UNIT 10 – QUALITY QUESTIONS 1. What does it mean by “Quality” and “ Quality Control”? 2. What should companies do to maintain the quality of their products/services effectively? 3. What do you think about the quality of Vietnamese products? What should companies do to enhance their competitiveness in competition? ANSWERS 1. The definition of quality depends on the different circumstances and perceptions. The meaning of quality is also time-based or situational. a. The definition of quality in manufacturing organizations is often different from that of services. Quality de? itions in manufacturing usually focus on tangible product features. The most common quality de? nition in manufacturing is conformance, which is the degree to which a product characteristic meets preset standards. Other common de? nitions of quality in manufacturing include performance— such as acceleration of a vehicle; reliability— that the product will function as expected without failure; features— the extras that are included beyond the basic characteristics; durability—expected operational life of the product; and serviceability— how readily a product can be repaired.
The relative importance of these de? nitions is based on the preferences of each individual customer. It is easy to see how different customers can have different de? nitions in mind when they speak of high product quality. b. In contrast to manufacturing, service organizations produce a product that is intangible. The intangible nature of the product makes de? ning quality dif? cult. Also, since a service is experienced, perceptions can be highly subjective. In addition to tangible factors, quality of services is often de? ned by perceptual factors.
These include responsiveness to customer needs, courtesy and friendliness of staff, promptness in resolving complaints, and atmosphere. Other de? nitions of quality in services include time— the amount of time a customer has to wait for the service; and consistency— the degree to which the service is the same each time. Quality control Quality control is a process that is used to ensure a certain level of quality in a product or service. It might include whatever actions a business deems necessary to provide for the control and verification of certain characteristics of a product or service.
Most often, it involves thoroughly examining and testing the quality of products or the results of services. The basic goal of this process is to ensure that the products or services that are provided meet specific requirements and characteristics, such as being dependable, satisfactory, safe and fiscally sound. 2. What should companies do to maintain the quality of their products or services effectively? In order to maintain the quality of what we sell, we need to carry out wise quality control program as well as good customer services. 3. 1.
Total Quality Control (TQC) program. 3. 2. 1. We have to focus on continuous improvement, tend to think of improvement in terms of plateaus that are to be achieved, such as passing a certification test or reducing the number of defects to a certain level. Because we can never achieve perfection, we must always evaluate our performance and take measures to improve it by using The Plan–Do–Study–Act Cycle. Another way companies implement continuous improvement is by studying business practices of companies considered “best in class. ” This is called benchmarking. . 2. 2. We should also consider empowering all employees to seek out quality problems and correct them. The new concept of quality, TQC, provides incentives for employees to identify quality problems. Employees are rewarded for uncovering quality problems, not punished. In TQC, they are considered a vital element of the effort to achieve high quality. Their contributions are highly valued, and their suggestions are implemented. In order to perform this function, employees are given continual and extensive training in quality measurement tools. . 2. 3. Teamwork Approach TQC stresses that quality is an organizational effort. To facilitate the solving of quality problems, it places great emphasis on teamwork. The use of teams is based on the old adage that “two heads are better than one. ” Using techniques such as brainstorming, discussion, and quality control tools, teams work regularly to correct problems. The contributions of teams are considered vital to the success of the company. For this reason, companies set aside time in the workday for team meetings. . 2. 4. Use of Quality Tools To control the quality of products or service, some company use quality tools. These are often called the seven tools of quality control and are shown in the picture. They are easy to understand, yet extremely useful in identifying and analyzing quality problems. Sometimes workers use only one tool at a time, but often a combination of tools is most helpful. Those tools include Cause-and-Effect Diagrams, Checklists, Flowcharts, Control Charts, and Scatter Diagrams. 3. 2. 5. Product Design
A critical aspect of building quality into a product is to ensure that the product design meets customer expectations. To produce a product that customers want, we need to translate customers’ everyday language into specific technical requirements. 3. 2. 6. Process Management A quality product comes from a quality process. This means that quality should be built into the process. Quality at the source is the belief that it is far better to uncover the source of quality problems and correct it than to discard defective items after production.
If the source of the problem is not corrected, the problem will continue. TQC extends the concept of quality to a company’s suppliers and ensures that they engage in the same quality practices. If suppliers meet preset quality standards, materials do not have to be inspected upon arrival. Today, many companies have a representative residing at their supplier’s location, thereby involving the supplier in every stage from product design to ? nal production. 3. 2. Customer Services It is wrong to think that the sales process ends right after the moment our customers buy the products.
We had better keep an excellent relationship with them by an annual customer satisfaction questionnaire towards our products/services, by offering the products they bought routine checks to ensure that they are well-maintained, by giving them warranty that lasts for an adequate time, or by guarantee our offering compensation if there is still a faulty products. 3. The quality of Vietnamese products Quality is an abstract definition which is usually judged by customers. The fact that a product is said to be of good or bad quality is all depend on each customers’ view.
