Quality and the prize
going for the gold
Quality is really about satisfying customer requirements. The four basic principles for implementing a quality management system are: 1) determine customer requirements and have an objective means to measure customer satisfaction; 2) use the Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) cycle to foster continuous improvement; 3) manage according to objective data; and 4) create a respectful environment through training, encouragement, and communication. In the United States, the two prizes awarded for superior quality are the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award and the President's Award for Quality and Productivity. In Japan, the Deming Prize is awarded to individuals and companies for improved performance through quality management, and the Europeans are preparing criteria for their own quality award. The 'real quality prize,' however, is the integration of quality management principles throughout an organization.