Product Quality and its Management...

Product Quality and its Management Product quality is the group of features and characteristics which determines the capacity of the product to meet the specification requirements of a standard or of a customer. It is often defined as ‘the ability to fulfill the customer’s needs and expectations’. It is also sometimes defined as ‘meeting specifications at the lowest possible cost’ as well as ‘delivering the value that a customer derives from a product’. Product quality needs to be defined firstly in terms of parameters or characteristics, which vary from product to product. The quality of the product can be controlled during its manufacturing and it makes the product free from deficiency and defects. A specification is the minimum requirement according to which the producer makes and delivers the product to the customer. In setting specification limits, the following is required to be considered. The user’s and/or customer’s needs Requirements provided for in national and/or international standards Requirements of specifications of national and/or international standards with restrictions to meet specific needs of the customer The competitor’s product specifications, in order to gain marketing advantages Brand related requirements of the product. Requirements relating to product safety and health hazards provided for in the statutory and regulatory requirements As described above, the product quality is the ability to satisfy the stated needs. From this definition, product quality can be described by nine dimensions or characteristics. These nine dimensions are as follows. Performance – It is the product’s primary operating characteristics. Product is to give expected performance during its use. Product features – The product is to meet the requirements of its features. For example a rebar is to have two longitudinal ribs and several cross ribs at specific intervals. Reliability – It is the probability of the...

Quality Assurance and Quality Control...

Quality Assurance and Quality Control  In present day environment, ‘Quality’ is the focus area for the management of every organization for achieving the success. Quality plays a substantial role on the bottom line of the organization. Two terms related to quality that are frequently being used in the Total Quality Management (TQM) and different quality related standards such as ISO 9001 etc. are ‘Quality Assurance’ (QA) and ‘Quality Control’ (QC). Both QA and QC are the part of one circle under quality management techniques. QA concentrates on defect prevention while QC deals with the detection. This is shown in Fig 1. Fig 1 Circle of QA and QC  The terms of QA and QC are closely related to each other. Both the terms also have the same objectives.  In fact both QA and QC complement each other. They are so interlinked and inter-dependent that many persons find it difficult to distinguish them. QA is process oriented and focuses on defect prevention, while QC is product oriented and focuses on defect identification. There exists a lot of confusion in many organizations with respect to these two terms and the activities associated with them. The intended purpose of both QA and QC is to make the product defect free and ensure that it conforms to the requirements of product specifications. In fact both of these terms have got common objective. However the approach to achieve the objective is different. The route followed by both is also different for achievement of the objective. QA still has QC at its core to control the quality of service/product, but it goes beyond mere testing or inspection to also consider related activities or processes (such as training, document control and audits) that may be resulting in defects further down the line. Both QA and QC are essential for an...