Quality as a concept means different things to different people. However, I see it as ‘up to satisfactory’, ‘meet up to standard’, ‘acceptable’, etc. What is of quality to one person is not to another person. In fact, people have different perception for the word quality. The complexity of the concept paved way for such huge money spend on research work in respect to product development, service provision, information dissemination, etc.
The question as to whether quality can be measured or not is a controversial thing depending on who is saying what and where the person belong in terms of working experience, professional experience, age bracket, level of knowledge, etc. This is a controversial issue as I have said. Many individuals and organizations are being faced with the same question, in fact when it comes to issues like:
o How to measure the quality of raw materials to be used
o What makes somebody the organization is employing of high quality
o How to maintain the same quality over a long period of time
From my understanding of the concept of quality, coupled by the studies I went through with Quality Gurus, I strongly believe that QUALITY CAN BE MEASURED! The following are some of the ways through which anyone could measure quality.
1. By the number of rejects or acceptability of the products by the users. Take for example; if the rejects are 80% on the whole, then the product is of low or bad quality compared to other substitutes or similar products in the market (all things being equal). How then can an organization measure this? The organization or individual (entrepreneur) should take proper records of returns (rejects) over time say 3 months i.e.
= rejects/Total Unit sold x 100
If the percentage gotten is more than 20%, the product needs to be checked.
2. The rate of rework or recycle or reproduction or wastages is also a yardstick for measuring quality. The higher any of these, the poorer the quality.
3. The preference of the customer by a way of preferring other products (of competitors) to that of the organization. This is a pointer that the quality is below acceptable standard or probably other products’ qualities are higher (provided that prices are the same for the products in question).
4. Quality can be measured by its acceptability to local, national and/ or international quality rating organization/bodies like SON, NAFDAC, etc.
There are many more means of measuring quality. However, the bottom line here is that quality can be measured qualitatively and quantitatively depending on how the organization wants it.