It is because people very often confuse QUALITY with such aspects as expensiveness, luxury etc. If you compare an expensive, top of the range "MONT BLANC PEN" and the disposable "BIC PEN", many people would say that the "MONT BLANC PEN" is of a better quality. It is a firm belief of many people that "MERCEDES" is a high quality vehicle, which is probably true, but in many countries such belief is so wrong, that people, without thinking say: "MERCEDES IS HIGHER QUALITY THAN TOYOTA".
If you look critically, ask yourself the question "What is the purpose of these two pens or these two cars?" Pens are for writing and cars are there to take you from X to Y. So the functional use is the same. Now, is an expensive "MONT BLANC PEN" suitable for foreman or a lead hand in a heavy production environment? Certainly not, it can easily get damaged, You can drop a BIC PEN on a concrete floor and nothing will happen, it will most likely still be fit for the same. The result may be disastrous. "MONT BLANC" is probably better suited for office staff, especially those, who want to impress their customers with how well off the company is. You may now see that, although these two products top of the range "MERCEDES" will be suitable for those, who look for luxury and a "STATUS" car. Most people cannot however afford such a car and therefore it is unable to meet their needs. On the contrary the "TOYOTA COROLLA" is an affordable means of transportation, offering a reasonable level of safety and comfort. You may know that in the statistics run by specialized, "GERMAN MOTOR JOURNALS", the COROLLA is ranked at the top of the list as far as reliability is concerned.
A similar comparison may be made when considering HOTELS. FIVE STAR HOTELS are often considered to be of the highest quality, but those, who have travelled a lot, know better than that. It is very often the case that you receive a superior quality or service in small countryside establishments ranked as TWO or THREE STAR, where the service will often have that special personal touch. Stars, if you know the system, are awarded for the services and facilities available (like laundry, beauty parlour, barber, gymnasium, sauna, jacuzzi, swimming pool, number of restaurants, bars, etc.), but do not tell you the quality of service really. You can get lousy service in a FIVE STAR HOTEL on occasions.
What differs between these two PENS, CARS and HOTELS is the grade?
ISO 9001:2000 defines GRADE as :
"category or rank given to different quality requirements for products, processes or systems having the same functional use"
Grade reflects a planned or international difference in the requirements for quality. It emphasizes the functional use and cost relationship.
GRADE is inherent in the product, whereas QUALITY is dependent upon how well the product satisfies the needs.
GRADE can be altered by changes in specification.
QUALITY is now often defined as TOTAL CONFORMANCE TO THE REQUIREMENTS; these requirements are total customer requirements and organization requirements, not just conformance to product specification. This far-reaching application of quality to every activity has taken many years to develop and is no long way from where it begun.
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