Characteristics of Quality, Quality Assurance

02/02/2021 0 By indiafreenotes

Generally, it can be said that product is of satisfactory quality, if it satisfies the consumers/user. The consumer will buy a product or service only if it suits his requirements.

Therefore, consumers’ requirements are first assessed by marketing department and then the quality decision is taken on the basis of the information collected.

Eight dimensions of product quality management can be used at a strategic level to analyze quality characteristics. The concept was defined by David A. Garvin, formerly C. Roland Christensen Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School (died 30 April 2017). Garvin was posthumously honored with the prestigious award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Case Method’ on 4 March 2018.

Some of the dimensions are mutually reinforcing, whereas others are not improvement in one may be at the expense of others. Understanding the trade-offs desired by customers among these dimensions can help build a competitive advantage.

  • Performance: Performance refers to a product’s primary operating characteristics. This dimension of quality involves measurable attributes; brands can usually be ranked objectively on individual aspects of performance.
  • Features: Features are additional characteristics that enhance the appeal of the product or service to the user.
  • Reliability: Reliability is the likelihood that a product will not fail within a specific time period. This is a key element for users who need the product to work without fail.
  • Conformance: Conformance is the precision with which the product or service meets the specified standards.
  • Durability: Durability measures the length of a product’s life. When the product can be repaired, estimating durability is more complicated. The item will be used until it is no longer economical to operate it. This happens when the repair rate and the associated costs increase significantly.
  • Serviceability: Serviceability is the speed with which the product can be put into service when it breaks down, as well as the competence and the behavior of the service person.
  • Aesthetics: Aesthetics is the subjective dimension indicating the kind of response a user has to a product. It represents the individual’s personal preference.
  • Perceived Quality: Perceived Quality is the quality attributed to a good or service based on indirect measures.

Quality Characteristics:

An element which makes a product/item fit for use is the quality characteristics. The quality characteristics also mean a process by which the fitness for use can be translated into the technologists’ language for managing the quality. The quality characteristics are also classified into categories called ‘parameters’ of fitness for use.

Two such major parameters are known as:

(i) Quality of design

(ii) Quality of conformance

The quality of design is concerned with consumers’ satisfaction by variation in quality of products popularly called “grades”. In contrast the quality of conformance is the extent to which the products/ items and services conform to the intent of design.

The process capability, inspection and process control is involved in achieving this conformance so that product/goods produced meet the pre-decided specifications.

Quality Assurance

Quality assurance (QA) is a way of preventing mistakes and defects in manufactured products and avoiding problems when delivering products or services to customers; which ISO 9000 defines as “part of quality management focused on providing confidence that quality requirements will be fulfilled”. This defect prevention in quality assurance differs subtly from defect detection and rejection in quality control and has been referred to as a shift left since it focuses on quality earlier in the process (i.e., to the left of a linear process diagram reading left to right).

The terms “quality assurance” and “quality control” are often used interchangeably to refer to ways of ensuring the quality of a service or product. For instance, the term “assurance” is often used as follows: Implementation of inspection and structured testing as a measure of quality assurance in a television set software project at Philips Semiconductors is described. The term “control”, however, is used to describe the fifth phase of the Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control (DMAIC) model. DMAIC is a data-driven quality strategy used to improve processes.

Quality assurance comprises administrative and procedural activities implemented in a quality system so that requirements and goals for a product, service or activity will be fulfilled. It is the systematic measurement, comparison with a standard, monitoring of processes and an associated feedback loop that confers error prevention. This can be contrasted with quality control, which is focused on process output.

Quality assurance includes two principles: “Fit for purpose” (the product should be suitable for the intended purpose); and “right first time” (mistakes should be eliminated). QA includes management of the quality of raw materials, assemblies, products and components, services related to production, and management, production and inspection processes. The two principles also manifest before the background of developing (engineering) a novel technical product: The task of engineering is to make it work once, while the task of quality assurance is to make it work all the time.

Quality Assurance Process steps:

  • Plan: Organization should plan and establish the process related objectives and determine the processes that are required to deliver a high-Quality end product.
  • Do: Development and testing of Processes and also “do” changes in the processes
  • Check: Monitoring of processes, modify the processes, and check whether it meets the predetermined objectives
  • Act: A Quality Assurance tester should implement actions that are necessary to achieve improvements in the processes