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Apparel Quality Management

What is Quality?
Quality has to be designed and built into the
products, not just “inspected” into products.

According to Webster’s II New Revised University

Dictionary, Quality is essential character: nature,
an ingredient or distinguishing attribute: property, a
character trait, superiority of kind, degree of grade
or excellence.
Quality means different things to different people:

• The best money can buy

• Meeting a specification or conformance to
• Craftsmanship
• The degree of excellence that an item
• No more than 1% defective lot
• Anything Japanese or German
• What Quality means to people depends on their
perception of the value of a product or service under
consideration and their expectation of performance,
durability, reliability, etc., of that product or service.
• In its broadest sense, Quality can also mean the
absence of variation
• Quality can also mean meeting or exceeding
customer expectations – all the time!
Further definitions of Quality…
David A. Garvin, author of ‘Managing Quality:
The Strategic & Competitive Edge’, proposed
that a definition of Quality can be –
• Product based
• User based
• Manufacturing based
• Value based
• A Product based definition of Quality views quality
as a precise and measurable variable
• A User based definition of Quality simply means
that quality is whatever the customer says or wants
• A Manufacturing based definition of Quality
means meeting specifications, conformance to
requirements, etc. Any deviation from meeting
requirements means poor quality.
• A Value based definition of Quality takes into
consideration cost or price of a product or service.
Garvin also proposes the following eight
dimensions of Quality:
• Performance: based on the primary operating
characteristics of a product.
• Features: secondary characteristics that
supplement a product’s basic functioning
• Reliability: the probability of a product’s
malfunctioning or failing within a specified period
of time.
• Conformance: refers to the degree or extent to
which a product’s design and operating
characteristics meet pre-established standards.
Eight dimensions of Quality: (contd…)
• Durability: means length of time a product will last
or product life.
• Serviceability: refers to the speed, courtesy,
competence, and ease of repair of a product.
• Aesthetics: refers to how a product looks, feels,
sounds, tastes or smells.
• Perceived Quality: refers to what the customer
perceive to be the quality of a product based on
image, advertising, and brand name reputation.
“Fitness for use”
Dr. Joseph M. Juran came up with the concept
of quality of a product, in terms of its “fitness
for use”.
Companies should judge fitness for use of a
product from a customer’s viewpoint and not
from a manufacturer’s or seller’s viewpoint.
For a garment to be ‘fit for use’:
• It must be free from defects such as stains, material
(fabric) defects, opens seams, loose hanging
(untrimmed) threads, misaligned buttons and
buttonholes, defective zippers, etc.
• It must fit properly for the labeled size.
• It must perform satisfactorily in normal use, meaning
that a garment must be able to withstand normal
laundering/ dry-cleaning/ pressing cycles without colour
loss or shrinkage, seams must not come apart, fabric
must not tear, etc.
• Quality can also mean meeting or exceeding
customer expectations.
• Quality is also a reflection of customers’ opinion of
the value they see in your product compared to that
of your competitor's. In other words, quality is
whatever the customer says it is or the customer is
the final judge of quality.
ISO (International Standards Organization)
definition of Quality

• Quality is defined as “the totality of features

and characteristics of a product or service that
bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied
Quality related terminology as taken from an American
National Standard “ANSI/ASQC A3 Quality Systems
Terminology” published by the American Society for Quality:

• Quality Management- That aspect of the overall management

foundation that determines and implements the quality policy.

• Quality System: The organizational structure, responsibilities,

procedures, processes, and resources for implementing quality

• Quality Plan: A document setting out the specific quality practices,

resources, and activities relevant to a particular product. Service,
contract, or project.
• Quality Policy: The overall intention and directions of an organization as
regards quality as formally expressed by top management.
• Quality Assurance: All those planned or systematic actions necessary to
provide adequate confidence that product or service will satisfy given
requirements for quality.
• Quality control: The operational techniques and the activities used to
fulfill requirements of quality.
• Statistical Quality control: The application of statistical techniques to the
control of quality.
• Inspection: Activities, such as measuring, examining, testing gauging, one
or more characteristics of product or service, and comparing these with
specified requirements to determine conformity.
• Testing: A mean of determining the capability of an item to meet specified
requirements by subjecting the item to a set of physical, chemical,
environmental, or operating actions and conditions.
Factors influencing consumers’ perception of
• Price: Consumers tend to associate quality with higher price.
There is some evidence that price is used by shoppers in
quality estimates and that for some product consumers’
estimates of quality are affected by price
• Technology: This indicates factors such as fabric and seam
strength, colorfastness, shrinkage, and other properties that
are affected by the state of technology in the industry.
• Psychology: A garment can be reasonably priced and the best
that technology can offer, but if it is not attractive in
appearance, if it is not fashionable, if it does not meet the
aesthetic requirements of the customers, than it is not quality
• Time orientation: This includes durability. The importance of
durability varies with categories of garments. E.g., children’s
garments are expected to be more durable than ladies’ high
fashion garments.

• Contractual: This refers to a product guarantee, the refund

policy of a store, etc.

• Ethical: This refers to honesty of advertising, courtesy of sales

personnel, etc.
Benefits of Quality
• Greater Market share
• Higher growth rates
• Higher earnings
• Premium price
• Loyal customers
• Highly motivated employees