What is Quality?
Quality, cost and productivity are still fundamental concerns for management worldwide. The concept of quality has been around us for a vary long time. The characters for quality appear in ancient Chinese and Indian writings. Quality is the vary essence of humanity. The concept of cost too has been around us for at least 10,000 years. Its beginning can be traced to the commencement of trade activities and bartering. Productivity, however, has been around us for only the past 200 years, with its beginnings, identified with the industrial revolution and reinforced with the advent of the Taylor system.
A new awareness of quality has dawned in the Indian economy. Quality of both products and services in organizations is being felt as the need of the hour. This is more so with greater thrust on exports and liberalization in Indian economy. Secondly, quality practices are coming to the fore. There is a missionary zeal in implementing TQM and getting ISO 9000 certification. Competitive environment demands a better quality of product or service at lower rates. Only those organizations which manage productivity and quality on a continuous basis are in a position to compete in increasingly competitive global marketplace. The impact of poor quality on any organisation leads to: (i) low customer satisfaction and low market share; (ii) low productivity, revenue and profit; (iii) low morale of workforce; (iv) more rework, material and labour costs; (v) poor quality of goods and services; (vi) high inspection cost; (vii) high process bottlenecks and delay in product shipment; (viii) higher work-in-progress inventory; (ix) high analysis and repair costs; and (x) high material wastage and scarp.
Quality is a customer’s determination and is certainly not a manufacturer’s determination. The modern view of quality is that products should totally satisfy the customer’s needs and expectations on a continuous basis. This new concept of quality calls for :
(i) well designed products with functional perfection – right the first time
(ii) prompt satisfaction of customer’s expectations,
(iii) excellence in service4 and
(iv) absolute empathy with customers.
- from 1870 – 1890Operator inspection
- Foreman verification from 1890 – 1920
- QC Department and 100 per inspection from 1920 – 1940
- QC Department and Statistical Quality Control (SQC) from 1940 – 1960
- Quality Assurance (QA) Department and Statistical Process Control (SPC) from 1960 – 1980
- TQM, QA department, Statistical quality department and statistical process control (SPC) from 1990 onward.