Quality control – A process that ensures product quality is maintained or improved through the reduction in mistakes. This is done through checking products after they have been made. This can be done through actions such as inspection, sampling or testing. This helps to detect faulty products.
Quality assurance – This is a process by which quality is built into every stage of the production process. This is in contrast to quality control where it is left until the end. Quality assurance is reliant on workers self-checking their work in order to make sure there are no mistakes. The aim is to ensure that no mistakes are made. This is referred to as a zero defect policy.
Quality circles – This is when a group of people meet on a daily basis in order to suggest improvements to the production process or solve any current problems. Quality circles often include employees as they are likely to have the most knowledge of what could be improved. By allowing employees to suggest improvements it is likely to result in increased motivation.
Total quality management – This is a quality management approach that put quality at the heart of everything in the business. A total quality management system will involve features such as quality circles and zero defect policy.
Quality is important for business as it is needed in order for the long term success of the business. This is due to the fact that it ensures that customers remain happy and therefore the business is likely to experience repeat sales. In addition to this, it helps to make sure that the business has a good reputation. Although this is the case, the extent to which quality is important for businesses is mainly dependent on where they place themselves in the market. For example, if they are trying to compete in the high end of the market then quality is going to be extremely important in enabling them to compete against other high quality businesses.
B) Continuous improvement (Kaizen)
Kaizen (continual improvement) – This is the process of constantly introducing small incremental changes in order to improve the production process of the business.
C) Competitive advantage from quality management
Quality management can allow businesses to gain a competitive advantage over their competitors. This is due to the fact that by using quality management it means that the business is likely to produce products that are of better quality than its competitors. As a result of this, customers are likely to see the product as being superior of rivals. This is likely to increase the demand for the businesses products. Furthermore, as a result of the high quality, it is likely to result in customers being more happy with the final product that they receive. As a result of this, the business is likely to experience repeat sales. This will increase the businesses overall sales and therefore help them to gain a greater market share. Furthermore, buy producing higher quality goods they’re more likely to appeal to a price inelastic group of customers. This means that the business will be able to charge higher prices for its goods thus increasing the overall profit that the business makes.