Generally speaking, Vietnamese products are quite good and their quality has been continuously enhancing. An evidence for this is that Vietnamese people have now increased using them, and the value of products exported to other countries also goes up. However, our products still have a lot of limitations. They are hard to compete with the products coming from other countries in both domestic market and global market. What the limitations are and also the reasons for them are mentioned below: * Low quality owing to technological level: Our country is still a developing country.
Our corporates are limited about expenditures, capital, experience, and other elements. They cannot afford to buy the advanced machines. Besides, they do not have enough qualified experts to operate the modern new equipment. Made by old techniques and ineffective manufacturing process, our products are usually of lower quality and uncompetitive. Moreover, this has led to a consequence in the structure of Vietnam’s trade balance: exporting mainly agricultural products, crafts and other kinds of unprocessed goods but not high-technical or processed ones. Popularity of unsafe products and loss of customers’ trust: Some corporates still just focus on their profits but not their value propositions. They try to cut their costs without taking notice on improving product quality. Some small companies even conduct their manufacturing process inappropriately, using some poisons, preservatives improperly or releasing waste directly and polluting the environment. The products made by those companies are not only bad for customers’ health but also unfriendly to the environment. This has a serious bad impact on consumers’ belief on Vietnamese products. Product quality does not commensurate with their price. In the correlation between quality and price, Vietnamese products have to face a lot of pressure from those of other countries. Their tastes, durations and many other criteria of our products are still uncompetitive and unattractive to customers. * Prices and designs of products are hard to compare with those of foreign goods. For example, our products are competed by the imported ones coming from China, Thailand, India and many other countries. Especially, Chinese goods are really varied, diversified and at extremely low price.
Besides that, the favorite of using foreign products of Vietnamese people also limit competitiveness of Vietnamese goods. * Low position in customers’ mind: The government has made a lot of regulations on products quality and also carried out many methods to test products’ safety. However, not much enhancement is made. Consumers still have to worry about cleanliness as well as safety of Vietnamese products. Moreover, the issue of counterfeiting goods is still serious and this contributes to lower our product position. * The difference in quality between domestic-use products and exporting products due to corporates’ behaviors.
In reality, because of the difference in value, exporting products are usually of higher quality than domestic-use ones. This discrimination has a negative effect on how consumers judge our products. * Infamous and low-trusted brands: Although we are a large exporter in some kinds of goods, our products are still not subject to any specific standards. Not having any national or international standards to ensure their quality, our products are not appreciated by customers. Their brands are also unpopular with them. In some cases, some brands have been certificated by Globalcap standards such as Nam Roi Grapefruit.
However, they are now still threatened because our government does not have enough expenditure for recertification. In sum, Vietnamese products have a lot of limitations that need to be changed to raise their competitiveness. Enhance product’s competitiveness All we have to do is to fix the limitations as mentioned above. * Consumers only want to buy necessary goods of high quality. Hence, after investigating the demand of them towards certain goods, we upgrade our production chain so that we can satisfy our customer totally. But how do we pgrade our production chain? A survey carried out in 2012 showed that among nearly 8000 enterprises in the field of manufacturing, 96 per cent claims the crux of the problem is that they cannot afford to invest in new technologies. Assistances from our state are not enough. Therefore, to do this really difficult thing, companies have to recruit qualified experts who can help them develop new ways, new methods of production. Once they have been successful, they are truly bailed out to provide customers with high quality items. * Create a unique image for our products.
This is the only way to retain customers’ faith towards our products. They will know well where our products are and buy them, not faked ones. Also, using a signal or friendly slogan for products can help customers to remember us, typically. A practical action to solve this problem is to teach customers to realize us among the crowd. * Make our products value for money. Enterprise must be wise when performing price strategies so that customers gain the satisfaction when using our products, without whispered complaints on them being too expensive.
High quality, but value for money. And, don’t try to lower the prices as what our rivals do, set the lowest level for our prices. This determines our true value. To some extent and in some segment, consumers they no longer pay the best attention in prices, but value – or quality. Keeping our prices at a reasonable level can create a good impression on our customers, that they are our life. * Gain the diversity when design our products. Imagine we have a large market for one kind of product. We make items the same as the others, and customers are fed of them.
Especially girls, they don’t want others to “copy” their style. Thus, our product designers had better be innovative ones, or we have to hire more and more designers. * Once it is Vietnamese product, it must be as good as each other. The markets where we sell our products cannot decide the quality of them. This thinking will help our products to win the trust from our customers everywhere, for its being always of high quality. * We also need to change our mind of doing business. Vietnamese people tend to think they are never as good as foreigners.
This one-track thinking indirectly do foreign business people a favor. We can do better than them if we can draw carefully a practical and effective plan. And the most important thing is that enterprises have to take actions to maintain the quality of the products for the forthcoming periods in which the state of the global as well as the local economy may come unexpected. Besides, we need to get help from other factors including productivity of motivated employees, wise and effective advertising campaigns or applying new methods in delivery.