Deming: "Quality is defined from the customer’s point of view as anything that enhances their satisfaction".
Juran: "Fitness for use. Those product features which meet the needs of customers and thereby provide product satisfaction. Freedom from deficiencies".
ASQC: "The totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs".
COPC: "Quality is defined as knowledge of agents that would enable them to provide accurate and consistent solution to the customer at the very first attempt”.
ISO: "Degree to which a set of inherent characteristics, of a product or service, fulfill requirements”.
Even though the actual definition of quality varies by different experts, the bottom-line is very much the same- meeting customer’s expectations.
Customer should always be at the core of any business- internal functional groups and/or mandatory service organizations (Police and Fire Departments, Universities) tend to forget it many a times, since they know they will be funded and around for a long time, irrespective of their service quality.
As we get more advanced in our Continuous Improvement careers, it is easy to lose sight of the what is truly meant by quality. We get ensnared in what is expected of us from management, meeting project timelines and other budgetary constraints.
But when we shift our focus to “Quality” then it is easy to meet all those other obligations- since at the very essence Quality is to develop process parameters that will include the voice of the customer, i.e. customer expectations. And when we do that, we easily ensure that all the management requirements, budgetary needs and other organizational constraints have been built into the Voice of our process while meeting our customer’s requirements and surpassing their expectations.
Continuous Improvement when done correctly not only recovers it's own project cost in the shortest timeline. It ensures success in reaching organizational goals and vision. By including the voice of your customer in the voice of your process, you can ensure continued customer satisfaction and increased profitability. Continuous Improvement helps businesses to maintain the cutting edge, which is almost mandatory in today’s globally competitive scene.