Quality contributes directly to the development and execution of strategy. Products are differentiated.
Costs are lower. Response time is faster. Sales increase, and costs decline.
Quality products satisfy the stated or implied needs of a client. This requires three approaches to achieve
successful levels of quality. First, through excellent market research, customers provide their assessment
of needs. The information translates into attributes that define the product or service. Second,
manufacturing or service delivery systems organize to ensure that specifications are met or exceeded.
Doing these tasks correctly, helps keep a promise to meet the expectations of the customer.
The importance of quality manifests itself in many ways. Poor quality threatens company reputation,
liability, and competiveness. Poor quality drives up costs of all types. An investment that will improve
quality should have significant benefits that result in a high rate of return. Perhaps equally important are
the ethical benefits that occur with high quality products and services. Inadequate design and production
processes can lead to injuries, lawsuits, and regulation. Organizations that detect poor quality have a
responsibility to conduct themselves in an ethical manner, which might include recalling or discontinuing
Not only have organizations banded together to promote quality via competitions, countries have
promoted common standards. For example, ISO 9000 establishes procedures, documentation, work
instructions and recordkeeping. Organizations agree to an on-site assessment and on-going audit to obtain
and maintain certification. Later enhancements to the standard now focus additional attention on
leadership by top management and the requirements of the customer. ISO 14000 is another standard
whose focus is on environmental topics. Emphasis includes 1) environmental management, 2) auditing, 3)
performance evaluation, 4) labeling, and 5) lifecycle assessment. Finally, ISO 24700 certifies that an
organization reuses recovered components as “qualified good as new,” while also meeting all safety and
Total quality management (TQM) refers to a quality emphasis that encompasses the entire organization,
from supplier to customer. The approach requires constant effort at improving processes and products.
The need for continuous improvement has generated many management techniques. By approaching
problems with a plan, testing the plan, checking results, and implementing the plan with proper
documentation, solutions move toward perfection. Strategies include Six Sigma discipline and tools,
employee empowerment in making decisions, benchmarking against best practices, just-in-time (JIT)
production or delivery of goods as needed, and Taguchi concepts that focus attention on robustness, costs,
and quality targets.
Tools of TQM include check sheets, scatter diagrams, cause-and-effect diagrams, Pareto charts, flow