DEFINITION OF THE QUALITY CONCEPT FROM A MEASUREMENT POINT OF VIEW
The different quality organizations use different definitions and the definitions may also be changed over time. The new perspective moved from satisfying the customer’s expressed requirements to meeting the latent needs of the customer.
Measurement of the quality:
In the practical measurement of quality there are two aspects to be clarified:
1. Are the properties manifest or latent? Manifest properties are directly measurable, such as the number of doors in a car, whereas latent properties are not directly measurable, e.g. properties of a more artistic nature, such as the design of a tablecloth.
Fig: Typologization of the quality concept
2. Are the users, i.e. the real quality judges, homogeneous or heterogeneous? Homogeneous users have a uniform attitude to or assessment of quality, whereas heterogeneous users have a differentiated perception of quality.
- It appears from the table that the classical division of the quality concept into subjective and objective quality respectively is extended by two, so that now there are four division criteria: subjective, semi-subjective, objective and semi-objective quality.
- All four can in principle appear but homogeneity among consumers must generally be regarded as a rare phenomenon.
- We therefore regard the subjective and the semi objective quality as the most interesting from a practical point of view and in the following we will therefore focus on these when measuring quality in relation to product development.
- The division between latent and manifest quality attributes is in accordance with the distinction between the first and second waves of TQM as expressed by Senge (1991).
- In the first wave the focus was on measurable aspects of quality, while the second wave introduced a new perspective of the customer.
- Senge sees the second wave as starting with the introduction of the seven new management tools, and he wrote: Along with these new tools for thinking and interacting, a new orientation toward the customer has gradually emerged.
- The new perspective moved from satisfying the customer’s expressed requirements to meeting the latent needs of the customer.
Direct and indirect methods:
Quality can, in principle, be measured in two different ways. Either by a ‘direct’ measurement of the consumer’s preferences via statistical scaling methods (latent) and experimental designs (manifest) or by an indirect preference measurement from observing the reactions of the market, the so-called hedonic analysis.