Need of Quality Management
In any sphere of activity, we expect quality. If we are the customers, we expect quality in the products or service that we require. Similarly, our customers expect quality in the products or services delivered by us. Customers have also become more informed and highly demanding, and have a higher degree of expectations. In this scenario, it is important to understand the concepts of quality and the related framework for a business to survive and compete in the global environment.
Any organization with a focus on customer satisfaction, operational efficiency, improved market share, cost optimization, and better risk management needs to apply quality principles. Quality management has evolved from the concepts of just ‘inspection’ to Total Quality Management and to the usage of tools and techniques such as Six Sigma, Lean, etc. These play an important role in organizational development.
What is Quality Management
Quality is fitness for use” – Juran
“Quality is a product‟s ability to satisfy human needs” – A user-based definition of Quality
Concept of Quality
Even before we define the meaning of the term „Quality‟, most of you may be aware of it based on experience, expectation, perception, and judgment. Quality is nothing but the practices adopted by companies to meet or exceed the customer expectations.
Quality in the Service Sector
Quality is typically applicable in the manufacture of goods. However, it can also be applicable in the delivery of services.
“ The Quality management system involves a set of processes, procedures, Guideline and templates for the management of quality in an organization .
Quality Revolution and its Historical Development
The roots of the Quality movement can be traced back to the 13th century, when craftsmen were operating in medieval Europe. Goods without defects were marked with a specialised symbol. These symbols, made by the inspection committees and by the craftsmen themselves, denoted a sign of Quality for their customers. Thus, the master craftsmen ensured a form of Quality control by inspection of the crafted items prior to selling them.
Various Eras of Quality Evolution
In a nutshell, the concept of Quality that was initiated in the ancient times has been evolving steadily on a continuous basis. Figure 1.1 displays the complete evolution of Quality that could be presented over four different eras.
Let us discuss briefly the four eras of quality evolution.
In the inspection era, the focus was on inspecting goods before shipping them to the customer, and rejecting those that were defective.
2. Statistical Quality Control Era
The Statistical Quality Control era highlighted the significance of the Quality of a process that creates a product. The focus was on deployment of statistical techniques to determine the stability of a process.
3. Quality Assurance Era
In the Quality Assurance era, the trend shifted from a reactive approach to a more proactive approach. The shift was from a scenario of inspection and Quality control to that of defect prevention.
4. Strategic Quality Management Era
The Strategic Quality Management era highlighted the significance of Total Quality and had a greater focus on principles of Total Quality Management and its deployment. In this era, the shift was towards aligning Quality with business strategies, and linking Quality processes with business excellence.