Redefining Quality for the Tech-Savvy World

Opinion / Supply Chain and Quality

Redefining Quality for the Tech-Savvy World
C.L. Kappagomtula , Professor, Malaysia

There is no denial of the fact, that in any product or service, quality is sacrosanct to marketability of the goods or services. But quality measurement has become very complex due to the variability in choices customers make for quality. A more pragmatic and rationale approach model for quality measurement is suggested.

Filtering them out and simplifying the parameters discussed by, Zeithmal Parasuram & Berry in their popular, SERVQUAL or the RATER model as a tool to measure service quality for Service sector, a new Service Quality Model in a simplified fashion has been conceived by the author. The Parasuram model encompasses:
1. Reliability
2. Assurance
3. Tangibles
4. Empathy
5. Responsiveness
It can be easily surmised that these above five parameters are part of the originally evolved ten dimensions for Quality of Services and Products (Parasuram and Berry, 1985).
While both the original and its derivative models are chiefly a mixture of different intangible entities, their measurement is always done by using a graduated Likert scale. All these entities are abstract in nature and can only be visualized in spatial dimension. However in the modern world, Service and Product Quality are closely linked to real tangible entities. They are the Providers in one spectrum and the Receptor in the other. And each of these two are interacting in close quarters, for both the Product and Service. They are in direct communication or physical contact with each other in real world business. In such a scenario, the Provider becomes the Assessee, and the Receptor becomes the Assessor for quality evaluation. The Quality parameter gets assessed instantly, without any spatial or third party intervention, whenever the product is in the hands of the Receptors, or the service is ‘felt’ by them.
It is therefore felt, that even the Parasuram & Berry’s Model of RATER, can be further simplified by bringing in just Four entities – the Provider and Receptor as tangible, real World entities, and the ‘Perception’ and the ‘Feel’ in the Spatial World. These two parameters are intangibles. Thus there are, just the four entities that matter for both the ‘provider’ and the ‘receptor’ for the present day, ‘tech savvy’ World. This gives rise to an easily measurable Quality performance system similar to the Likert’s system.

Paradigm for Provider’s Perception- Receptor’s Feel (PPRF) Model
From a hypothetical frame work to real world scenario for Quality of Product or Service provided by any Provider, the model has to be simple and yet robust enough to provide the needful facilities to evaluate the Quality content. The suggested PPRF Model for realizing this objective is explained in detail below:
The model has just four entities in all, consisting two tangible entities, viz., the Provider and the Receptor which are the real world entities. The other two entities, which are the Perception and Feeling from the spatial or meta dimension. The actual inter-play with respect to the Quality of the Product or Service is just in the Real World dimension, between the Provider and the Receptor. These two entities act and react in synchrony and in consonance with the spatial entities of Perception and Feelings. Whether both these spatial entities are mutually supportive or in divergence are the accurate measure for the Quality of Product or Service in focus between the real world entities. This measure, though intangible in nature, can be easily converted to measurable quantities, using the conventional Likert’s system.
The measure or evaluation of Quality involving merely these four entities, becomes much simpler, for the transaction is taking place between these two world entities, and only two intangible spatial entities are being evaluated on a common scale for all them.
What is important to note from the suggested model, is the drastic reduction, in the number of gaps between the entities in the model, thus avoiding ‘scatter’ in the Quality system. Given the competitive business environment for products and services in the present ‘tech savvy’, world, there is hardly any scope for gaps existing between Provider and Perception by the Provider. The only conceivable gap in the model is the one in spatial dimension, between, the entities; Provider’s Perception and Customer’s Feelings. This becomes independent of different parameters, that an individual or group of Receptors may attribute for the product or service, which they get from the Providers.
The PPRF Quality model is an attempt to simplify the complex process of evaluating the quality of any product or service processes. Evaluating a very sensitive and important issue, such as Quality, has to be a simple process / mechanism in present day technological world. The evolved PPRF Model can be put to test and it throws open further avenues for intense research in this dimension. The utopian objective for quality is a never ending process towards perfection of Production or Service. Thus for the present day, tech savvy World, the definition for Quality can be aptly redefined as: “In a race for Quality, there can never be any finishing line. The Organization, which runs farthest, will always be in race for ever during their product or service sustenance to the receptors”.

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