Quality is a subjective topic. Different people experience the same product differently. For example, how hot should your coffee be? Each one has a different measure, and this affects how they perceive the quality of the coffee.
In more technical terms, quality is the set of characteristics of a product (or service) which have an impact on its capacity to satisfy the needs of clients. Hence, quality can be measured in tangible characteristics, such as dimensions, weight, volume, but also in subjective non-measured ones, such as color, taste, smell, appearance.
Quality for the customers
For customers, quality is observed and perceived via different characteristics of the product: its performance, availability of accessories, reliability, customer service, durability, specifications, aesthetics, etc.
Quality for a company
For a company, quality does not only rely on the production department but also marketing, engineering, purchasing, maintenance, customer service, etc.
The costs of quality
Cost is a key issue for most companies. Costs to control quality involve prevention and inspection, and this are incurred to guarantee good products reach the market.
On the other hand, costs of poor quality involve internal failure, such as those for waste and repairs when errors are detected before the products are delivered, and external failure costs, which are incurred once errors are detected after the product has hit the market.
Types of quality control
There are two main types of techniques used in quality control management. The first one is acceptance sampling, and the other is statistical process control.
In acceptance sampling, the technique consists of measuring predetermined characteristics in a random sample of an item and to decide whether to accept or reject the entire lot based on the results obtained for the sample. Its critics say that it assumes that some bad products are tolerated and should still reach the market.
In statistical process control, on the other hand, one measures predetermined characteristics in a random sample of an item being produced to determine if the process is producing the items according to the desired specifications. If the results are not within the established limits, the production process must be adjusted. In another post we cover the details of each of these methods. Stay tuned!