Quality Definition

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Ishikawa’s Definition of Quality

We engage in quality control in order to manufacture products with quality, which can satisfy the requirements of the consumer. The mere fact of meeting national standards or specifications is not the answer. It is simply not sufficient.

Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS) or international standards established by the International Organization for Standardization or the International Eletrotechnical Commission are not perfect. They contain many shortcomings. Consumers may not be satisfied with a product which does not meet JIS. We must also keep in mind that the consumer requirements change from year to year. Generally even when industrial standards are modified, they cannot keep pace with consumer requirements.

We must emphasize consumer orientation. Heretofore, it has been acceptable for manufacturers to think they are doing consumers a favor by selling their products to them. Let us call this a “product out” type of operation.

What I propose is a system of “market in,” in which the consumer requirements are to be of the utmost concern. In practical terms, I propose the manufacturers study the opinions and requirements of consumers and take then into account when they design, produce, and sell their products. When developing a new product, a manufacturer must anticipate consumers’ requirements and needs.

How one interprets the term “quality” is important. Narrowly interpreted quality means quality of product. Broadly interpreted quality means quality of work, quality of service, quality of information, quality of process, quality of division, quality of people, including workers, engineers, managers and executives, quality of system, quality of company, quality of objectives, etc.

Source: Kaoru Ishikawa, What is Total Quality Control? The Japanese Way, (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc. 1985), pp. 44-45.
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