Blog, ISO 9001 Quality System

Does Quality mean more Inspection?

In general if you had to answer the question, “What is Quality?” you could find this definition:

Quality is the measure of excellence or state of being free from defects, deficiencies, and significant variations. ISO standards define quality as “the totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bears its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs.”

So how do we achieve Quality in our products and services?  Years ago, the designation was made between manufacturing and inspection.  Inspection Quality Control on the shop floor fundamentally was to protect the consumer from receiving bad product.  The goal was to find the mistakes before the customer did.  Inspection Quality Control has been successful in saving Incoming Inpsectionindustry a vast amount of money and has contributed toward customer satisfaction.  Inspection Quality Control led the way into Statistical Quality Control.  It was realized that the analysis of machine and tool capabilities, sampling tables and techniques, design of experiments and other procedures could predict and influence product quality.  It was based on the principle that the reason for Inspection Quality Control in the first place was because of unpredictable process variation.  Good inspection could not predict good quality.  Good Inspection Quality Control and good Statistical Quality Control did not make the problems go away.

A. V. Geigenbaum of the General Electric Company defined a new approach to quality, Total Quality Control.  Total Quality Control is defined as, “An effective system for integrating the quality-development, quality-maintenance, and quality-improvement efforts of the various groups in an organization so as to enable production and service at the most economical levels with allow for full customer satisfaction.”  This concept is the quality life cycle which begins at design concept and ends with a product which meets the intended needs of the customer.    This is a concept I truly believe in and have reaped the benefits of true customer satisfaction.  We have all heard the cliché, “Do it right the first time.”  Defects can be prevented so that routine inspections can be reduced.

The four main elements of A. V. Geigenbaums approach are as follows:

  1. Design Control
  2. Incoming Material Control
  3. Product Control
  4. Special Process Control

The common denominator to the elements of the A. V. Geigenbaum approach is the word control.  Controls implemented from the design phase through the production phase will ensure the product will meet the intended use and achieve customer satisfaction.  I will follow this article with four articles on these control mechanisms.

Until then, enjoy the World of “Q”!

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