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17. Quality control

Questions for Discussion

  • 1. What is Quality?
  • 2. What does Quality have to do with the expectations of the Customer?
  • 3. Is a quality product always reliable?
  • 4. What methods of quality control are used now? In what way do new methods differ from the old ones?
  • 5. Can ideal quality be achieved?
  • 6. Can effective Quality Control be enforced in an organization?
  • 7. How much does it cost? Is it more expensive than rework?
  • 8. What are the prerequisites to success?
  • 9. What is quality awareness?
  • 10. What role do statistics play in improving quality?
  • 11. How can organizations monitor the outcome of quality programs?
  • 12. What role do team members play in Quality Control?

Target Vocabulary

to attain quality

the final big-bang quality check

to satisfy customer expectations

monitor the outcome

in favour of quality goods

zero defects


prerequisites to success

to check it beforehand

quality awareness programs

throughout the manufacturing cycle

quality monitoring

to rework


Quality Control

to be recouped

expectations of customer

to remove the problems

the completed product

hallowed doctrines of Quality

the identification of errors

advocates of Quality



Vocabulary Practice

Exercise 1. Use your target vocabulary to replace these definitions.

  • 1. something which can be measured and used as a standard that other things can be compared with_
  • 2. the overall examination of a product_
  • 3. watching and checking quality over a period of time in order to see how it develops so

that you can make any necessary changes_

  • 4. a person who supports or speaks in favour of quality_
  • 5. to get back an amount of money that you have spent or lost_
  • 6. something that must exist or happen before something else can happen or be done_

Exercise 2. Complete these sentences using your target vocabulary in the appropriate form.

  • 1. Every stage of product manufacturing is carefully ...
  • 2. We hope to ... our initial investment in the first year.
  • 3. Quality Control is an essential... to the company success.
  • 4. Quality Control throughout the manufacturing cycle minimizes the risk of having to ... the completed product.
  • 5. ... programmes have been recognized almost by all businesses.
  • 6. The quality of the product must be constantly tracked to avoid ...

Tips for Topic Development

Text 1

In current management writings Quality has come to refer to a whole gambit of practices which themselves have resulted in beneficial side-effects.

Attaining Quality has something to do with satisfying the expectations of the customer. Concern for the wishes and needs of customers becomes the focus for every decision. What the customer wants, the company provides. This is not philanthropy, this is basic survival. Through careful education by competitors, the customer has begun to exercise spending power in favour of quality goods and services; and while quality is not the sole criterion in selecting a particular supplier, it has become an important differentiator.

Where the product is a service, Quality is equated with how well the job is done and especially with whether the customer is made to feel good about the whole operation. In this respect Quality often does cost more, but the loss is recouped in the price customers are prepared to pay and the increase of business.

The clearest manifestation of Quality is in a products reliability: that the product simply works. To prevent problems from arising after the product is shipped, the quality must be checked beforehand and the best time to check quality is throughout the whole design and manufacturing cycle. The old method of quality control was to test the completed product and then to rework to remove the problems. Thus while the original production time was short, the rework time was long. The new approach to quality simply asserts that if testing becomes an integral part of each stage of production, the production time may increase but the rework time will disappear. Further, you will catch and solve many problems, which the final big-bang quality check would miss but which the customer will find on the first day. (from Gerard M Blair's How to Build Quality into Your Team)

Agree or disagree with these statements.

  • 1. The Quality of a product is a benchmark for choosing business partners.
  • 2. Quality can be put the money value on.
  • 3. The higher the quality, the more reliable the product is.
  • 4. Companies lose out to their competitors if they produce low quality products.
  • 5. It is worthwhile increasing the production time for the sake of quality.
  • 6. The final big-bang quality check cant guarantee the overall quality of a product.

Text 2

To achieve good quality requires an environment where the identification of errors is considered to be a good thing, where the only bad bugs are the ones which got away. One of the most hallowed doctrines of Quality is that of zero defects. Zero defects is a focus, it is a glorious objective, it is the assertion that nothing less will suffice and that no matter how high the quality of a product, it can be improved. It is a paradox in that it is an aim which is contrary to reason. This is why the advocates of Quality often seem a little crazy: they are zealots.

The key to success is clarity of purpose. Any plan to improve quality must contain:

  • the objective
  • the method
  • the statistical display for monitoring the outcome
  • the agreed criteria for completion or curtailment

By insisting on this format, you provide the plan-owners with a simple mechanism for peer recognition (through the displayed notice board) and yet enable them to manage their own failure with grace, (from Gerard M Blairs How to Build Quality into Your Team)

Say which of the statements below are true and which are false.

  • 1. High quality means the absence of defects.
  • 2. Quality Control is unthinkable without the well-defined criteria of good quality.
  • 3. A zero defects doctrine asserts that a low quality product can be improved.
  • 4. Zealots are people who always find fault with everything they produce.
  • 5. There are no defect-free products.
  • 6. The aim to improve the quality of a product is unreasonable.
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