A quality gap analysis is a management technique in which performance standards set by the business are measured against the actual levels of performance that are being delivered. By identifying these gaps, companies can do what they need to improve performance. Performing a quality gap analysis is an effective method of keeping track of the many aspects of a business, including service levels to customers and product quality. Such an analysis usually requires contacting customers to get their feedback and then quantifying the results in a way that makes them measurable.
Companies are often judged by their customers, by the market, and by their competition. The best firms, however, also take great care to judge their own performance levels. By doing this, they can stay on top of problem areas and focus on the strengths that they might have. In terms of identifying areas of weakness so that they may be rectified, there might be no better method to use than a quality gap analysis. It is an extremely useful and versatile business tool.
The simple theory behind a quality gap analysis states that every company should set benchmarks for performance on every aspect of their business operations. Very few businesses have every facet working at the top of their expectations all the time. As a result, gaps are created between what a company wants to deliver and what it is actually achieving. A gap analysis can identify these lapses in quality so that steps may be taken to correct the most pressing issues.
There are different gaps that may be addressed by a quality gap analysis, many of them having to do with how customers perceive a business. A service gap analysis measures any areas where a company might not be delivering optimum service to their clientele. By contrast, a product gap analysis is focused on the actual products being offered to customers and whether or not those products are satisfactory.
In many cases, a chart identifying the different classes of performance is used in a quality gap analysis. By labeling certain levels of performance, managers can better identify what levels they wish to reach. Through marketing research, they can then find out how close they are to those levels. Giving numerical values to the different levels allows managers to present the information as quantifiable statistics. All of these efforts go toward identifying any dissatisfaction customers might have with a company, which must be avoided at all costs in any business environment.