Friday 20 June 2008

Quality Standards

This is the second of my short articles on quality, giving you an insight into the basics of the quality concepts and programmes that I have developed. In this post I will focus on quality standards and their importance in implementing a quality culture in an organisation.

Quality Standards

In order to develop quality effectively it is necessary to be able to describe quality unambiguously. This means, quite simply, to determine levels, norms or standards for quality which are conceived in the same way by everybody who is involved in the quality process. The work on "quality standards" makes it possible to:

  • Define what is understood by good, mediocre or inferior quality
  • Goal-focus the quality performance
  • Measure quality performance
  • Compare an individual or team's quality with the quality performance of other individuals or teams
  • Improve quality performance
  • Communicate quality deficiencies to individuals/groups of people who are supposed to check, ensure and develop quality
  • Inform customers and other external stakeholders (e.g. business press) of quality improvements
  • Obtain a quality certification
IP and AP levels
For any kind of quality development, two kinds of quality standards need to be defined:
  • The IP level (Ideal Performance level)
  • The AP level (Actual Performance level)
The IP level
This is the quality development goal. That is to say the level to be achieved or the situation desired at a certain time.

The AP level
The AP level is the quality level at any given measuring time. The norms determining what is good, mediocre or inferior quality change all the time. In order to ensure that demands and expectations are met, it is necessary to keep working on quality development, i.e.:
  • to evaluate and adjust the IP level at regular intervals
  • measure the AP level regularly
  • assess the difference between the AP level and IP level and make quality improvement a natural part of day-to-day life in your company
In the next post in this series about quality, I'll give more insight into the main areas of quality development.

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