Measures of Quality
- functions and features
- support levels and standards
- cost of ownership (repairs etc)
- brand image
- market reputation
Importance of Quality
- Markets are highly competitive
- Customers are increasingly:
- knowledgable and demanding
- prepared to complain about poor quality
- able to share information about poor quality via the internet
- If a business can develop a reputation for high quality then it may be able to create an advantage over its competitors.
Quality is every stage, not just the product. It includes:
- the buying process
- product reliability
- cost of ownership
- after-sales service
Just having a high quality product may not be enough. People won’t be happy about the product if they have to wait 6 months for delivery, for instance.
Quality Control → Inspecting finished products for any faults and removing them
Quality assurance → Designing a process in such a way that defects do not happen
Total Quality Management → An approach which recognises the contribution made by everyone in the organisation.
Quality Standards → A system of monitoring achievement in relation to certain targets.
Not benefits of improving quality
- better skills for employees
3 ways in which better quality may help a business to be more profitable
- Better reputation means more repeat customers and word of mouth marketing
- Higher quality products will likely last longer, meaning that they may provide better value to customers than the competition
- People are willing to pay a higher price for a quality product, meaning markups could be increased
Briefly explain why a business might have an increase in the number of fault goods being returned
If a fault has occurred somewhere in the production process and has not been picked up by any quality management processes, then they may have batches of products that are faulty and do not meet the expectations of their customers. This may result in many customers being unsatisfied with the product and will likely lead to a spike in returns.
It is also possible that an external factor to the production process may be causing issues, such as careless handling of the products in logistics, which could cause damage to perfectly fine units and require the business to replace them.
Other options: New staff, problems with raw materials, faulty machinery etc
Quality and the Law
- Products must meet a minimum standard set out by the law.
This includes the likes of:
- Satisfactory Quality
- Fit for purpose
- As described
Quality Control - detecting faulty output
- The traditional way of managing quality and means a business will be checking and reviewing work that has already been done.
Quality control is mainly about “detecting” faulty output rather than preventing it
Quality control can also be a very expensive process as there may be a large number of rejects before a problem is spotted.
You could measure low quality by looking at:
- Customer feedback/reviews
- Customer surveys
- Quality checks at the end of production
- Mystery Shoppers
For Quality Assurance see the QA doc via search.
Benefits to improving quality
If a business improves the quality of their processes ir the products and services offered it may:
- Motivate the employees to be working with better machinery or systems
- reduce the cost from waste and reworking faulty goods
- less time wasted sorting customer complaints
Difficulties of improving quality
- Once a quality assurance system has been implemented it will need to be checked regularly to make sure employees are filling in the paperwork and following new principles.
- New quality procedures may require an entire company culture shift which will take time.
- Can be expensive at the start especially if better machinery has been purchased.