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WHAT IS QUALITY FOR A COMPANY?

Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution. It represents the wise choice of many alternatives. -Willa A. Foster Todays organizations outcry is to push for high quality products or services. Stiff global competition and problems with international trade have put an immense emphasis on quality. That is why the concept of quality is considered as the most important and vital phenomena in any organization. Every organization strives for quality improvement through different means because it is considered as an ultimate ambition of an organization. The word quality is a very abstract and subjective idea and it has different definitions under different circumstances. However simply it is level of excellence of something and this something in an organization can be a product, a service, a process or a system. According to Crosby it is conformance to requirements, Deming states it as a predictable degree of uniformity and dependability at low cost and suited to the market while Juran describes it as fitness for use (satisfies customers needs). Moreover quality has a great number of dimensions as we use it in a comprehensive way to encompass such positive things as reliability, durability, precision, longevity, ease of operation and repair, compatibility, safety, and style. A companys constant concern and attention to high quality standards is a worthy endeavor. Good quality could have a positive effect on lowering costs while increasing sales profits, market share, or level of customer loyalty. Many small businesses and organizations have found that the better product, additional services, or extra attention is a strong solution to the aggressive deep pocket marketers. A good and foresighted management tries to focus on the longevity of the quality and ensures that a good quality should not be short term. For a company, good quality is not a matter of accident or an unintentional activity rather it is a deliberate, continuous and a long term exercise of excellence in the processes of its systems. In this respect constant high standards make good long term economic sense for a company. Quality is a multi-facet phenomenon influences every aspect of a company. In this regard poor quality can cost a manufacturer about 25 percent of sales and is even more expensive to service organizations. The companies that provide quality products and services have surpassed their competitors due to their conformance to the quality. In general, businesses selling high quality products or services are more profitable that those that sell goods of lower quality. The value of lower prices is often short lived since competition will quickly match them. Thus lowering prices may have little relationship to

increasing market share and also advertising has only a minor impact on market share changes. As a customer focused business organization, good quality standards should be defined from the customers perspective and business must not assume that customers lack the capabilities or information to measure quality. Therefore, to succeed, quality must be in the eyes of the beholder- the customers. However customers will define quality in broad terms. They look at such factors as post-sale services, warranties, guarantees, location, convenience, packaging, and return privileges. The product must be carefully compared with the competition and this is why a company must let its customers state their own preferences and feelings about the level of quality. In this regard a company can make use of surveys, customer comment cards, observations, focus group sessions, and the like to gauge customers interests. Moreover the company should also rely on its sales force or business development managers, suppliers, and business partners who are in constant contact with the markets. Although customers are very important for a business organization yet there is a need of a holistic quality approach to produce good performance results. So suppliers of the business must match its own expectations for quality. The company tries to hire subcontractors which meet its high standards of quality otherwise their poor performance could destroy its business. Moreover employees of the company need to be concerned and committed to high quality standards too. In this respect during employee recruitment, selection, training, and performance appraisal a continuous stress should be on quest for quality. Employees who can deliver on the quality issue should be rewarded and visibly recognized. To maintain a level of high quality business, it may have to make some additional investments, for example, more finances may be needed for research and development, an advanced computer system, more telephone lines, additional service representatives, or more warehouse space for better customer delivery time. These are not simple and easy decisions since the benefits may not immediately be apparent for the company. Nevertheless, the investment for better products and services becomes a prudent budget decision instead of a nagging cost of doing business. Last but not least, the company should be careful if its business is growing rapidly because it is expanding so fast that quality is sometimes sacrifices either knowingly or accidentally. It may have been successful because of its excellent reputation for high quality but it loses this one essential trait that made it so successful when it loses sight of the original goals of quality. Hence a company should not push its business growth at the expense of lowering its high quality standards as this could even result in eventual failure.