Like beauty and truth, quality is in the eye of the beholder, your customer. Quality is an ever evolving perception by the customer of the value provided by a product. It is not a static perception that never changes but a fluid process that changes as a product matures (innovation) and other alternatives (competition) are made available as a basis of comparison.
Quality and excellence are not what you say they are. Quality and excellence are what your customers say they are. Customers of your products and services define quality!
Quality involves both hard and soft numbers. Actual quality is a hard number that companies often have measured precisely. It is quality from the point of view of the manufacturer. Perceived quality and expected quality are soft numbers that measure quality from the customer point of view. Perceived quality is the quality of product received by the customer. Expected quality is the quality expected by the customer before receiving the product. These three measures form a product quality model: perceived quality = actual quality - expected quality. To keep perceived quality above zero, managers should: define customer needs through talking with customers; pay attention both to customer desires and expenditures of resources; realize that industrial engineering and human behavior both have impact on product delivery; and emphasize processes that have the flexibility to respond to customer feedback.
Customers want quality that is appropriate to the price that they are prepared to pay and the level of competition in the market.
Key aspects of quality for the customer include:
• Good design – looks and style
• Good functionality – it does the job well
• Reliable – acceptable level of breakdowns or failure
• Durable – lasts as long as it should
• Good after sales service
• Value for money
The objective of “Quality" is to satisfy the ever-changing needs of our customers, suppliers and employees, with value added products and services emphasizing a continuous commitment to satisfaction through an ongoing process of education, communication, evaluation and constant improvement.