What is Quality?

(Hover over the photo to find out)

Photo of two manufacturing workers

THE VISION

The purpose of World Quality Month is to promote the use of quality tools in businesses and communities. Quality tools, such as flowcharts and checklists, reduce mistakes and help produce superior products. Quality principles could reduce headline-making errors, like food safety, toy recalls, and financial disruptions. World Quality Month calls on people who use quality tools to share their knowledge by submitting their stories to illustrate the value of quality principles.

Deming Prize

The Deming prize, established in December 1950 in honor of W. Edwards Deming, was originally designed to reward Japanese companies for major advances in quality improvement. It continues under the guidance of the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers (JUSE).

FACTS ABOUT WORLD QUALITY MONTH

  • Chartered Quality Institute celebrates World Quality Day each year in November with activities and events to promote quality around the world.
  • Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers (JUSE) has been celebrating World Quality Month in Japan since 1960 by organizing events in collaboration with Japanese Standards Association (JSA), Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK), The Japanese Society for Quality Control (JSQC), The Japan Productivity Center (JPC), JCA, Quality Engineering Society (QES), QC, Keidanren.
  • Many organizations in Europe have marked "Quality Week" for 20 years, including European Organization for Quality (EOQ), World Alliance for Quality (WAQ), Vlaams Centrum voor Kwaliteitszorg (VCK).
  • In the 1980s and 1990s ASQ played a leadership role in establishing and conducting National Quality Month in the USA.

Quality Month

In Japan, November has been designated "Quality Month" since 1960. Quality Month activities have been organized to foster greater quality awareness and wider dissemination of quality control activities. (Japanese Standards Association)

In China, Quality Month started in 1978. September is designated "Quality Month." (Baidu Baike & China Quality Month)

In the USA and Canada, Quality Month (October) started in 1988. National Quality Month (NQM) is a public awareness campaign that encourages business, industry, government, and academia to focus on the strategic importance of quality and continuous improvement.

World Quality Day

The purpose of "World Quality Day" is to promote awareness of quality around the world and to encourage individuals' development and organizations' prosperity.

First promulgated by the United Nations in 1990, World Quality Day aims to raise international awareness of the important role quality plays in ensuring nations' prosperity. Now it is celebrated annually on the second Thursday of November.

In the UK, Chartered Quality Institute (CQI) will celebrate World Quality Day with events from November 11-15. The South African Quality Institute also celebrates National Quality Week annually.

European Quality Week

Organized by the European Organization for Quality (EOQ), The European Quality Week is an annual focus for campaigns of public awareness, promotion and demonstration of the advantages and importance of quality to competitiveness across Europe. It takes place in November during the week that includes the second Thursday of the month - World Quality Day.

In 2008, the Czech Society for Quality launched "The Quality Manager of the Year" competition in connection with the international "European Quality Leader" competition proclaimed by the European Organization for Quality (EOQ). Results are announced annually in November within the framework of the Quality Month and European Quality Week in the Czech Republic.

 

What is Quality?

Defining quality is a difficult task because it has several definitions depending on the occasion, making it challenging to arrive at an official definition that serves all purposes. However, here are some common definitions of quality:

  • Quality is the fulfillment of needs
  • Quality is the intangible that makes a better world tangible
  • Quality is what the customer says it is
  • Quality is compliance to a specification
  • Conformance to requirements
  • Quality is the systematic pursuit of excellence
  • Quality is the degree to which the organization meets the needs and expectations of all its stakeholders

However you define quality, one thing is certain--over the last three decades the quality discipline has departed from an aspect of product, or service, to the quality of management, and ultimately the quality of the enterprise itself. From products, to processes, to systems, to enterprises, combining these ideas together may help reach a very inclusive definition such as:

Quality is a set of principles and a set of methodologies for achieving the joint benefits of greater productivity, lower costs, better utility, durability, and satisfaction with products and services simultaneously that helps to develop customer preferences for sustained and acceptable use.

Today quality is being called out of the organization into the space between organizations through global supply chains and through networks of companies that understand their greatest challenges lie outside their organizational walls. And from there, quality moves even further up the chain of command to be used as a concept, technique, and toolset in the solution of social problems. While the number of examples is small, they are nonetheless evidence that quality is exerting itself in new ways—in hopeful ways.