In today’s rapidly changing and yet more competitive international market quality has become something that more and more businesses are focused on. The reasons are very clear. In this market your strategy can either be to go about the price route (i.e. competing on price) or justifying the extra price by providing better quality product so that the customer gets the feeling of getting more out of the good or service for the price he pays.
On top of the obvious challenge customers today are much more demanding due to the amount of the information that is accessible to them as well as the fact they customers can much more easily share their information on poor quality of the product or service and therefore businesses have to take even further investments into the quality management as quality control in the supply chain.
Before the Industrial Revolution in the UK all the work in the manufacturing of the product was performed by one man and its reputation as well as pride for his craftsmanship usually assured the quality standards of the product. However, with introduction of the division of labour, early models of supply chain started to arise therefore killing the whole ‘natural’ quality control as there was no direct link to a craftsmanship as each worker was only doing his own part and therefore had no direct responsibility for the end product. As a result of the quality drop in the transition from craftsmanship to the supply chain manufacturing the quality inspection was introduced. George Stanley Radford in his “The control of Quality in Manufacturing” introduced the idea of the vast importance of quality considerations during a very early stage of product development. Further development and recognition of the importance of the quality management has led to the idea of linking the costs of prevention (i.e. quality management associated costs) to the costs related to the lack of quality.
It can be argued that there are four main factors that determine quality and if each one is managed and controlled the product or service may achieve superiority in the market. The first on being Quality of Design and it is vastly important for the designers to satisfy the needs and wants of the consumer and the kind of features that are important for various uses of the product. Secondly, Quality of conformance comes in place and it relates to the level of conformance between the product and its intended design. Ease of use usually refers to the instructions and forwarding thinking of the manufacturer. Failure to provide good instructions and directions of how the product should be used may lead to further costs arising from customers returns as well as some legal issues regarding the injuries that may have accrued. Finally in the modern world when we purchase a product we usually are attached to some form of service as well there for quality management must take into account both parts of the purchase to insure the quality therefore producers need to concentrate on this even further, because when product may occasionally fail it is up for the quality of the service to make up for that failure and still leave the customer if not satisfied at lease less disappointed.
Quality management on the other hand can be divided into two main approaches: Quality control and Quality assurance. Quality control can be defined as the process of inspecting product to ensure that they meet the required quality standards. The main idea behind quality control is that it is detecting defective output. As a result, in the process the consumers do get the quality control that they desire, however this is a method which deals the consequences rather than the problem itself. The quality control and inspection can be divided into three main points during the production:
• Receiving raw material
• During the production process
• Final check before delivery
The main problems associated with quality inspection its cost and as mentioned above are, it is dealing with the symptoms rather than with the disease. The cost arises from the fact that extra labour has to be hired in order to inspect the quality and this may also create a problem of workers not doing the relatively easy checks themselves as they now that its quality inspectors job which essentially means that the problem is passed through the manufacturing and when detected it may be too late and that carries extra costs within.
This brings us to quality assurance and it can be defined as the processes that ensure production quality meets the requirements of customers. This approach is much more modern and has developed during the 1950s as part of evelotion from quality assurance.
...(download the rest of the essay above)