Quality Is Free Mass Market Paperback – Jan 1 1981
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Top Customer Reviews
"The first erroneous assumption is that quality means goodness, or luxury, so shininess, or weight. We must define quality as conformance to requirements if we are to manage it. The second erroneous assumption is that quality is an intangible and therefore not measurable. In fact, quality is precisely measurable by the oldest and most respected of measurements - cold hard cash", says the author. For example, "It is much less expensive to prevent errors than to rework, scrap or service them".
This book does not only have theoretic approach, but also brings practical value. It offers a quality improvement program that can be installed in any service or manufacturing company.
Philip Crosby's "Quality Is Free", first published in 1979, influences the book "Business @ Speed of Thought" by Bill Gates, released twenty years afterwards. With a bright set of modern case studies, he illustrates the basic concepts presented by Philip Crosby:
- There is absolutely no reason for having errors or defects in any product or service.
- Basically, we are slow to change because we reject newness.
- Transmitting: how you come across to others should not be left to chance.
- It is much less expensive to prevent errors than to rework, scrap or service them.
- Business is ... communication that we control and utilize. The effectiveness of the business is determined by how well we do that data transmission.
In the same year when the Bill Gates's book was published, Philip Crosby exposes his own case studies entitled "Quality and Me: Lessons from an Evolving Life".
I found very useful the idea that quality should be observed in all business activities, not only customer-specific (e.g. hiring, bookkeeping, etc. vs programming). If this is neglected then the firm simply does not know the true cost of quality. Seems to be so obvious, but ask yourself if you really think of it this way. Also very useful is the suggested way to measure quality in dollars, instead of indirect measurements, like defects-per-KLOC and such. After all, everything boils down to money, and that's the only real indicator of performance.
The weak point of this book is its language: it is a little bit hard to read, especially if English is not native to you. It would be much better if it were written in decent English, instead of US spoken.
Another pitfall is a somewhat free use of terminology. Thanks to this, many authors argue that the book message is not (entirely) correct, but the point is that some of its statements should not be taken literally. One needs to grasp the true meaning, which Crosby attaches to some of his words, like "requirements".
I rate that book with 4 stars only because of readability, which could be better. The contents deserves full 5 stars, and I consider it a must-read for all managers.
Quality is 1. Essential character: nature. 2 a. Inherent or distinguishing attribute. b. Degree or grade of excellence. (There are more definitions that follow this train of thought.)
Conformity is 1. Likeness in form or character
Require is 1. To have as a requisite: need
Philip Crosby is attempting to push "New Speak" 1984 ISBN: 0451524934, on us by usurping a word for his own purpose and negating its intended meaning. On page 15 he describes quality as "conformances to requirements" It is easy to conform to inappropriate specs. Is that quality? Is that free?
However this book is considered a classic. It was written in the days of typewriters. He refers to giving women a chance. He gets zero defects mixed up with quality. It is fun to play games with his "Maturity Grid" however too much time with it can put you out of business.
The one innovative part of this book is the Guidelines for Browsers. It is useful even after you have read the page. This tells you what he considered important on that page.
Look at how American cars have improved in quality over the last 20 years. From our cars just barely holding together in the 80s to the great cars from the big three, all because we used new methods to get to quality.
His methodology is more of the 50s and 60s military style of management. His quality method was inspection after the fact, not elimination of defects before the product is made.
This a good book as a basic study in quality and understanding why managers have the approaches they have. It is traditional and will appeal mostly to 'old school' quality methods.
Most recent customer reviews
Tchiker tesk miserka-masurkayet...matzurkae! Tchet, yeteMUSS! Blazkir ye Fzjieste cozte lidenczery, yetemire. Diskzt muzsye ister neueyrnz. Me ye yetskirmire!Published on Nov. 11 2000 by Cschetzty Lahdischkat
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