In this lesson, you’re expected to:
– learn about the different approaches to quality
– understand how to diagnose quality problems
Quality is consistent conformance to customers’ expectations.
• ‘Conformance’ implies the need to meet a clear specification (manufacturing approach).
• By ‘consistent’, the definition implies that conformance to specification is not an ad hoc event, but that the materials, facilities and processes have been designed and then controlled to ensure that the product or service meets the specification using a set of measurable product or service characteristics (the product-based approach).
• By ‘expectations’, the definition implies what customers are likely to accept.
• One person may perceive a long-haul flight as an exciting part of a holiday, while the person in the next seat may see it as a necessary chore to get to a business meeting.
• One person may perceive a car as a status symbol, while another may see it merely as an expensive means of getting from home to work.
Also, in some situations, the customer may be unable to judge the technical aspects of quality.
For example, after a visit to the dentist, it might be difficult for a customer to judge the technical quality of the repair of a tooth except insofar as it does not give anymore trouble. The customer may in reality perceive quality in terms of such things as the dress and demeanor of the dentist and technician and how they were treated.
Perceived quality is governed by the magnitude and direction of the gap between customers’ expectations and their perception of the product or service.
• Gap 2: the concept-specification gap
• Gap 3: the quality specification-actual quality gap
• Gap 4: the actual quality-communicated image gap