In business, engineering and manufacturing, the concept of Quality of a product or a service can be defined in many ways. Quality can be a perceptual, conditional, and somewhat a subjective attribute and may be understood differently by different people. Consumers try to measure products or services for fitness of purpose, reliability, maintainability, or sustainability, whereas the providers measure for conformance to a known quality standard to show the degree to which the product or service was delivered correctly.
All nations strive for economic prosperity which in turn develops the society. For ages, access to local and global markets has been sought by all nations and businesses for their products and services. The quality policies of many major prosperous businesses of today show that their success requires compliance to globally acceptable quality requirements. In developed countries, the consumers and the producers are seldom aware of the quality requirements and lack the quality infrastructure which result in financial losses, bad reputations and rejections. It is my intuition that development and adoption of a quality policy at the national level will enhance the quality of products and services within the country and ultimately enhance customer satisfaction, build a trust and provide access to global markets. The national product quality will also form a basis for communication of quality principles inside the country.
As a practitioner of the principles of project management and as an engineering professional, I have learnt from my work experience in many developed and developing countries while delivering turnkey projects that quality of products and services depends on the quality policies of the provider, mandating adherence with various standards organizations, and quality requirements set by the end user. What most nations lack is a national quality policy that binds all the efforts to ensure an integrated quality infrastructure. Setting up guidelines for development of a national quality policy will ensure that a national policy is developed where governments, manufacturers, suppliers, executioners, managers, professionals and consumers are all aware of the quality requirements and are on the same page.
A national quality policy will also help a nation in self-regulating the quality of goods and services. There is nothing better than having the awareness of regulating one’s self. Take the example of a medical doctor hiring a building contractor or a civil engineer/ architect to build a house. Or consider a housewife buying a toy for her child – she does not have a safety department or quality expert to determine if the product was manufactured according to the best practices and standards. A startup buying a few computers for the new office may be another example to consider, where IT experts are not available to analyze the locally manufactured non-branded equipment or even the imported branded equipment. The civil codes, the national buildings codes, the municipality bye-laws, the associated legal systems, the standardization organizations, and quality policies if in place ensure that the works are done according to the standards, products are delivered according to the acceptable requirements, and all matters are handled by the experts. The concepts of due diligence, accountability and liability are established.
Sohail Moughal, P. E., M. Eng., MIEAust