Quality Assurance Chapter 33
Quality standards: the expectations of customers for a product or service • Quality product: a good or service that meets customers’ expectations
A product’s quality will be very different depending on the type of product, it’s price, the target market and the quality standards of another competitors. • For example: • A jet engine is expected to be made with the highest quality standards • However, if a piece of clothing was made to the same standards as a jet engine, it would make it too expensive because it does not need to be to high in quality. • A cheap good, like a light bulb, can still be considered of good quality if it lasts several years because it meets consumer expectations
There are two ways for businesses to achieve quality products: quality control and quality assurance.
Quality control • This is based on the inspection of a product or a sample of products. • There are three stages • Prevention: Quality should be designed into the product. If the design of the product follows consumer requirements the other two stages will be less significant. • Inspection: Quality is checked by inspecting the products at the end of the production process • Correction and Improvement: This is used to improve quality in the future.
Weaknesses of inspecting for quality • Products may be damaged in the inspection (e.g. dropping a product to see if it still works) and so a sampling method must be used. However, by checking only a sample of products it does not guarantee that all the products are of the same quality • The job of inspection can be a dull job, so inspectors may be demotivated • If checking only takes place at certain places in the production process, a product may go through several stages being faulty and so finding the source of the fault may take time • As the inspectors have full responsibility for checking the products, the workers will not feel like it is their responsibility and may produce lower quality output.
Quality Assurance • Asystem of agreeing on quality standards at each stage of production and meeting those standards in order to ensure customer satisfaction • Unlike quality control it does not focus on the finished product but puts emphasis on the prevention of poor quality (this is called ‘getting it right the first time’). • Workers check their own output against the agreed quality standards so that quality is ensured at each stage of production. • It also checks components, materials and services bought into the business at the point where it arrives, not at the end of the production process.
Advantages of quality assurance • Makes everyone responsible for quality • Self checking and making efforts to improve quality increases motivation • The system can be used to trace back quality problems to the stage of production where the problem could have occurred • Reduces need for expensive final inspection and correction of fault products.
ISO 9000 • An internationally recognised certificate that acknowledges the existence of a quality product that meets certain requirements. • This award is given to businesses that demonstrate that they have a high quality assurance system in place.
Total Quality Management (TQM) • An approach to quality that aims to involve all employees in the quality improvement process • Employees can no longer think that quality is someone else’s responsibility, TQM makes them consider everyone’s quality of work. All departments are expected to meet customer standards. • Lean Production: producing goods and services with a minimum of wasted resources while still maintaining high quality
TQM • Aims to get rid of the costs of faulty or defective products by encouraging staff to get it right the first time and achieve zero defects. • Zero defects: the aim of achieving perfect products every time • Internal customers: people within an organisation who depend on the quality of work being done by others. • For example: • A truck driver who drops off supplies to retailers is the internal customer. If the goods were not handled and loaded carefully and correctly, the driver will have to face the retailer for the damaged goods.
Activity! 1 Point Questions • What does TQM stand for? • Define quality product • An expensive product is always of higher quality than a cheap product. True or false?
Activity 2 Point Questions • What are the two ways for businesses to achieve quality products? • What is the difference between quality control and quality assurance? • What does the term “getting it right the first time” mean?
Activity 3 Point Questions • Describe the three stages of quality control • Name 3 advantages of quality assurance • What is an example of an internal customer?