Business English | What Is Quality?

Audio Podcast

In our episode today, I have introduced the concept of quality and talked about three main things:

  1. Quality in Manufacturing
  2. Quality in Services
  3. Widening the Definition of Quality

You can check below the key concepts and ideas mentioned in the episode, but of course, you will get the full picture by listening to the full episode.

Listen, check the main concepts below and finally, check your understanding with the few questions I have prepared for you at the end of this post.

Quality in Manufacturing

From the point of view of producers, quality can be seen in terms of conformity or conformance to specification, which means that the components and the product as a whole are made exactly as designed. In other words, there is consistency and elimination of variation resulting in zero defects.

Everything must be done right first time to avoid the need for reworking.

Like many ideas in relation to quality, these ideas were first developed in Japan as part of Total Quality Management (TQM)

Quality in Services

In services, there is a parallel situation to the one in manufacturing. But quality can also be seen from the point of view of customer. The service must satisfy customer needs. The service received by the customer must exactly what is planned and intended.

Quality could be defined in terms of customer approval and if we exceed those expectations, there may even be customer delight.

Widening the Definition of Quality

  • performance — how well the product performs its main function
  • features — additional parts or characteristics that the product offers
  • reliability — how well the product continues to perform without breakdowns
  • technical durability — how long the product lasts before becoming technically obsolete
  • serviceability — how easy the product is to maintain and repair
  • aesthetics — the look and feel of the product
  • perceived quality — the customer’s judgement of the product’s level of quality
  • value for money — what the product does in relation to the price paid for it

Now I would like to check whether you really understood this last part, and you might want to check that yourselves, so I have prepared a couple of questions for you below. I will list sentences taken from product descriptions and I want you to name which aspect does each sentence refer to from the list you have above.

Write the quality aspect each sentence is describing:

We guarantee five years of 100,000 kilometers of trouble-free motoring.

No other brand gives better performace in this price category.

It only requires servicing every 25,000 kilometers.

It has beautiful lines.

It has heated seats for the driver and the passenger.

It has the latest engine technology.

It goes from zero to 100 kilometers per hour in four seconds.

Customer surveys give us top marks for quality compared to other leading car makes.

Don’t forget that is not everything I am going to say about quality in business. There is more coming up in the upcoming Business English episodes, so stay tuned.

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