What is Quality?

The dictionary defines quality as a degree of excellence. Other
interpretations for quality include:

  • fitness for purpose
  • value for money
  • conformance to requirements

This may explain why some say quality is in the eye of the beholder.
They may not be able to define it, but will know it when they see it.

Others try to be more precise and say quality is actually conformance
to requirements. A measure of quality may also be how well a product
exceeds expectations and pleases the customer. Of course, many
customers are also concerned with price, not just product function.

ISO/DIS 9000:2000 Quality Management Systems- Fundamentals
and Vocabulary defines quality as “the ability of a set of inherent
characteristics of a product, system, or process to fulfill requirements
of customers and other interested parties.”

“Inherent characteristics” are part of the product, process, or system,
such as the diameter of a bolt, production rate of a machine, or waiting
time at a call center. Product price is considered an “assigned
characteristic” and, therefore, not included in this quality definition.

If you’d like to see the definitions of other quality-related terms, go to
the Glossary section of our web site.