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Garvin (1987) has identified eight dimensions of quality that any company need to pay attention to gain competitive advantage. These are:
- Perceived Quality
All these dimensions are present in every product is varying degrees. Let us take the example of an automobile. Its performance is defined in terms of the speed, acceleration, fuel economy and so on.
The features of car may be defined in terms of its dimensions, engine c.c. capacity, nature of upholstery and accessories provided and so on.
Reliability refers to the consistency of performance in accordance withe the claims made about the product. Thus the reliability of a particular model of automobile will be high if every automobile sold give some minimum standard performance rather than some giving performance much above the minimum stated performance standards and some others much below it.
Conformance refers to the adherence to standards set for the product features and performance by buyers, independent agencies and manufacturers. For example an automobile need to conform to standards such as safety and environmental pollution standards.
Durability refers to the longevity of the useful life of the product. It is very easy to understand the concept of longevity for a product like an electric bulb, which just stops lighting after working for some time. In case of the life of automobile does not end just so suddenly. However still we can compare the life of different automobiles in terms of the period and miles drive for which they are capable of giving satisfactory service without excessive cost of maintenance and operation.
Serviceability refers to the ease and cost of keeping the product in a satisfactory working condition. This is of course very important features that for automobile. For example an automobile that need to be serviced, say after driving every 10,000 km is definitely preferable to one that need to be services after every 5,000 km.
Aesthetic refers to the the looks and other features of the product that appeal to the aesthetic sense of the owners. As we all know this has been a very important feature of the modern automobiles and automobile companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars to develop appealing looks for their cars.
Perceives quality refers to how the customer feels about the quality. The perception of customer is very much influenced by all the other seven dimension of quality. In addition it may also be affected bu the way company markets its products and the personal experiences of the customer with the product. For example, some companies promote formation of clubs and association of the users of their automobiles to foster more favourable emotional response from customers towards their products.
Garvin, D., "Competing on the eight Dimension of Quality", Harvard Business Review 65:6 (1987): 101-109
explain the use of eight dimension quality to determine the quality of Acer laptop computers
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