Quality means to produce a good or service which meets customer expectations. The products should be free of faults or defects. Quality is important because it:

  • establishes a brand image
  • builds brand loyalty
  • maintains good reputation
  • increase sales
  • attract new customers

If there is no quality, the firm will

  • lose customers to other brands
  • have to replace faulty products and repeat poor service, increasing costs
  • bad reputation leading to low sales and profits

There are three methods a business can implement to achieve quality: quality control, quality assurance and total quality management.

Quality Control

Quality control is the checking for quality at the end of the production process, whether a good or a service.
Advantages:

  • Eliminates the fault or defect before the customer receives it, so better customer satisfaction
  • Not much training required for conducting this quality check

Disadvantages:

  • Still expensive to hire employees to check for quality
  • Quality control may find faults and errors but doesn’t find out why the fault has occurred, so the it’s difficult to solve the problem
  • if product has to be replaced and reworked, then it is very expensive for the firm

 

Quality Assurance

Quality assurance is the checking for quality throughout the production process of a good or service.

Advantages:

  • Eliminates the fault or defect before the customer receives it, so better customer satisfaction
  • Since each stage of production is checked for quality, faults and errors can be easily identified and solved
  • Products don’t have to be scrapped or reworked as often, so less expensive than quality control

Disadvantages:

  • Expensive to carry out
  • How well will employees follow quality standards?

 

Total Quality Management (TQM)

Total Quality Management or TQM is the continuous improvement of products and production processes by focusing on quality at each stage of production. There is great emphasis on ensuring that customers are satisfied. In TQM, customers just aren’t the consumers of the final product. It is every worker at each stage of production. Workers at one stage have to ensure the quality standards are met for the product in production at their stage before they are passed onto the next stage and so on. Thus, quality is maintained throughout production and products are error-free.

TQM also involves quality circles and like Kaizen, workers come together and discuss issues and solutions, to reduce waste ensure zero defects.

Advantages:

  • quality is built into every part of the production process and becomes central to the workers principles
  • eliminates all faults before the product gets to the final customer
  • no customer complaints and so improved brand image
  • products don’t have to be scrapped or reworked, so lesser costs
  • waste is removed and efficiency is improved

Disadvantages:

  • Expensive to train employees all employees
  • Relies on all employees following TQM– how well are they motivated to follow the procedures?

 

How can customers be assured of the quality of a product or service?

They can look for a quality mark on the product like ISO (International Organization for Standardization). The business with these quality marks would have followed certain quality procedures to keep the quality mark. For services, a good reputation and positive customer reviews are good indicators of the service’s quality.

 

 

 

Notes submitted by Lintha

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