Switzerland rhymes with superior quality and perfection. The “Swiss Label” is highly appreciated everywhere, exports without return of goods or complaint of the consumer.
If, of course, various ISO 9000-type standards are commonly established with regard to tangible and intangible goods, namely services, the perception that may be far from the truth is sometimes misleading or at least different. This is how the word quality in popular imagery is related to customer satisfaction for a provided product or service.
In fact, the situation is more complex because a sold product combines very often times with the after-sales service.
The ISO 9000 standard testifies to this entanglement for the sake of simplicity and quality control that embraces a whole chain of value and all the activities required to transform a raw material into final added value. Thus, the term quality covers a result and a process rather than a simple product.
Thus, the definition was standardized by the International Standardization Organization (ISO) where quality is “the ability of a set of intrinsic characteristics to meet requirements”. In other words, quality exists when the nature of the service provided meets the expected requirements. These latter do not only cover the expectations of the final customer and the consumer as to the cost and delivery time, for example, but those of the affected persons or “stakeholders”, namely those concerned by security or environmental issues arising from the service provided.
More broadly, these criteria embrace both products, processes, corporations and natural persons, private and public institutions and finally expressed clearly or implicitly by the customer.
As quality is marked by cultural connotations; it must also branch out according to other liberties because habits and customs also define the type of expectations specific to a given socio-economic model. Thus, the Swiss, probably without knowing it, had established systems of reflections in connection with the notion of compromise which emanates from the stability between cultures and various religions, systems comparable to quality management before its time. The lengthy discussions ensuring compromise were probably a cultural source of perfection, which remains cultural and hardly applicable to all.
The high-standard management or the management of high-standards was then a crucial commercial argument, not to say a constraint, because having no natural resources Switzerland had to be inventive in order to survive.
Today, the Swiss industry benefits and helps maintain this image of Swiss quality that is partially a perception. Indeed, the possible equation could be written as follows: Q = P / A, quality is a ratio of the performance P by the expectations A of the customer. Only demanding customers, so a high A, will look for a great performance of Q expected quality.
Without doubt, Switzerland intends to follow this path.
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