Understanding Quality – Definitions and Dimensions

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The challenge in defining quality is that it is a subjective concept, like beauty. Everyone has a different definition based on their personal experiences.


  • The totality of characteristics of an entity that bear on its ability to satisfy stated and implied need.
  • Quality is the ongoing process of building and sustaining relationships by assessing, anticipating, and fulfilling stated and implied need.
  • The degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements. (as per ISO 9000:2005)
  • Conformance to requirements – Crosby
  • Fitness for use – Juran

Quality from the different point of views:

  • From the customer point of view: quality means fitness for use and meeting customer satisfaction.
  • From the process point of view: quality means conformance with the process design, standards, and specifications.
  • From the product point of view: quality means the degree of excellence at an acceptable price.
  • From the cost point of view: quality means the best combination of costs and features.

Various Informal Definitions

  • Excellence
  • Adding value
  • Satisfaction
  • Conformance to customer needs
  • Attributes most important to the customer
  • Error-free output
  • Meeting Legal, Regulatory & Customer Requirements.
  • Usability
  • Value-added care and service
  • The maximum Variation we can get away with
  • Doing the things right the first time and every time
  • Bringing the perfectness in the system in all respects to give the optimum solution
  • If the criteria meet the benchmark criteria
  • Reduction of variation in the ‘Mean.’
  • State of Mind
  • Commitment to improve
  • Understanding and optimizing the whole system

Dimensions of Quality

Product Quality Dimensions (Eight Dimensions of Quality)Service Quality Dimensions
Perceived Quality 

Three key elements of quality:

Elements which influence a product or service’s ability to satisfy customer needs :

  • Quality of Design: A product needs to be designed to satisfy customer needs.
  • Quality of Conformance: Closeness with which the finished product or supplied service matches the specifications of the original design.
  • Quality of Reliability: the ability of the finished product to provide trouble-free performance in the field, over an acceptable time period.

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