Definition: Conformance quality is the degree to which a good or service meets certain design standards determined by the producer. In other words, it’s a measure of how close products and services come to meeting planned criteria once they are produced or delivered.
What Does Conformance Quality Mean?
Producers of goods and services develop certain benchmarks for products based on what they think are the needs of their customers. These benchmarks serve as expectations against which subsequent goods and services will be compared once they are produced. If a product closely matches target specifications, it is said to have excellent conformance quality.
On the other hand, if the product deviates greatly from the intended design, that product is said to have poor conformance quality. Since it is difficult to match target values exactly, producers allow for tolerances. These tolerances express how much a product or service can deviate from the target while still having what is considered to be an acceptable conformance quality.
Let’s look at an example.
Jim is the owner of a shuttle service in Orlando. Part of his business involves picking up tourists at the airport and driving them to their intended destinations. In order to maximize the number of pickups, Jim wants to ensure that his shuttles are available at the airport during certain peak time windows. Jim gives drivers a daily schedule which tells them what time they should arrive at the airport. Since unexpected things can happen on the road, Jim allows for a tolerance of ± 15 minutes.
Today, a peak time is 12:35PM. Due to a lunch rush, one of Jim’s drivers doesn’t arrive at the airport until 12:47PM. How should this driver’s conformance quality be rated? Although the driver missed the target time, he was off by an acceptable amount of time. Therefore, his conformance quality is still considered to be good.