Meaning of Quality, its complexity and scope. Part Two

Scope of quality category using different criteria
(Evans J R, Lindsay W. 2001)

Criteria based on trial

A common idea about the quality that consumers often use is that it is synonymous with superiority or excellence. Excellence, however, is abstract and subjective, and standards of excellence can vary considerably from one individual to another. Therefore, a transcendent definition is of little practical value to managers. It does not provide a way by which to measure or judge the quality as the basis for decision making.

Criteria based on the product

This is a function of a measurable specific variable and the quality differences are reflected in the value of some attributes of the product. This implies that higher levels or amounts in product characteristics are equivalent to a higher quality. As a result, we often wrongly relate price and quality “as higher price, higher quality.” A product does not need be expensive to be considered a quality product by the customers. Like the concept of excellence, the judgment of product attributes varies greatly among people.

Criteria based on the users

This is based on the assumption that quality is determined by what the customer wants. Individuals have different needs and desires and, therefore, different quality standards. This leads to a definition based on the user: quality is defined by its fitness for the intended use.

Value-based criteria

This is based on the value, that is, the connection of its utility or satisfaction to the price. From this perspective, a quality product is one that is as useful as competing products and sold at a lower price, or one that, having a comparable price, offers superior utility or superior satisfaction. Thus you could buy a generic product rather than a big brand product, if it works as well as the brand one, but at a lower price.

Criteria based on manufacturing

Quality is defined as the desirable outcome of practical engineering and manufacturing, i.e., compliance with established specifications. Specifications are targets and tolerances specified for products and services that are specified by the designers. Filling the specifications is a key definition of the entity, as it gives us a way to measure it. Specifications are meaningless if they do not reflect important attributes for consumers.