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Keshav Ram Singhal

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Need to look afresh on ‘quality’



We have seen various quality improvement concepts – Six Sigma, TQM, 5-S, ISO 9001, ISO 9004, JIT, Zero defect, TPM, …. and so on. All these concepts have played a major and relevant role in improving the quality of a product (including service). In recent years we have also witnessed a number of standards, such as, ISO 14001 EMS, OHSAS 18001, SA8000, ISO 50001 EnMS, ISO 26000 SR, ISO 22000, ISO/IEC 27000 ISMS, being implemented by organizations.

Many quality gurus had defined the concept ‘quality’ in the previous millennium, i.e. in the 1900s. You may see the definitions written by Philip Crosby, Walter A Shewhart, Joseph M Juran, W Edwards Deming, A V Feigenbaum and many other quality gurus, most of those definitions are more than fifty years old, when organizations were not asked to comply requirements related with environment, social responsibility, energy, health, safety, information security etc.




ISO 9000:2005, an international standard on ‘Quality management systems – Fundamentals and vocabulary’ defines ‘quality’ as ‘degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements.’

It is now time to rethink with a focus on a return to the basics of quality and sound business management. Please re-examine the basics of quality and derive a new definition of ‘quality’ that remains for more than a decade. ‘Quality’ needs a definition afresh looking to the following:
- Fulfilling requirements
- Cost
- Effectiveness
- Environmental protection and performance
- Impact on society
- Human rights
- International norms of behaviour
- Risk
- Health
- Safety
- Energy efficiency
- Security
- Success (of the product/service, organization and user)


My new definition on QUALITY - I define quality as “a degree to which the product has a set of inherent distinguishing features (existing in the product as a permanent characteristics) that fulfill implied requirements of the product and also stated and obligatory (statutory and regulatory) requirements including customer requirements and those requirements: that protect and save environment, that have affordable cost for the customer, that has positive impact on society, that respect human rights, that respect international norms of behaviour, that safeguard health and safety, that conserve energy and that maintain security requirements so as to achieve and enhance satisfaction and success of the organization and its customer.”
Note –
1. Product also means service.
2. The term ‘quality’ can be used with adjectives.
© September 2011 - Keshav Ram Singhal, Ajmer, India.

I posted my above new definition on ‘quality’ for discussion with quality professional fraternity in some groups at linkedin.com (a social site of professionals) and I am overwhelmed with some reactions from a few professionals that are as under:

- John Outram, an associate at Qualimpex Inc. Canada says, “You should submit your new definition for quality to TC 176 though your National Committee.” (in Management Systems Professionals and Users group)
- Issoufou Trare, a consultant in Senegal, says, “I like this definition. But the very important challenge is to transform it to reality in numerous companies. Thanks for this fresh look.” (in Management Systems Professionals and Users group)
- Peddina Satyanarayana, Assistant General Manager at Steel Authority of India Ltd, Rourkela Steel Plant, says, “If any organization transforms KRS definition in to reality, the organization can continue to be at top. Quality is inner beauty with conformance to the requirements of customer.” John Outram liked the comment made by Peddina Satyanarayana.
- Ms. Cathleen N (National Director of Quality Assurance at Garda, Ottawa, Canada) and Ms. Farjana Ahmed (QMS Executive at ACME Laboratories Ltd., Bangladesh) have liked the discussion.

What do you think? Will you help me in defining quality with a new look by supporting my new definition or suggesting some improvement?


With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

2 comments:

ddeighton said...

Hi Keshav

My take on quality, defined holistically at system level as BigQ can be found at

http://trailblazerbusinessfutures.wordpress.com/2011/10/26/re-defining-quality/

Tata Group are also investigating the concept of BigQ video at

http://asq.org/blog/2011/08/creating-a-culture-of-quality-with-dr-irani-roundup/

See also The BiQ, Leading for competivie avantage

http://trailblazerbusinessfutures.wordpress.com/2009/12/17/the-bigq-%e2%80%93-leading-for-competitive-advantage-in-the-one-planet-world/

We have to redefine the Quality Profession as well as Quality

Regards

Peter W.M. van Nederpelt said...

I prefer a neutral, abstract and short definition of quality, which is: "a set of characteristics of an object".
An object can be a product of service, but also a process, software, staff, a document, input, data, etc.
Ad addition, requirements can be formulated for each characteristic of that object.
These concepts are used in the Object-oriented Quality Management model (OQM).

Google for more information for "object-oriented quality management"