantly assessing and adjusting the processes and procedures used to make those products or deliver those services.
(4) Cost of quality is an idea popularized by Philip B. Crosby in his books Quality is Free. The Art of Making Quality Certain (1979) and Quality Without Tears. The Art of Hassle-free Management (1984).
Crosby’s idea is that lack of quality costs;
quality saves the company money.
(5) Outsourcing is the process of subcontracting services and operations to other firms that can do them cheaper and /or better. If a business performs each and every one of its own administrative and business services and operations, it is almost certain to be doing at least some of them in an inefficient and/or low-quality manner. If those areas can be identified and outsourced, the firm will save money and realize a higher-quality service or operation. Example- Eastman Kodak handled all its own computing operations.
(6) Deming Prize is an award given in
to organizations that is somewhat equivalent to the Baldrige Awards. A large
proportion of winners have produced innovations that combine statistical and
engineering methods and improve cost and quality through product and process
(7) ISO-9001 refers to a set of quality standards created by the International Organization for Standardization. The technical committee of ISO outlined 20 guidelines (and the subsections that accompany these) that set the foundation for generic ISO 9001 standards.
(8) Speed is the time needed by the organization to get something accomplished and it can be emphasized in any area, including developing, making and distributing products or services. A good illustration of the power of speed comes from General Electric.
(9) Employee Involvement is the participation of all employees, usually in teams, as problem solvers and solution implementers, in the improvement of quality within the workplace. The term had its beginning with the Ford Motor Company. Many organizations employ an outside consultant to assist them with the facilitation and training processes.
(10) Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award is a set of awards established in 1987 by the US Government to honor Malcolm Baldrige following his death in a plane crash. The award was established to honor ‘companies for their achievements in quality and business performance and to raise awareness about the importance of quality and performance excellence as a competitive edge (National Institute for Standards and Technology, 2003).
(11) Statistical Quality Control is a set of specific statistical techniques that can be used to monitor quality. Acceptance sampling involves sampling finished goods to ensure that quality standards have been met. Acceptance sampling is effective only when the correct percentage of products that should be tested (for example, 2, 5 or 25 percent) is determined.
All today’s managers need to understand & appreciate the importance of Total Quality. Specially, they need to understand the meaning of Quality as well as its importance. The ingredients of Total Quality Management are important in both large and small organizations today. Various TQM tools and Techniques are welcomed by Quality Managers.
Are you a quality manager?