Quality is defined within the relevant standard ISO 9000 as ‘the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfils requirements’. Requirements in this case are needs or expectations, and refer to the ability of a product or service to satisfy the customer’s needs. Quality is rarely an absolute standard and can only be measured against a customer’s needs or reasonable expectations. In procurement, quality is always a key factor in decision-making and is often the single most important factor; if the solution chosen is not fit for the intended purpose, why would you select it? There are also legal obligations on suppliers to supply goods of acceptable quality. This implies that goods need to reach a basic level of quality given the price of the goods and any description that is provided with the goods. The goods need to be fit for all the purposes for which the goods are commonly supplied, acceptable in appearance and finish, safe, durable and free from defects and faults.Services must be carried out with due skill and care and any materials provided as part of the service must also be fit for the purpose.While the legislation is targeted at consumer transactions, it is important in business-to-business procurement that buyers make sure potential suppliers are aware of the purposes for which the purchase is required. This is why output specifications such as performance or functional specifications, are often preferred to input specifications, as output specifications define what the solution should be able to do. See also Quality, Acceptable, Six Sigma and Specification.

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Discover the world’s largest Glossary of Procurement terms

With over 800 Procurement specific terms (and growing) you will find everything you need to know or thought you knew about the Procurement function. Our aim is to provide you with a comprehensive list collated from the Comprara Groups hub of training and consulting source materials.The Procurement Glossary has been compiled by industry expert Paul Rogers.