Juhani Anttila
Venture Knowledgist Quality Integration
Helsinki, Finland




Recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in the gross domestic product (GDP), real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales. Although downturn generally causes a lot of trouble, it can also mean something positive for the business, since a recession can always be seen both as an opportunity and a threat.

During the recession business competition becomes tougher. Hence, more competitiveness including flexibility, effectiveness and efficiency, and related managerial skills are required in organizations. Organizations need to address themselves into essential issues and strive for lean solutions. In this context a consistently systematic approach is beneficial. In the quality approaches this means concentrating on the basics, which may have been blurred during the times of abundance. Producing competitive goods and services, refining business process performance, and creating overpowering customer value and satisfaction become emphasized in order to avoid self-perpetuating negative development of giving in with the recession.

In this paper we focus on defining and discussing the product concept (consisting of goods and services) according to the ISO 9000 standard as a result of interacting processes of the customer and the supplier, and the satisfaction of product users (customers). Both of these topics are old themes in the professional quality practices, but however, we have discovered that in many organizations they are not clearly outlined. In particular, we are concerned about how organizations deal with service issues. This is often done in an inadequate and incoherent way even in the service organizations. Also today’s business environments and opportunities bring up new product aspects that have not been featured previously. The paper presents a collection of methodologies, which can be utilized for considering product questions from different viewpoints.


Superior product quality and striving for customer value and loyalty are the cornerstones of the success of all organizations. Time of economic recession brings with additional specific challenges and opportunities. Organizations must focus effectively on the essentials in everything.

Product quality and customer satisfaction – although they are old traditional core themes of the quality profession – are living a strong development phase because of the big changes, achievements, and new opportunities in business environments and technology. We should make adjustments in the basic concepts and also need new and innovative methods and solutions. However, our practical experience presented in this paper prove that generally recognized quality management and quality assurance principles and methodology may be useful for considering quality of products in a professional way. Key issue is the consistency with the different methods used.


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[This text was prepared together with Kari Jussila, and presented in Rovinj, Croatia in 2013. Presentation slides are avalable here.]