Sunday, March 20, 2005

A systematic and professional approach to quality terms and definitions

Unambiguous concepts, terms, and definitions are important in communicating and understanding things. Therefore creating a clear general professional terminology for the field of quality management is an important means to achieve the objectives of the ISO 9000 standardization. However, within each organization applying quality related methodology one should apply terms according to the needs and conditions of the organization. In this approach, standard vocabularies and dictionaries may be of a great advantage. The most central terms that organizations should adopt according to the ISO 9000 standard include:
  • quality
  • quality management system
  • quality policy
  • quality control
  • quality assurance
  • quality improvement
Organizations should, of course, also understand the definitions and meanings of those terms in the standard way. In this sense, however, there are a lot of imperfections in practice. There is much obscurity and ambiguity in the use of key quality concepts. Especially there exist difficulties when applying e.g. ISO 9000 standards related to the following terms:
  • quality versus grade
  • quality management system versus already obsolete quality system
  • quality assurance versus quality management
  • quality policy as a general organization-dedicated code of practice
  • requirements as needs and expectations
  • effectiveness versus efficiency
  • ensure versus assure.
The situation gets even more difficult when translating these expressions into various languages.


Blogger Juhani Anttila said...

Several years ago I wrote the following poem on understanding terms. In that context we discussed about the TQM (see my blog-contribution on March 18, 2005):

"Dilemma of a Word
If you call it TQM,
you’ll fasten upon the name.
If you don’t call it TQM,
you’ll deny the fact."

When stereotyped standpoints burst, and desire for observing business quality as an undivided entirety wakes up, you may start a genuine journey of TQM.

I got impact to these ideas from ancient Chinese Wu-men, 1183-1260 (freely adapting):

"No gate on the high way,
thousands paths merge with it. Passing this entrance,
you’ll move freely on heaven and earth."

20 March, 2005 17:45  
Anonymous iso 9000 said...

I read your post . it was amazing.Your thought process is wonderful.
The way you tell about things is awesome. They are inspiring and helpful.Thanks for sharing your information and stories.
iso 9000

03 June, 2011 13:32  

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