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What Is Quality?


What is quality = how the recipient of the product or service views the product or service: before buying, upon delivery, and after the delivery-and use.


The meaning of quality differs depending upon circumstances and perceptions. For example, quality is a different concept when focusing on tangible products versus the perception of a quality service. The meaning of quality is also time-based or situational.


Common Meanings of Quality:


1- Quality is fitness for use:
*Quality means the product or service does what it is intended to do.

*Poor quality of a product or service cost users if it doesn't do what it is supposed to do.

2- Quality is meeting customer expectations:

*Quality is satisfying the customer.

*The customer defines quality.

*The customer perceives the quality of a product or service.

3- Quality is exceeding the customer expectations.

*Quality is the extent to which the customers or users believe the product or service surpasses their needs and expectations.

*Quality is delighting the customer.

4- Quality is superiority to competitors:

*Quality is how a company’s products and services compare to those of competitors or how they compare to those offered by the company in the past.



Examples of Quality Characteristics


For Products




Reasonable Price  

Ease of Use



Simplicity of Design  




 Ease of Disposal


For Service








 Understand the Customer              






Drivers of Quality:



In a customer-driven organization, quality is established with a focus on satisfying or exceeding the requirements, expectations, needs, and preferences of customers. Customer-driven quality is a common culture within many organizations.


2-Products / Services:

A culture of product / service-driven quality was popular in the early stages of quality improvement. Conformance to requirements and zero defect concepts have roots in producing a product / service that meets stated or documented requirements.

In some cases, product / service requirements originate from customer requirements, thereby creating a common link to customer-driven quality, but the focus of the culture is on the quality of the product/ service.

If the customer requirements is accurately stated and designed into the production / service delivery process, then as long as the product / service meet the requirements, the customer should be satisfied. This approach is common in supporting the ISO 9001-based quality management system.


3- Employee Satisfaction:

This concept is that an organization takes care of employee’s needs so that they can be free to worry only about the customer. Employee satisfaction is a primary measure of success for this type of organization.


4- Organizational focus:

Some organizations tend to focus on total organizational quality while others are quite successful at using a segmented approach to implementing quality.


Methods Of Quality Implementation:

1- Quality of design versus quality of conformance

The organization’s values, goals, mission, policies, and practices reinforce designing into the product or service rather than inspecting it in. emphasis is placed on doing the right things right the first time. The organization’s aim is to not only meet, to the letter, customers' requirements, but to exceed them wherever possible. Conformance is the norm. The organization’s overriding purpose is to excite the customers with extraordinary products and service.


2- Quality planning, control, and improvement

The focus of this dimension is for organizations to continually improve their products, services, processes, and practices with an emphasis on reducing variation and reducing cycle time. This dimension implies extensive use of the quality management tools, including cost of quality, process management approaches, and measurement techniques.


3- Little q and Big Q

Organizations focusing on quality control and inspection activities (little q) will fail to be fully effective they must transform their thinking to quality across organization (Big Q)


4- Quality is strategic

Quality, or the absence of it, has a strategic impact on the organization. Consumers buy certain products and request services based on their knowledge and perception of the organization and what it provides. Few buyers knowingly buy poor quality. Accumulated experiences and perceptions of customers ultimately make or break an organization.

The Baldrige Criteria doesn’t mention the word quality because every activity and decision contained in the structure of the criteria must be a quality activity or decision. Under this assumption, quality is built in to the very fiber of the organization. This is the preferred way to conduct the business of the organization.

More on What is Quality by Quality Assurance Solutions

This site is dedicated to providing unique solutions to quality assurance issues. Site discusses the best practices in QA, process improvement tools, and provides direction to achieving ISO 9001 registration. QA Solutions details advanced quality assurance methods such as auditing, calibration, data analysis, sampling plans, calibration, 8D problem solving and real time SPC.

Other links on Quality

Quality and Change Strategy

Reasons Quality Fails within a Business

Quality depends on definitions of data

Quality Management System for Non-Profit

Malcom Baldridge Award