Table of Contents:-
- What is Quality Standards?
- Need of Quality Standards
- National Quality Standards Organisations
What is quality standards?
Quality standards represent “the totality of characteristics of an entity that affect its ability to meet stated and implied needs” rather than varying values. These standards state the essential components of a quality program. They can also be viewed as components of good practice. Formal quality definitions facilitate trade, technology exchange, and effective management methods. Despite the general recognition of their utility, negotiating these definitions remains challenging and contentious.
Quality is an essential aspect when it comes to any service or product. With the high market competition, quality has become the market differentiator for almost all services and products. Organisations follow many methods to achieve and maintain the required level of quality. Some organisations believe in Total Quality Management (TQM), and others believe in internal and external standards. The standards usually define the processes and procedures for organisational activities and assist in maintaining the quality in every aspect of executive functioning.
There are many standards for quality. ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is one of the prominent bodies for defining quality standards for different industries. Consequently, many organizations strive to comply with ISO quality requirements. In addition to that, many other standards are specific to various industries.
Since standards have become a symbol for products and service quality, customers are now keen on buying their product or service from a certified manufacturer or a service provider. Therefore, complying with standards such as ISO has become a necessity for attracting new customers.
Need of Quality Standards
Using standards can offer powerful business and marketing tools for organisations of all sizes. These organisations can use them to fine-tune their performance and manage the risks while operating in more efficient and sustainable ways. The following are the main points for the importance of quality standards in an organisation:
1) Communication of Expectations
Clear, concise, observable and realistic quality standards form a common base of expectations for all service behaviour. By establishing them higher authorities are communicating to all employees, “This is what all employees expect. This is what all of them want. This is what an excellent job is all about.” When top management does this means they have communicated their expectations loud and clear to everybody involved in customer expectations for quality.
2) Increase in Reputation
Through quality standards, the confidence of interested parties in the effectiveness and efficiency of the company increases, as the parties are aware of the financial and social gains from company performance and reputation.
3) Customer Satisfaction
Every organisation has a “customer is king” policy so they strive to satisfy the needs of the customer and maintain customer loyalty, which is required to be competitive in this cut-throat global competition.
4) Other Needs
There are also some other needs such as timely registration of products by eliminating waste and the need for rework, Operational results such as revenue, profitability, market share and export opportunities and alignment of processes with the achievement of better results.
5) Establishment of Goal
Written quality standards establish a goal a target toward which all the employees of an organisation can direct their efforts. It gives them a clear sense of what to strive for and how high to reach. Quality standards establish a sense of purpose and direction for them. It keeps them focused, on target, and headed in the right direction.
6) Create a Valuable Management Tool
Once top management has developed a complete list of service standards, they can become part of recruiting profiles, job descriptions, and hiring decisions. An organisation’s quality standards can also easily carry over into employees’ training efforts, so the organisation’s quality operational standards become part and parcel of the standards toward which all employees are prepared for their jobs. In addition, clear, concise, observable, and realistic standards can become the foundation of a meaningful and productive employee performance appraisal system, a system that evaluates the behaviours important to customer service at the level of excellence accepted by everybody in the organisational team.
7) Employee Motivation
Understanding and motivation of employees toward the company, quality, policy and business objectives, as well as participation in continual quality improvement initiatives
National Quality Standards Organisations
National standardisation activity started in India in 1947 with the establishment of the Indian Standards Institution (IST) as a society under the Societies Registration Act 1860, to prepare and promote the adoption of national standards. In 1952, the Institution became responsible for operating a certification marking scheme under an Act of Parliament.
India has a system of product certifications governed by laws made by the Parliament. These certifications hold a mandatory legal status for essential products to an advisory one for others. Al certifications related to industrial products are governed by the national standards body- BIS while standards for other areas (like agricultural products) are developed by other agencies.
The Indian Government currently issues several Certification marks that have been discussed in Appendix 12 in detail. Amongst these, the ISI mark and BIS hallmark issued by the BIS are the most significant. Hence, most of this paper revolves around studying laws and Acts related to BIS, its functioning and consumer awareness related to its activities.
Many organisations work as standards in India which are as follows:
1) Agmark Certification
Agmark is an acronym for Agricultural Marketing and is used to certify food products for quality control. Other quality standards, including the non-manufacturing standard ISO 9000, have dominated Agmark.
2) ISO 9000
The discussion on inspection certificates and quality control is incomplete without 150-9000 Established in 1987, ISO 9000 is a series of international standards that has been accepted across the globe as the norm assuring high quality of goods.
3) Self-Certification Scheme
Under the self-certification scheme, large exporters and manufacturers can inspect their products without involving any other party. The facility is available to manufacturers of marine products, chemical and allied products and engineering products. Self-certification is given because the exporter is the best judge of the quality of his products and will not allow his reputation to be spoiled in the international market by compromising quality. The Self-Certification Scheme is granted to exporters for one year.
4) BIS Certification
The Indian Standards Institute now known as the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is a registered society under the Government of India. BIS’s main functions include the development of consumer affairs, technical standards, product quality and management system certifications.
5) Quality Council of India
QCI is set up as an autonomous body by the Government of India, (Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion being the nodal Ministry) to establish and operate the National Accreditation Structure for conformity assessment bodies.
6) In-Process Quality Control (IPQC)
In-process Quality Control (IPQC) inspection is primarily done for engineering products and is applied at the different stages of production. Units approved under the IPQC system of in-process quality control may issue the inspection certificate, but only for the products they have been granted IPQC facilities. The final inspection certificate on the end products is given without in-depth study at the shipment stage.