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the glass & the paper cup

Which is the quality product, and why? and who decides – the customer or the provider? And does fit for purpose depend on use and context?
This story is from the Are You Sitting Comfortably series... short, sharp morality tales for managers – often to make you smile, and always to make you think.

which one is the quality product?

book chapter - the glass & the paper cup

Here is a nice cut-glass hand-made crystal glass.

And here is a paper cup.

Which one is the quality product?

The answer is: they are both are (unless of course, the paper cup is a failed crystal glass – or vice versa!)

The paper cup was meant to be a paper cup. The crystal glass was meant to be a crystal glass. They were both meant to be like that. You might like one better in some circumstances than the other (entertaining guests, for example), but on other occasions you might prefer the other (walking in the hills, for example).  What all this means in essence, is, that ‘quality’ largely resides in being fit for purpose.  So we cannot really assess any product or service in isolation: we have to know what its main purpose is.

So quality  fundamentally lies in the product or service specification: it is nothing to do with any individual’s personal taste (though of course – vitally – the customer’s preferences should be built into, and shape the specification).

So we cannot claim something is a quality product unless we know the specification it should be compared with. All we can say is ‘we like it (or not).’ We may not, on occasions, ‘like’ a Mickey Mouse watch, but if it was designed and built to be exactly like that, then it is quality watch….

So quality really depends on two things: what it’s intended purpose is; and whether it is exactly as the specification intended.  And two important point follow from this: firstly – no specification, no real measure of quality; and whoever owns the specification – determines quality.

so quality  fundamentally lies in the product or service specification: it is nothing to do with any individual’s personal taste

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Live Poll - Mitsubishi - 06/21 - Lift Off

Group

We know it’s a faff
And a bit of a pain;
But it really helps us
Stay on top of our game…

We know it’s a faff
And a bit of a pain;
But it really helps us
Stay on top of our game…