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Although Quality is a vague concept up to some extent, but we can still define it. So, we define "Quality of a Product" as the degree of its excellence and fitness for the purpose.

Although, some of the quality characteristics can be specified in quantitative terms, but no single characteristics can be used to measure the quality of a product on an absolute scale.

Quality of a product means all those activities which are directed to
(i) maintaining and improving such as setting of quality targets,
(ii) appraisal of conformance
(iii) taking corrective action where any deviation is noticed
(iv) and planning for improvements in quality.

Quality is a measure of the user satisfaction provided by a product, it includes
(i) functional efficiency
(ii) appearence
(iii) ease of installation and operation
(iv) safety reliability
(v) maintainability
(vi) running and maintenance cost
(vii) continued falt free service/ after-sales service.

There are two elements of quality, namely
(i) quality of design
(ii) quality of conformance.

Quality is initially created by the designer in the form of product specifications and manufacturing instructions where as the design provides user satisfaction, the product must be conformed to the design.

So, to be a successful brand a product must possess the best quality. But, how does one build quality into a product?

It is obvious that inspection alone can not build quality into a product unless quality has been designed and manufactured into it.

The quality of a product in a company is determined by the philosophy, commitment, and the quality policy of the top management and the extent to which these policies can be put into actual practice.

Quality Control & User-defined Characteristics of Quality:

The perception of quality is heavily dependent upon the types of processes adopted to maintain the quality of the product during manufacturing and distribution of the product. Those processes are called as Quality Control processes. In modern concept of quality control, mainly TQC or Total Quality Control, Quality Assurance and Quality Management have been termed as "QUALITY CONTROL".

Quality of a product is determined by the combined effects of various departments such as Design, Engineering, Purchase, Production and Inspection.

Quality is perceived differently by different people, but understood by almost everyone. The customer as a user takes the quality of fit, finish, appearence and performance in a manufactured product where as service quality may be evaluated on the basis of the "degree of satisfaction".

As the customer has the final saying about the quality of a product; therefore, the measurable characteristics in a product or service are basically translation of the customer needs.

Once the specifications are developed depending upon the customer satisfaction, next the ways to measure as well as monitor the characteristics should be devised.

This becomes the basis of further improvement or continuous improvement of the product or the service.

The ultimate objective of all the processes is to ensure the customer satisfaction so that they become ready to pay for the product or the service.

So, (i) Quality is 'conformance' to requirements.

(ii) Quality is the fitness for use.

(iii) Good Quality means a predictable degree of uniformity and dependability with a quality standard suited to the customer.

(iv) Quality is the 'degree to which performance meets expectations.

(v) Quality denotes an excellence in goods and services, specially to the degree they conform to requirements and satisfy customers.

(vi) Reliability is the probability that system can perform its intended function for a specified interval under stated conditions.

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