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Quality Digest  |  11/01/2001

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Definition of Quality

How do you define it?


This is how our readers define quality. (Note: these definitions are straight from our database and have not been edited.)

"Quality itself has been defined as fundamentally relational:  'Quality is the ongoing process of building and sustaining relationships by assessing, anticipating, and fulfilling stated and implied needs.'

"Even those quality definitions which are not expressly relational have an implicit relational character.  Why do we try to do the right thing right, on time, every time?  To build and sustain relationships.  Why do we seek zero defects and conformance to requirements (or their modern counterpart, six sigma)?  To build and sustain relationships.  Why do we seek to structure features or characteristics of a product or service that bear on their ability to satisfy stated and implied needs?  (ANSI/ASQC.)  To build and sustain relationships.  The focus of continuous improvement is, likewise, the building and sustaining of relationships.  It would be difficult to find a realistic definition of quality that did not have, implicit within the definition, a fundamental express or implied focus of building and sustaining relationships."

--from Winder, Richard E. and Judd, Daniel K., 1996, ORGANIZATIONAL ORIENTEERING:  Linking Deming, Covey, and Senge in an Integrated Five Dimension Quality Model, In ASQC Seventh National Quality Management Conference Transactions. American Society for Quality.

(http://www.ldri.com/articles/96orgorient.html

— Quality is the customers' perception of the value of the suppliers' work output. 

 

— You can not separate the process and the human factor, therefore I believe that Quality, when built into a product, generates emotions and feelings within those who have taken part in it's creation.  When you have made something that you are proud of, when you have produced a product that  brings smiles to your customers, then you have achieved Quality.  You'll know it, they'll know it, and each of you will prosper from it. 

 

— Error-free, value-added care and service that meets and/or exceeds both the needs and legitimate expectations of those served as well as those within the Medical Center. 

 

— The word "Quality" represents the properties of products and/or services that are valued by  the consumer. 

 

— Quality is a momentary perception that occurs when something in our environment interacts with us, in the pre-intellectual awareness that comes before rational thought takes over and begins establishing order. Judgment of the resulting order is then reported as good or bad quality value.  

 

— We at Navy Medicine define quality as: delivering products and services to our customers which are faster, better, cheaper and newer.  

 

— There are two definitive types of "quality".

Quality of design

Quality of the process

Whether you are in discrete manufacturing, process manufacturing or a service related industry you have design issues of usability, comfort, and tolerance of durability beyond prescribe use and identity of "status" of design quality. In this regard, you do not have the axiom of "variation is inherent..."

The ability to live up to the "quality of design" is maintained by the "quality of the process" 

 

— My definition of Quality is way off from the traditional concept of Quality. My definition of Quality is:  "Reducing the variation around the target".

That means, it is very basic that  process limits are within the spec limits and process average is very close to the target. I think " Quality" concept should be AFTER the above condition. If that's so, strive should be reduce the variation of the process while maintaining the process average close to the target.  

 

— All your actions aimed at the translation, transformation and realization of customer expectations , converting them to requirements, both qualitatively and quantitatively and measuring your process performance during and after the realization of these expectations and requirements . 

 

— Quality is doing the right things right and is uniquely defined by each individual. 

 

— A product or process that is Reliable, and that performs its intended function is said to be a quality product.  

 

— The degree to which something meets or exceeds the expectations of its consumers. 

 

— "Conformance to *Valid* Requirements"

where to be valid, the requirements must be proven (in advance by management) to:

1) be achievable in operation

2) meet the needs of the intended user

making this a universal, operational and easy-to-use definition for the quality for all outputs from any work activity or process. 

 

— The definition depends on the purpose and for whom you are talking:

If you talk for your customers, then it is what ever he says it is, what he expect from the product or service.

If you talk to your company, to your people, then I follow  the Kano Model. There are three part of Quality:

1.  The Basic Q.  What absolutely must be. w/o  the customers  is dissatisfied.

2.   The Customer expected Q. achieve all and the customer is satisfied. I.e Six Sigma        helps to do that.

3.  The exciting Q.  The customer does not know it exist, is possible.

      This becomes tomorrow's expectation.

