The term “quality” has a lot of definitions. And in the actual sense, “quality” is a difficult concept to define with any precision. A very fundamental definition of quality is the ability of a product or service to meet the expectations of the customer. This definition is still not all-encompassing. To get a more encompassing definition, the following 8 dimensions have to be considered.
This is when the product or service performs according to expectations and design, within its defined tolerance. When a product or service is not performing according to specification, it usually results in contention between customers and suppliers. The performance of product or service often contributes to the profitability level and/or reputation of an organization.
In this case, the question of whether the product or services possess all of the features specified, or required for its intended purpose is considered. It should be noted that performance specifications doesn’t always define the features required in a product. In order to ensure high quality, suppliers designing product or services from performance specifications needs to be familiar with its intended uses, and maintain close relationships with the end-users.
This dimension answers the question of whether the products or services consistently perform within specifications. This dimension may be closely related to performance. Reliability is a key contributor to brand or company image. It is among the key dimensions of quality.
In this, does the product or service meet specification? If it’s designed on the basis of performance, does it perform as specified? If it’s developed on the basis of design specification, does it possess all of the features specified?
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This is determines how long a product will perform or last, and under specified conditions. This is closely related to warranty. Requirements for product durability need to be clearly stated within procurement contracts and specifications.
How easy is the product to maintain and repair? As the final users become more focused on Total Cost of Ownership than simple procurement costs, serviceability become progressively an important dimension of quality and criteria for product selection.
The look of a product is very important to end-users. The aesthetic properties of a product influence the identity of a company or its brand. Defect in a product that reduces its aesthetic characteristics including those that do not reduce or alter the other dimensions of quality, are often a cause for complaint or outright rejection.
Perception as often said, is reality. The product or service may possess the right proportion of the dimensions of quality, but may still have negative customer or poor public perceptions. An example is a high quality product having the reputation for being low quality because of poor service by installation or field technicians. If the product is not properly installed or maintained, and fails as a result, the failure is often associated with the product’s quality rather than the quality of the service it receives.
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Adebayo is a thought leader in continuous process improvement and manufacturing excellence. He is a Certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt (CSSMBB) Professional and Management Systems Lead Auditor (ISO 9001, 45001, ISO 22000/FSSC 22000 etc.) with strong experience leading various continuous improvement initiative in top manufacturing organizations.
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