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
Performance Timeliness
Features Courtesy
Flexibility Consistency
Durability Convenience
Conformance Completeness
Serviceability Accuracy
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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