 

— This is our slogan, and our policy..."Quality" is to satisfy the ever-changing needs of our customers, vendors and employees, with value added products and services emphasizing a continuous commitment to satisfaction through an ongoing process of education, communication, evaluation and constant improvement. 

 

— Quality is meeting the customer's needs in a way that exceeds the customer's expectations. 

 

— "Quality is nothing more or less than the perception the customer has of you, your products, and your services"!  

 

— Definition of Quality:  "WOW"

RATIONALE: Suppose you were with your *soul mate*, *significant other* *spouse* etc. and after a relationship that person looked longingly into your eyes and said "That met the requirements!" or "There were no defects there!" or "That had all the value I wanted!" or "The degree of excellence was acceptable!. Wouldn't you rather have that person look into your eyes and say  "WOW!"?

SOURCE: I wish I could remember the specific phrase from the book/article, but over the years this has been my approach to the tricky question of how to define quality.

 

— "Quality is the extent to which products, services, processes, and relationships are free from defects, constraints, and items which do not add value for customers."

My definition of quality is included in our textbook entitled Strategic Quality Management:  A Strategic, Systems Approach to Continuous Improvement, published by Dame Publishing Company, a Division of Southwestern Publishing Company. 

 

— Clean, precise and flawless 

 

— Quality is a perceived degree of excellence with a minimum usually set forth by the customer. 

 

— Quality-The production of a commodity which conforms to standards applied to said commodity,be they mechanical standards, society's standards etc. 

 

— When the customer returns and the product doesn't. 

 

— When something is what you expect it to be then it is perceived as quality.

Thus, quality is a fulfillment of expectation.

 

— DFN for "Today's" Quality:

(Applies to all goods and services)

Quality =

Maximization of Perceived Value =

Fulfillment of Tangible and Intangible Expectations =

(Good or Service Performance + Customer Service)Attributes; Divided by Cost

 

— "Quality is the expression of human excellence."

 

— I came up with this concept at the AQC back in 1986.  We used it occasionally as a motto for the old Human Resources Division   

 

— Quality is... do what you have to do when you have to do it well done to satisfy your customer needs and make your product or service do what they suppose to do.    

 

— Quality is the the ability of a product or service to meet a customer's expectations for that product or service. 

 

— MEETS ALL CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS 

 

— The manufacture/distribution of a product/service which provides both tangible(quality product/service, low cost$$$) and intangible(customer satisfaction) value to the internal and external customer. 

 

— All those planned and systemic actions required to provide adequate confidence that a product or service will satisfy given requirements. 

 

— Never having to say you're sorry. 

 

— Consistent conformance to customer expectations 

 

— There are two forms of quality, and therefore two definitions and two forms of measurement.

1. OBJECTIVE quality is the degree of compliance of a process or its outcome with a predetermined set of criteria, which are presumed essential to the ultimate value it provides. Example: proper formulation of a medication.

2. SUBJECTIVE quality is the level of perceived value reported by the person who benefits from a process or its outcome. It may subsume various intermediate quality measures, both objective and subjective. Example: pain relief provided by a medication.

 

— Satisfy or exceed customer expectations at the minimum possible cost.

 

— Quality is to reach the costumer needs at low rates (costs) to the company and achieving employee satisfaction. 

Quality is an ever evolving perception by the customer of the value provided by a product.  It is not a static perception that never changes but a fluid process that changes as a product matures (innovation) and other alternatives (competition) are made available as a basis of comparison.

Example:

Just as the Model T was once thought of as a quality product, by today's standards, it is perceived by the customer as no longer fit for use as a general purpose item.  The product (a car) has evolved to something beyond the Model T both because of innovation and satisfying customer demand. 

 

— Crosby, Deming, Juran provide us a foundation.

Drucker then builds on the foundation to refer to products that a market accepts as value and is willing to pay for it.

