Sunday, January 13, 2013

My definition of Quality

From my years of experience as a producer and user of products and services, I have realized that quality is best defined by an user of a product and/or service. When an user experiences a quality transaction, he/she will ask for more of it.

Quality is not just the small "q", or the performance. Quality is a multiplier of Performance (q), Cost (C), and Schedule (S). The big Q is equal to q x C x S. Think of q, C, and S as three legs of a stool. For a stable stool, all three legs must be firmly balanced. I will also add that quality as perceived by a consumer is the quality of Total Experience in the context of big Q.

Let me share some recent experience during my travels in India. My wife and I were on a sightseeing tour of Rajasthan, a western State of India. Our first driver Sanjay was extremely knowledgeable about places we were visiting and gave us the best experience for the first 12 days. Unfortunately, for the last 2 1/2 day of the tour, a new driver was assigned. He was less knowledgeable about the places we were visiting and we did not experience the same level of performance provided by the first driver. Sanjay exceeded our expectations (quality experience) while the second driver did not even meet our expectations (non-quality experience).

I have another example from the hospitality side. After staying at various palaces in Rajasthan (Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, and Jaipur) we arrived at the Taj Gateway Hotel in Agra. We were delighted to experience fabulous service from Taj's hospitality. All transactions at Taj were of highest quality and exceeded our expectations. As a result of this positive experience, we are more likely to stay at Taj Hotels in our future tours.

In summary, when we create a product/service, we need to keep in mind user's perspectives and requirements. Then provide best experience while delivering our product/service. If we can do this consistently, then we can delight our customers.

I welcome your definition of quality.


  1. I agree Manubhai..when you delight a customer, then the customer is likely to come back to you. I shall cite one example: I had a customer in Perth. I engineered a yarn that met his requirements but was cheaper and trebled his profits.Now he was buying yarn only from us. meanwhile in 1993, there were Bomb blasts in Mumbai.All work came to a halt. His three containers were held up at the port because of congestion.He wanted me to get the cargo to him as soon as possible otherwise his factory would be closed. We could have hidden behind Force mejure clause but I sought permission of my chairman, and we sent cargo (21 tons)by air at our cost. the product was US$2.65 per kg and the cost of air freight was US$ 2.00, thus a great loss for us. He was delighted. He continued to buy 10 containers per month for next 15 years, till his factory closed.
    Thus cost at times is a debatable subject.Short times cost usually gets you long term benefits. These are to be weighed in taking a decision.However, "fitness to use" is a good definition for products. but for service industry, there are many intangibles that have to be taken into account for delighting the customer.

  2. Dear Sir, Agree with you. Please visit here to know about my definition about quality.

  3. Thank you for sharing your ideas on your definition of quality.


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