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13 August 2007

More on Quality

How do you define quality?
Experts agree that it is very difficult to define quality. Essentially this is because of two factors. One, the idea of quality is linked to both physical and emotional aspects and two the perception of quality differs from individual to individual.
Most of us will agree that it is very easy to spot poor quality. Just look at the pot holes which have formed in the road two days after it has been laid and you have an example of poor quality of work. Or look at the amount of honking that you hear on the roads and you have a poor quality of driving. Or for that matter look at the vague sound that your bike is making as soon as it comes back from the service centre, and you have an example of poor quality of servicing!!.
Just look at the third example above, will you?
You are just hearing a vague sound in your bike. You are not even sure if it was there before it was given to servicing. You only know that the bike went for servicing and suddenly you are hearing / feeling a vague unidentifiable sound. Immediately you have decided that the servicing was of low quality.
This is an example of perception of poor quality linked to the mind of the individual. While the first two examples are linked to physical objects creating poor quality (pot holes on the road, unnecessary honking of horns etc) this one is related to the mental makeup of the individual and his 'vague sound tolerence' levels.
This is what makes quality so difficult to quantify. You can always identify poor quality. But can you identify good quality?
An incident which happened in one of our training sessions come to mind. The facilitator asked us to write down the name of the music system that each of us would buy if we had no money constraint.
All of us wrote 'Sony' as our first preference.
There you have an example of quality!!.

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