To the quality department responsible for testing the product; quality (value) is awareness of defects and getting fixes or workarounds for customers

To the company that produces the product, quality (value) is measured by profit, forecasted opportunities and customer satisfaction.

To the companies that purchase the product, quality (value)is ease of use, performance and solving the business problem at hand.

Every definition has apparent "holes" in it, as Scott Paton often points out, but 

the bottom line is: once a customer has purchased your product do you get return business/referrals or do they look somewhere else ? obtaining customers is easier than maintain them.

My definition starts with Deming's:

"Variation is the enemy of Quality";(and I add)

"Uniformity is the enemy of Knowledge".

Given current status vis a vis expectations this couplet provides us a sense of direction. 

My definition appeared in "Last Word" in your October issue.  Essentially it boiled down to "Attention to Detail", I have been collecting definitions for awhile:

Quality is neither mind nor matter, but a third entity independent of the two, even though Quality cannot be defined, you know what it is.  (Persig, 1974)

Quality is fitness for use.  (Juran, 1974)

Quality means conformance to requirements.  (Crosby, 1979)

[Quality is] a system of means to economically produce goods or services which satisfy customers' requirements.  (Japanese Industrial Standards Committee, 1981)

Quality refers to the amounts of the unpriced attributes contained in each unit of the priced attribute. (Leffler, 1982)

Quality means best for certain conditions...(a) the actual use and (b) the selling price.  (Feigenbaum, 1983)

Quality] means that the organization's culture is defined by and supports the constant attainment of customer satisfaction through an integrated system of tools, techniques, and training.  (Sashkin & Kiser, 1993)

Quality is Job #1.

Quality First.

Quality, It's a Way of Life.

Quality Is Our Most Important Product.

Quality is a degree of excellence... (Webster)

Quality is the totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy given needs. (American Society for Quality)

Quality, an inherent or distinguishing characteristic, a degree or grade of excellence.  (American Heritage Dictionary, 1996)

 

— All aspects/features of a product (a good or a service) that bears on its ability to satisfy fitness for use, safety, and effectiveness.

This is the FDA's medical device regulations def'n of quality -and a pretty good one at that, as long as Juran's fitness for use is also defined and the word "grade" is defined close by to avoid excellence being used as a quality definition, e.g., Holiday Inn is a lower grade but not necessarily lower quality than Hyatt Hotel.  We need to weed out the definitions of quality that accidentally incur the notion of grade or excellence, since those can be purposefully set at a reduced level for pricing advantages without harm to quality (e.g., Honda Accord EX versus LX). 

 

— "That we shall get the right product to the right place at the right time while exceeding our customers expectations."

 

— Shorewood Packaging is a company dedicated to providing high quality, cost effective packaging products and services that satisfy customer requirements in a timely manner while achieving our profit, growth and leadership objective in selected markets.

Leadership in quality can only be accomplished by ongoing improvements and through the active participation of all employees.

QUALITY IS EVERYONE'S RESPONSIBILITY! 

 

— Working without hassles.

 

— Quality is unobtrusively meeting the needs of the customer. 

 

— Quality means providing customer with innovative products or services characteristics/attributes and defects free which provide fitness for use. 

 

— "Fitness for use" which I believe is actually one of Dr. Juran's definitions.  While it is simple in words the subtleties and nuances of its meaning is rather profound.  For example a well made ice box at the turn of this century (i.e., 1900s) was an exciting invention but refrigeration was more fit for use.  Yet, if the modern refrigerator can't maintain the proper temperature it is not quality, because it is not fit for the use it it intended. 

All that being said, I work in government, specifically a environmental regulatory agency dependent on highly technical and scientific information. Many refuse to believe that quality, by anyone's definition, does not fit in with how government works.  I believe that until it does then government will continue to lose the respect of "we the people."

 

— Having numerous customers in various different industries, "Quality" can mean different things to each Customer. To satisfy every customer "Quality Requirement" it simply comes down to "Conformance to Customer Specified Requirements."

