Quality is a perceptual, conditional, and somewhat subjective attribute and may be understood differently by different people. Consumers may focus on the specification quality of a product/service, or how it compares to competitors in the marketplace. Producers might measure the conformance quality, or degree to which the product/service was produced correctly. Support personnel may measure quality in the degree that a product is reliable, maintainable, or sustainable. Simply put, a quality item (an item that has quality) has the ability to perform satisfactorily in service and is suitable for its intended purpose.
There are five aspects of quality in a business context:
- Producing – providing something.
- Checking – confirming that something has been done correctly.
- Quality Control – controlling a process to ensure that the outcomes are predictable.
- Quality Management – directing an organization so that it optimizes its performance through analysis and improvement.
- Quality Assurance – obtaining confidence that a product or service will be satisfactory. (Normally performed by a purchaser)