With the highly competitive nature of the current business world, customers can dictate who, what, when, where, why, and how much regarding market commodities and services. In other words, quality has never counted more. As a result, management and organizations must heed these calls and specifically cater to the ever‐changing expectations of their international clientele.
Globally, customers expect quality whether they are buying a consumer product or receiving a service. As a result, many countries have adopted the quality standards set by the International Standards Organization (ISO) in Geneva, Switzerland.
Businesses that want to compete as world‐class companies are increasingly expected to have ISO 9000 Certification at various levels. To gain certification in this family of quality standards, businesses must undergo a rigorous assessment by outside auditors to determine whether they meet ISO requirements. Increasingly, the ISO stamp of approval is viewed as a necessity in international business; the ISO certification provides customers with an assurance that a set of solid quality standards and processes are in place.
The commitment to total quality operations is now a way of life in world‐class firms. In the United States, the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Awards were established to benchmark excellence in quality achievements. The following list of award criteria indicates the full extent of the day‐to‐day commitment that is essential to gaining competitive advantage through a commitment to total quality:
- Top executives incorporate quality values into day‐to‐day management.
- The organization works with suppliers to improve the quality of their goods and/or services.
- The organization trains workers in quality techniques and implements systems that ensure high‐quality products.
- The organization's products are as good as or better than those of its competitors.
- The organization meets customers' needs and wants and gets customer satisfaction ratings equal to or better than those of competitors.
- The organization's quality system yields concrete results such as increased market share and lower product cycle times.