What is quality?
Quality means that products are made to acceptable standards or better. Quality standards are set by a group of customers and local quality authorities. For example, the quality of the washing-up liquid is set by customers who demand that one squirt should clean a family’s dirty plates. Poor quality washing-up liquid requires more squirts to do the same job. Quality standards are enforced by independent organizations such as the British Standards Institution, and firms can improve their quality by adjusting the way they work to meet these standards.
How to achieve quality?
Producing faulty goods incurs repair costs and damages the reputation of the firm, and firms usually try to maintain an acceptable level of quality to survive. There are two main approaches to achieve quality, including applying the quality control and quality assurance. In quality control, inspectors check finished products to examine if they meet the set standards and works as defect detection. Quality control tries to bridge the gap between set standards and actual performance and works on plans and inspection of results. While quality assurance is usually built into the production process with a focus on defect prevention and zero defects. In this way, everyone takes responsibility for delivering the desired quality. Introducing quality assurance requires the Total Quality Management, whereby managers create a business culture, operating systems and train employees to enforce the quality of the products.
How to ensure quality?
Businesses take preparatory actions to ensure that quality standards are met. Such actions include: –
Quality operating system: Developing and continually reviewing the quality operating system of a firm can lead to a better implementation of such a system and ensure achievements of quality goals.
Training: It is training staff to understand their roles and responsibilities. For instance, a business can ask a sample of customers if they are satisfied with their services.
Innovation: It is introducing new useful ideas and methods. A business can innovate to offer better deals to customers and outperform competitors. For example, firms can use online services to better serve their customers.
Customer feedback: It is collecting customer feedback regularly. This information helps businesses to improve their services.
Monitoring customer satisfaction: It is putting in place a system of measuring the satisfaction of customers. This system can help a business understand its customers better and improve its services.
Technology: Using technology when serving customers is helpful for businesses to improve their quality.
Evaluation and continual improvement: Testing the quality of inputs, processes and outputs can lead to the continual improvement of the quality system and outcomes.
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