Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Strategies that Product Managers should employ to satisfy quality-conscious customers

Quality is defined as “a perception of a measure of the comparative standard of a good or service, or its characteristic(s), when compared with either like goods and services, or to absolute values”[1].
The quality-conscious buyers/customers generally have a threshold level of quality below which they will not purchase the goods. It is obvious that a seller’s definition of quality would vary from a customer’s definition. For a given price, a seller will try to minimize quality so as to maximize profit. Whereas, for same value, the buyer would like to obtain a product of highest quality so that he can obtain maximum return on investment. Hence, quality is a very subjective term but a seller needs to have well-defined objective indices to measure quality in order to meet customer expectations while keeping profit margins intact.

Strategies to satisfy quality-conscious customers -

1.      Total Quality Management (TQM) – It is an approach according to which quality is improved so as to meet or exceed the customer’s expectations. This can be achieved by integrating all quality related functions throughout the company including managing quality design and development, quality control and maintenance, quality improvement and quality assurance. TQM takes into account all quality measures taken at all levels involving all company employees[2].
2.    Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Management –  This methodology involves reworking on current quality standards so as to meet customer expectations by eliminating non-conforming products or components. The required quality standards may not be explicitly defined and hence the achieved standards can exceed the intended level of quality but can be never less than it.
3.      Value-adding Management (VAM) – This strategy insures that every investment or expenditure and each process or activity or outcome adds utility value to the intended product or services as per the perception of customers or stakeholders. This would realize to higher selling price so as to realize maximum profit.


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