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Quality management can be seen as the entire organization as all functions helped in designing and producing quality. Quality is not just an act of production but something the organization should strive to provide for the customer.

Quality is defined as meeting or exceeding customer requirements now and in the future. Making the product or service fit for the customer’s use. Quality is one of the four key objectives of operations besides cost, flexibility and delivery.

DIMENSIONS OF QUALITY

Eight dimensions of product quality management can be used at a strategic level to analyze quality characteristics. The concept was defined by David Garvin.

There are eight such dimensions of quality. These are:

1. Performance:

It involves the various operating characteristics of the product. For a television set, for example, these characteristics will be the quality of the picture, sound and longevity of the picture tube.

2. Features:

These are characteristics that are supplemental to the basic operating characteristics. In an automobile, for example, a stereo CD player would be an additional feature.

3. Reliability:

Reliability of a product is the degree of dependability and trustworthiness of the benefit of the product for a long period of time.

It addresses the probability that the product will work without interruption or breaking down.

4. Conformance:

It is the degree to which the product conforms to pre- established specifications. All quality products are expected to precisely meet the set standards.

5. Durability:

It measures the length of time that a product performs before a replacement becomes necessary. The durability of home appliances such as a washing machine can range from 10 to 15 years.

6. Serviceability:

Serviceability refers to the promptness, courtesy, proficiency and ease in repair when the product breaks down and is sent for repairs.

7. Aesthetics:

Aesthetic aspect of a product is comparatively subjective in nature and refers to its impact on the human senses such as how it looks, feels, sounds, tastes and so on, depending upon the type of product. Automobile companies make sure that in addition to functional quality, the automobiles are also artistically attractive.

8. Perceived quality:

An equally important dimension of quality is the perception of the quality of the product in the mind of the consumer. Honda cars, Sony Walkman and Rolex watches are perceived to be high quality items by the consumers.

QUALITY MANAGEMENT

Quality management ensures that an organization, product or service is consistent. It has four main components: quality planning, quality control,quality assurance and quality improvement. Quality management is focused not only on product and service quality, but also on the means to achieve it. Quality management, therefore, uses quality assurance and control of processes as well as products to achieve more consistent quality.

Walter A. Shewhart made a major step in the evolution towards quality management by creating a method for quality control for production, using statistical methods, first proposed in 1924. This became the foundation for his ongoing work on statistical quality control. W. Edwards Deming later applied statistical process control methods in the United States during World War II, thereby successfully improving quality in the manufacture of munitions and other strategically important products.

KEY NOTE: THE EIGHT PRINCIPLE FOR QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM STANDARD INCLUDE:CUSTOMERS FOCUS, Mutually beneficial supplier relationships, , LEADERSHIP,  PROCESS APPROACH, Factual approach to decision making, Involvement of People,  Continual improvement, System approach to management.

For more information on quality management visit ‘ the ask a question page’.

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