Improving the quality of products and services has become a major goal of most sophisticated companies and organisations in the 1980s. The challenge of competition from the Japanese, coupled with a growing awareness that millions of dollars in production and operating costs can be saved when things are done right first time, has captured the interest and imagination of thousands of managers and executives. Businesses that had never thought much about whether their services conformed to requirements, or their products were fit for use, have begun to turn their attention to the issue of quality. Even more mature companies that have earned a reputation for achieving excellence have begun to take a closer look at their internal activities and processes with a view to reducing rework, scrap, and costs in order to remain competitive.
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