Qualityhas a two-fold advantage:1.Quality reduces wastage and re-work. As a result, quality reduces costs. Contrary to popular perception, higher the level of quality, lower is the level of per-unit cost.2.A perception of superior qualityallows the firm to charge a premium(higher prices) for its products or services. The higher price results in higher profits.Thus, qualityis the only pillarof competitive advantagethat facilitatesthe simultaneouspursuit of cost leadershipand differentiation.Quality and Continuous ImprovementQuality management systems can assist organizations in enhancing the customer experience.Customers require products and services with characteristics and attributes that satisfy their needs and expectations. The characteristics and attributes that customers look for in products andservices can be termed Customer Requirements. The requirements may be explicit (as gatheredthrough surveys and listening to the Voice of the Customer), implicit (not expressed but welcome), or created (by the organization).Example:Consider the MP3 player. In its original form, it was a device to store and reproduce music. The device was bulky, had too many switches, and the sound quality was not great. The development and release of the iPodrevolutionized the industry. With its tracking wheel and superb sound quality in a miniature device, Applewas able to create a need to augment the then prevailing customer experience in personal music systems. Coupled with iTunes, the company established a new standard for downloading and enjoying music on the go.Quality and Continuous ImprovementA quality management systemcan providethe frameworkfor continual improvementto increase the probability of enhancing the customer experience even while meeting the expectations of other stakeholders (shareholders, employees, suppliers, and society). A well-orchestrated quality management system provides confidence to the organization and its stakeholders that it can roll out products and services that consistently meet or exceed requirements.