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Reading. Qualityis the act of overseeing all activities and tasks needed to maintain a desired level of excellence
Qualityis the act of overseeing all activities and tasks needed to maintain a desired level of excellence. This includes creating and implementing quality planning and assurance, as well as quality control and quality improvement. It is also referred to as total quality management (TQM).
The quality of something can be determined by comparing a set of inherent characteristics with a set of requirements. If those inherent characteristics meet all requirements, high or excellent quality is achieved. If those characteristics do not meet all requirements, a low or poor level of quality is achieved. Quality is, therefore, a question of degree. As a result, the central quality question is: How well does this set of inherent characteristics comply with this set of requirements?
Product quality is the collection of features and characteristics of a product that contribute to its ability to meet given requirements. Early work in controlling product quality was on creating standards for producing acceptable products. By the mid-1950s, mature methods had evolved for controlling quality, including statistical quality control and statistical process control. During the 1960s, these methods and techniques were extended to the service industry. During 1960–1980, there was a major shift in world markets, with the position of the United States declining while Japan and Europe experienced substantial growth in international markets. Consumers became more conscious of the cost and quality of products and services. Firms began to focus on total production systems for achieving quality at minimum cost. This trend has continued, and today the goals of quality control are largely driven by consumer concerns and preferences.
There are three views for describing the overall quality of a product. First is the view of the manufacturer, who is primarily concerned with the design, engineering, and manufacturing processes involved in fabricating the product. Quality is measured by the degree of conformance to predetermined specifications and standards, and deviations from these standards can lead to poor quality and low reliability. Second is the view of the consumeror user. To consumers, a high-quality product is one that well satisfies their preferences and expectations. A third view relating to quality is to consider the product itself as a system and to incorporate those characteristics that pertain directly to the operation and functionality of the product. This approach should include overlap of the manufacturer and customer views.
David Garvin, a professor at the Harvard Business School, has identified eight dimensions of quality:
- reliability (dependability of a product or service to perform properly over time);
- conformance (how the product meets desired standards and tolerances such as size, consistency of color, etc.);
- durability (how long a product will last under various conditions);
- serviceability(the ease of repair or maintenance of a product);
- aesthetics (how a product looks, feels, sounds, tastes and smells);
- perceived quality (the reputation of the product, its name and label).
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