Received: 18. 09. 2006
Accepted: 22. 10. 2009
Rapid technological development, as well as stronger competition have increased the importance of product quality. At the same time, the quality has been prescribed by adequate norms or standards. The implementation of quality systems is extremely important for companies that seek their position on the global market. In the European Union, quality systems of the international ISO standard are being applied, which are based on the principles of the Total Quality Management. On the other hand, Croatia and other transitional countries still need to strive to achieve the culture of quality management in their economies. This paper reviews the state of the ISO standard implementation in the transitional countries, as well as in the world.
1. INITIAL CONSIDERATIONS
The globalisation process is characterised by stronger competition and ever-stricter marketing conditions. Therefore, quality management and quality assurance have become a necessity in the struggle for a market and buyers, resulting in continuous work in this field. The concept, which has to be embodied in a control system of any modern economic subject, is the concept of quality control. Quality control traditionally applies to the control of business results, and it usually follows a production process by establishing the discrepancy between the planned and achieved product quality. Total quality management strives for an integral approach, according to which this continuous activity is entrusted to all employees, and to which quality control is ever-more shifted to previous stages of the production process in all activity phases, so that the process itself is more researched, from the input research to the process output.
Many economists believe that product competitiveness can be achieved in many different ways, as e.g., by innovativeness, originality, complementarity and variety, and functional and qualitative advantages. Considering the importance of expenses which have to be constantly monitored, it is very important that a company develops an innovative approach to total quality upgrading, which would, consequently, lead to its survival in ever-stricter conditions of international competition. It is understandable that in such circumstances quality has been transforming from technical to manager category and that a modern approach to Total Quality Management and the application of ISO standards demand for a modified role of all management levels, as well as of all employees.
2. PRINCIPLES OF QUALITY CONTROL
Product quality is undoubtedly one of the most important factors of non-price competition on the market of the more developed economies. It presents the established level of product properties by which practical value and product usefulness are determined. The product quality is a degree which shows us to what extent the product meets the needs, wishes and expectations of customers. A superior quality increases the customers' loyalty, leads to repeated purchases and oral advertising (Budic & Andrlic, 2005).
Therefore, quality policy can be applied to the entire business, whereas product quality has to be considered separately. In that sense, the following elements of product quality have to be taken into account (Kelly, 1997):
* benefit and
In order to establish higher quality levels, a producer has to meet as many buyers' or users' demands as possible, taking into account all the above-mentioned quality elements. This especially applies to satisfying buyers' demands toward the usage, price, durability, and technical properties of a product. For some products, aesthetic quality is particularly important, as well as their usage range. It means that a product may be cheap, but its purposefulness contributes to an important part of its quality. …