Quality is free. Think about that statement for a moment. I am one of those people who used to think that quality should cost but from understanding the real meaning of quality as explained by quality gurus like Crosby, Deming, Joseph Juran, Feigenbawn and my very interesting Quality Management lecturer – Dr Brodie ( I know my classmates wouldn’t agree with the “interesting” part but who cares 🙂 , I have been able to understand that quality is actually free. Really, to achieve a quality product or service standard, you don’t have to spend more, its free. Read on to understand what I mean.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, how is quality defined?. In simple terms – Quality is defined as conformance to requirement.
Quality is defined as conformance to requirement
Quality from the user’s point of view is defined as “fitness for use”. This definition by Juran is quite interesting because it exposes the fact that Quality is not “fancy features” that would not be used by the user, it is fitness for use. It is me saying I need A,B,C, and E features from a product and the product delivering the features that I need. Feigenbaum talked more about quality being an approach of “Right From The Start” i.e get it right from start and you wouldn’t need to spend more money or time on rework or customer fault reports.
If you do not work towards “getting it right from the start” , then Quality Costs!
Cost of Control implies the cost incurred inorder to make sure your product is of satisfactory quality. Such as : prevention cost, training and testing of equipments , appraisal cost , inspection and testing.
Cost of Failure Of Control implies cost incurred when the product is not of satisfactory quality and it has been sent to the end user. Such as: rework, amending and handling customer fault reports.
In a nutshell, Lindsey Brodie broke Quality down into 3 main keys.
- Quality of design: Decide the level of quality required – characteristics of the product or service such as grade of materials and performance specifications.
- Quality of conformance: The degree to which the design specifications are met or ‘conformance to requirements’
- Fitness for purpose: Means that the product can be used for the purpose it was intended. Usually considered more rigorous than ‘fitness for use’
I hope you have been able to get one or two insights from the true meaning of “quality”. This post is basically just to scrap the surface of the meaning and implication of quality, in subsequent posts, I will talk more about other quality measures and how you can make use of them the same way established brands does.
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