 

— Exceeding the customer's product or service expectations by delighting them.  

 

— "Quality" is achieved by meeting or exceeding established process guidelines so that, regardless of the type of industry, a consistent outcome can be predicted.

 

— "Peace of Mind" 

 

— Quality is conformance to specified requirement & is never an accident 

 

— Quality goes beyond customer expectations.  Usually customers define the expectations or requirements based on what they know about the product or service and they do not take into consideration what they do not know about it (the error that does not exist cannot be missed should be part of the requirements).

 

— Quality today is a moving target because we ask for new requirements when something goes wrong and this is wrong. What is not part of the product or service, should be taken into consideration when Quality is defined.  

 

— I have to go along with Philip Crosby in defining quality as conformance to requirements. As a customer, there are certain things(requirements) that you expect in a product or service. When those things are not there then the customer is not satisfied and unhappy. 

Webster's definition of quality as "the degree of excellence which a thing possesses" is way to vague. Excellence is another term that is hard to define.

My boss loves to scuba dive. Recently he went on a deep dive of of the coast of Mexico. He also loves to collect watches. He had purchased an expensive Rolex divers watch. At a certain depth it leaked and was useless. He had to resurface and go back to using the old Timex that was deemed to be considerably less excellent or "quality". 

If the product or service does what the supplier says it will do and what the customer wants it to do, then it is a "quality" product or service. That's meeting requirements.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts on this always subject. I look forward to reading the results.

 

— Best value for the money 

 

— Our customers and competition define our quality status.

 

— When we can keep and acquire new customers/business, that shows an overall picture of our how well we are doing with the quality of our products.  Comments & Complaints from customers are the measuring system.

 

— Continuously improving upon our practices helps us to stay "in" with the competition.

 

— Quality is in the eyes of the beholder.  And in a business environment, the beholder is always the customer or client. In other words, quality is whatever the customer says it is.   

 

— My definition of Quality is production satisfactory to the customer and making a profit for the manufacturer.

 

— Quality Control is all the means by which the frequency of defects is reduced.  It includes quality planning, quality measuring and quality analysis. 

 

— A product or service that surpasses all requirements and endeavors beyond expectations. 

 

— QUALITY IS MEETING CUSTOMER REQUIREMENTS AT LOWER COST WITH BUILT IN PREVENTIVE ACTIONS IN THE PROCESSES AND EMPLOYEE/MANAGEMENT INVOLVEMENT ENSURING THE BEST PRODUCT TO THE CUSTOMER/END USER WITH JIT DELIVERY.

 

— Quality simply means delivering to the customer what they expected. Thus, for example, if a product:

- has the right configuration/features,

- does what it's supposed to do,

- is reliable,

- is delivered on-time, and

- is well-supported, then . . .

. . . it's a quality product! 

 

— 1. WOW!

2. Doing the right thing right, every time from the first time.

3. Working according to five elements:

a. Quality leadership

b. The customer is in the center

c. personal responsibility

d. measurement & improvement

e. Infrastructure

 

— The inherent features possessed by a product or service. 

 

— Quality, like truth is in the mind of believer. To define it is to misunderstand the infinite possibilities we are capable of achieving. There is no universal definition. Robert Pirsig went crazy trying to define it in his famous book; Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. There will always be rule-based thinkers who will attempt to regulate and proceduralize the rest of us who know there is no such thing as the right answer, only that which works for each of us. 

 

— Quality is being:

             Creative,

               Innovative,

                   Fluid and

                        Forthright             

 

— Quality is a customer perception of the value received for the price paid for the attributes of a product or service as they related to its fit, form, or function.  

 

— A degree of excellence. 

 

— "The ability of a company to identify their customers' requirements, then meet or exceed their expectations to the mutual benefit and satisfaction of both organizations." 

 

— Quality is doing right things right.  It is customer orientation, innovation, teamwork, and everyone's responsibility. 

 

— Quality is a "system" which produces a product, service, information or delivery, on target with minimal variance which meet or exceeds the customers needs, now and in the future.

