Definition of Product Quality
It is not easy to define the word Quality since it is perceived differently by the different set of individuals. If experts are asked to define quality, they may give varied responses depending on their individual preferences. These may be similar to following listed phrases.
According to experts, the word quality can be defined either as;
- Fitness for use or purpose.
- To do a right thing at first time.
- To do a right thing at the right-time.
- Find and know, what consumer wants?
- Features that meet consumer needs and give customer satisfaction.
- Freedom from deficiencies or defects.
- Conformance to standards.
- Value or worthiness for money, etc.
Dr. Joseph Juran coined a short definition of quality as;
“Product's fitness for use.”
Juran's definition of quality is quite simple and popular one. However, it doesn't directly convey an in depth meaning of quality needed by managers who are faced to decide on selecting a right course of action.
To understand Juran's concept of quality, managers must study distinctions made in the following figure.
Image credit and reference © “Juran's Quality Handbook,” 5th Edition.
Hence, based on the above discussion, definition of product quality can be stated as follows:
“Product quality means to incorporate features that have a capacity to meet consumer needs (wants) and gives customer satisfaction by improving products (goods) and making them free from any deficiencies or defects.”
Meaning of Product Quality
Product quality mainly depends on important factors like:
- The type of raw materials used for making a product.
- How well are various production-technologies implemented?
- Skill and experience of manpower that is involved in the production process.
- Availability of production-related overheads like power and water supply, transport, etc.
Product quality has two main characteristics viz; measured and attributes.
- Measured characteristics includes features like shape, size, color, strength, appearance, height, weight, thickness, diameter, volume, fuel consumption, etc. of a product.
- Attributes characteristics checks and controls defective-pieces per batch, defects per item, number of mistakes per page, cracks in crockery, double-threading in textile material, discoloring in garments, etc.
Based on this classification, we can divide products into good and bad.
So, product quality refers to the total of the goodness of a product.
The five main aspects of product quality are depicted and listed below:
- Quality of design : The product must be designed as per the consumers' needs and high-quality standards.
- Quality conformance : The finished products must conform (match) to the product design specifications.
- Reliability : The products must be reliable or dependable. They must not easily breakdown or become non-functional. They must also not require frequent repairs. They must remain operational for a satisfactory longer-time to be called as a reliable one.
- Safety : The finished product must be safe for use and/or handling. It must not harm consumers in any way.
- Proper storage : The product must be packed and stored properly. Its quality must be maintained until its expiry date.
Company must focus on product quality, before, during and after production:
- Before production, company must find out the needs of the consumers. These needs must be included in the product design specifications. So, the company must design its product as per the needs of the consumers.
- During production, company must have quality control at all stages of the production process. There must have quality control for raw materials, plant and machinery, selection and training of manpower, finished products, packaging of products, etc.
- After production, the finished-product must conform (match) to the product-design specifications in all aspects, especially quality. The company must fix a high-quality standard for its product and see that the product is manufactured exactly as per this quality standard. It must try to make zero defect products.
Importance of Product Quality
Image depicts importance of product quality for company and consumers.
- For company : Product quality is very important for the company. This is because, bad quality products will affect the consumer's confidence, image and sales of the company. It may even affect the survival of the company. So, it is very important for every company to make better quality products.
- For consumers : Product quality is also very important for consumers. They are ready to pay high prices, but in return, they expect best-quality products. If they are not satisfied with the quality of product of company, they will purchase from the competitors. Nowadays, very good quality international products are available in the local market. So, if the domestic companies don't improve their products' quality, they will struggle to survive in the market.