Author: Jim Riley Last updated: Sunday 23 September, 2012
Production & operations - What is quality?
Quality is important to businesses but can be quite hard to define. A good definition of quality is:
“Quality is about meeting the needs and expectations of customers”
Customers want quality that is appropriate to the price that they are prepared to pay and the level of competition in the market.
Key aspects of quality for the customer include:
Good design – looks and style
Good functionality – it does the job well
Reliable – acceptable level of breakdowns or failure
Durable – lasts as long as it should
Good after sales service
Value for money
‘Value for money’ is especially important, because in most markets there is room for products of different overall levels of quality, and the customer must be satisfied that the price fairly reflects the quality.
Why quality is important to a growing business
Good quality helps determine a firm’s success in a number of ways:
Customer loyalty – they return, make repeat purchases and recommend the product or service to others.
Strong brand reputation for quality
Retailers want to stock the product
As the product is perceived to be better value for money, it may command a premium price and will become more price inelastic
Fewer returns and replacements lead to reduced costs
Attracting and retaining good staff
These points can each help support the marketing function in a business. However, firms have to work hard to maintain and improve their reputation for quality, which can easily be damaged by a news story about a quality failure.