To understand quality, think of it as a broad term that is often used to encompass many things. ASQ refers to quality as a collection of powerful tools and concepts that are proven to increase customer satisfaction, reduce cycle time and costs, and eliminate errors and rework.
Learning institutions often teach quality tools and techniques within business, engineering, health care, education, service, customer service, and management curriculums. To help you understand quality and why resources on the topic are applicable to your institution, consider how these definitions apply to patron, member, and customer needs.
Quality Management – Oversight and application of quality principles in a management system used to guide overall operational process to achieve maximum customer satisfaction at the lowest overall cost to the organization while continuing to improve the process.
Quality Planning – Establishing and developing the objectives and requirements for quality and the requirements for the application of the quality system. According to Juran these steps should include a quality council, quality policies, strategic quality goals, deployment of quality goals, resources for control, measurement of performance, and quality audits.
Quality Control /Quality Assurance (QA/QC) – Two terms that have many interpretations, but are often used interchangeably because of the multiple definitions for the words assurance and control. One definition of quality assurance is all the planned and systematic activities implemented within the quality system that can be demonstrated to provide confidence a product or service will fulfill requirements for quality.
Total Quality Management – Feigenbaum’s concept of a system that integrates quality development, maintenance, and improvement of the parts of an organization. It helps a company manufacture its product and deliver its services economically.
Quality Improvement – Actions taken to increase the value to the customer by improving the effectiveness and efficiency of processes and activities throughout the organizational structure.
Six Sigma – Methodology that provides businesses with the tools to improve the capability of their business processes. This increase in performance and decrease in process variation lead to defect reduction and improvement in profits, employee morale, and quality of product. 1 sigma = 690,000 PPM; 2 sigma = 308,537 PPM; 3 sigma = 66,807 PPM; 4 sigma = 6,210 PPM; 5 sigma = 233 PPM; and 6 sigma = 3.4 PPM.