 

— The reason that Deming (and thousands of others) "dance around a definition of quality" is that quality cannot be defined in principle.

1. Quality has no essence. To understand the implication of this point, ask yourself: Why would it be odd to conduct a survey of the meaning of the word bachelor? The answer is that the essence of the word bachelor, i.e., a man not yet married, is totally contained within the word. Quality contains no such essence. A dictionary definition such as "the degree of excellence a thing possesses" begs a slew of other questions.

2. Quality is abstract. Thinkers and writers have been trying to tackle big abstract words like knowledge and beauty for thousands of words. Why should quality be open to an absolute definition in a way that other abstract words are not?

3. The distinction between quality and quantity has become blurred. We once distinguished between quantity, that which could be measured and quality, that which could only be judged. Now quality, as far as the quality industry is concerned, is all about measurement. So what word do we have for that which cannot be measured? Has the idea of simply judging quality totally disappeared?

 

— The result of this inability to define quality is that most definitions will bear a resemblance to one another but none of them will be THE definition.

 

— In the face of this barrier, what are organizations to do? Rather than fruitlessly wrestling with a definition, they would be better off simply identifying what they want the world to look like once quality is better, e.g., the ratio of defects to opportunities will be improving, customers will be coming back and saying, unprompted, how much they value the product or service.

 

— The point is not to define quality but to produce it. And we can produce it even without a definition! 

1.  "Quality is variability."  Shewart

2.  "Quality is predictability."  Deming

3.  "Quality is a conformance to  

     requirements."  Crosby

4.  "Quality is a fitness for use."  Juran

5.  "Quality is the customer's opinion."  

Feigenbaum

For references, call me on (703)360-9134.

                               Henry Kling 

 

— Quality is complete satisfaction (Performance, Appearance & Longevity) at the lowest possible cost. 

 

— At Crescent Drilling & Production, Inc., we define Quality as, "the pursuit of excellence."  To always be reaching for a higher goal. 

 

— Quality is performance excellence as viewed by all stakeholders.  This is a Baldrige influenced definition and has profound implications.  We know that meeting end user needs relative to competitors is good but  not enough.  We must also meet societal, producer, owner and supplier needs.  Further, these needs reflect future as well as present needs.  Our smaller world requires this system view of quality. 

 

— Quality is meeting customer expectations. 

 

— Your quality level shows  the gap between your company and your dreams.

 

— Closer you are you know the meaning better.... 

 

— Quality is meeting the "stated" and "implied" needs of the customer.

- It is by Quality a customer can be satisfied, delighted and be retained for mutual benefit.

- "Face is the index of mind" , "Quality is the index of a product or service".

- Quality is not something extraordinary. It is something ordinary extraordinarily well. 

 

— "...When who comes back is the client, not the product..." 

 

— la bonne r�ponse � une demande 

A good answer to a demand 

 

— Providing product and service features which are free of deficiencies that create value for your customers and stakeholders.  

 

— I like the old standard definition of quality: Quality is meeting or exceeding your customers' expectations. 

 

— My simple definition follows me around no matter where I am, work, home, pleasure, etc.

         NO SURPRISES!!

If you really think about what goes on in your life, this works.   

 

— Reduction in variation. 

 

— The customers definition of Quality is the only one that counts. 

 

— The totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bears on its ability to satisfy given needs. 

 

— QUALITY IS NOT ACHIEVED BY DOING DIFFERENT THINGS. IT IS ACHIEVED BY DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY.


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Quality Digest’s picture

Quality Digest

For 33 years Quality Digest has been the go-to source for all things quality. With more than 40,000 opted-in subscribers, our newsletter, Quality Digest Daily, shares expert commentary and relevant industry resources to assist our readers in their quest for continuous improvement. Our website includes every column and article from the newsletter since May 2009 as well as back issues of Quality Digest magazine to August 1995. We are committed to promoting a view wherein quality is not a niche, but an integral part of every phase of manufacturing and services.

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