4.1.3 Maintaining and improving quality

Revision Time: 6 minutes

Quality in business is the theory of creating a standard Product that at minimum, meets consumer needs. A high quality product will exceed them and a poor quality product will not.

apple applications apps cell phone

An Apple iPhone may be considered to exceed the needs of customers, therefore is high quality. How does Apple ensure high quality products? Can you think of something you consider a low quality alternative? Why did it fail to meet your needs?

High quality means a customer will more likely be satisfied with the product increasing customer satisfaction, leading to repeat customers and positive word of mouth.

Issues with poor quality and product defects:

  • Higher return rate +
  • High reworks
  • Poor reputation +
  • More complaints/ more work for customer services =

Quality Control

Quality control is when a business ensures its products are up to the standard of their customers needs at the end of production. Faulty or non-conforming products are then removed or fixed.

Quality control will have a high Rework rate, this is process of correcting defective, failed, or non-conforming items after inspection. This is inefficient and increases the businesses costs.

Sampling – Quality control can also use a sample to check the qulity of the production process. This means that not every product is tested, only a small number of the total output. This means that rather than checking every single unit, a small selection from each batch is checked to ensure the quality. A chocolate maker may taste test and visually inspect a few chocolates from a batch to ensure that the recepie is correct and the chocolates meet the specification of the recepie, you wouldn’t want to eat them all now would you?

Quality Assurance

Quality assurance is when a business maintains the desired quality in their products at every stage of the production process.

Quality assurance is different from quality control.

Quality Control

  • Detecting and fixing issues after production
  • Reactive (after)

Quality Assurance

  • Preventing quality issues in the supply chain
  • Proactive (before)

How do you think that Google ensures Quality Assurance? Do you think Google has good quality assurance? Have you ever found a bug on a Google site? What have you done about it?

Benefits of quality assurance:

  • Costs
  • Zero waste
  • Zero defects
  • Right the first time

Total Quality Management (TQM)

TQM is a continuous quality assurance approach that seeks to continuously improve and maintain the quality throughout the entire business and involves all staff in the process. TQM links in with the Kaizen lean production approach. Every employee is responsible for TQM, not just production staff.


MethodOverviewStaff ResponsibleRework Level
Quality ControlEnd of ProductionQC InspectorsHigh
Quality AssuranceDuring ProductionProduction StaffMedium
Total Quality Management (TQM)Whole Business – Culture/ ethos ChangeEveryone in BusinessLow

4.1.2 Lean production

4.1.4 Production methods