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Five Ways of Looking at Quality Definitions David M. Dilts, Professor of the Faculty of Science at the University of Waterloo, Waterloo Ontario, Canada made a list of quotations according to 5 different targets:


1. Customer - based


"Quality consists of the capacity to satisfy wants."(C.D. Edwards, "The Meaning of Quality", in Quality Progress Oct.1968)


"Quality is fitness for use." (J.M. Juran, ed. Quality Control Handbook 1988)


2. Manufacturing - based


"Quality is the degree to which a specific product conforms to a design or specification"

 (H.L. Gilmore: Product Conformance Cost. Quality progress June 1974)


"Quality [means] conformance to requirements." (P.B. Crosby: Quality Is Free)


3. Product - based


"Quality refers to the amount of the unpriced attributes contained in each unit of the priced attribute." (K. B. Leifler: Ambiguous Chamges in Product Quality, American Economic Review Dec.1982)


4. Value - based


"Quality is the degree of excellence at an acceptable price and the control of variability at an acceptable cost." (R. A. Broh:  Managing Quality for Higher Profits, 1982)


5. Transcendent


"Quality is neither mind nor matter, but a third entity independent of the two, even though Quality cannot be defined, you know what it is." (R. M. Pirsig: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)

Quality in different areas of society





On-time, comfortable, low-cost service

Health Care

Correct diagnosis, minimum wait time, lower cost, security

Food Services

Good product, fast delivery, good environment

Postal Services

Fast delivery, correct delivery, cost containment


Proper preparation for future, on-time knowledge delivery

Consumer Products

Properly made, defect-free, cost effective


Payoff on time, reasonable cost


Rapid deployment, decreased wages, no graft




Clearer, faster, cheaper service


Posted on Monday, August 30, 2004 1:47 PM Quality & Quality Models | Back to top

Comments on this post: Quality Definitions

# re: Quality Definitions
Requesting Gravatar...
Good reading. Thank you.

Do you know what the value of 99% good is ?
i.e. 6 sigma = 3.4 PPM. 99% = 10,000 PPM, but what sigma ?

Thank you most graciously, Jerry
Left by Jerry on Jul 26, 2005 7:38 AM

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