What is Quality?
Quality has become one of the most important factors of consumers decision in selecting a product among competing products (services). This phenomenon is wide spread regardless of the fact whether the consumer is an individual organisation, retail store, or a military defense programme.
The quality of products / services can be evaluated in several ways. It is important to identify different dimensions of quality Garrin (1987) discusses eight components or dimensions of quality as follows.
- Performance (Will the product do intended job?)
- Reliability (How often does the product fail?)
- Durability (How long does the product last?)
- Serviceability (How easy is it to repair the products?)
- Aesthetics (How the product looks like?)
- Features (What does the product do?)
- Perceived Quality (What is the reputation of the company?)
- Conformance to standards (Is the product made exactly as the design indented?)
Meaning of Quality Control
Quality control means several things:
- To lay down the desirable norm or standard of quality expected of the article or product or service. This factor again is composed of two attributes.
- The nature of the product.
- The consumer or user satisfaction that is expected of it. Thus for a sophisticated machine tool are an automobile part or aircraft component or a ball bearing the highest precision, quality and rigid tolerance are necessary. For an ordinary kerosene stove the different components need not observe such rigid quality standard.
- To lay down the desirable quality. Each article carries with it a quality assurance. Quality control seeks to establish production condition by which variations form the expected quality standard are minimized.
- Cost and quality have to be optimally matched. In fact almost any quality can be achieved if the price is paid for it. No businessman aims at achieving quality at any cost. Good business consists in co-ordinating cost and quality which leaves the best margin between cost and sales.
- The next point is to ensure that both excess quality and under-quality is avoided. Also the range and frequency of variability is minimized form the prescribes quality standard.
Aim of Quality Control
The Quality Control Technique (also called Statistical Quality Control because statistical methods are applied) aims at systematizing the data collection and data processing method on the shop floor from which objective interpretation can be made and conclusions drawn with measurable variances from the standard or ideal quality.
Quality control aims at prevention. In this sense it is to be distinguished from inspection. Acceptance inspection or control inspection operates by correcting methods and operations through observed results. Quality control aims at laying down norms of quality and establishing working condition which reduce the chance of variability and therefore aid conformity of result with the predetermined norm.
Read: Quality Control Tools
The benefits of quality Control can be summed up thus:
- Reducing faulty manufacture and therefore improving material usage, scrap rejection,spoilage and minimizing re-work cost, this leads to better consumer satisfaction, consumer reliability, reduced complaints and lower after sales services.
- Through better assurance standards a greater degree of standardization and inter-changeability is achieved, both within the own work and also among outside users of the components, spare parts or intermediary stores supplied by the company.
- Reduction in inspection cost.
- By stabilizing quality higher sales is obtained at the same price or an equal sale at a higher price. Assurance of quality and the goodwill for the brand name reduces selling and advertisement cost.
- It helps design efficiency by standardizing quality and identifying variables which operate in the quality area.
- It leads to improvement in prices, methods and operation by bringing out where improvement or modification is necessary.
- It improves quality-consciousness and a healthy rivalry for achievable quality in the works.