Fitness for use

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Fitness for use
See also

Fitness for use takes customers' requirements and expectations into account, which involve whether the products or services fit their uses. Since different customers may use the products in different ways, it means that products must possess multiple elements of fitness for use. Each of these elements is a quality characteristic and all of them can be classified into categories known as parameters for fitness for use[1].

Fitness for use is assessed by directly comparing the quality elements of information against a set of standards that represent the corresponding acceptable quality components. To facilitate direct comparison, the standards are defined using the same elements as those used for describing data quality. Standards for information are ultimately determined by the acceptable margin of uncertainty in the final decision[2].

Dimensions of fitness for use

Fitness for use consists of five major dimensions:

  • quality of design involves the product design concept and its specification.
  • quality of conformance reflects the match between actual products and design specifications.
  • availability refers to a product's readiness for use
  • safety could be assessed by calculating the risk of injury due to product usage
  • field use refers to a product's conformance and condition after it reached the customers' hands

It is developed a comprehensive approach to quality that spanned a product's entire life cycle- from board room to drawing room and every point in between[3].

The advantage of fitness for use

The advantage of fitness for use is simply that in most cases less strict requirements can be applied. This is much more efficient in terms of the time frames needed for Risk Management activities and costs. Besides that, for many scientists, consultants and regulators, but also for general public. Fitness for use is a rather logical concept. The idea behind this conception is that, such as most common things in life, things need to be suited for a specific, appropriate purpose. A garage, for example, needs to be suitable for parking a car and not as a playground for children[4].

Example of fitness use

Fitness for use focuses on how well the product performs its intended function or use. For example, a Mercedes-Benz and a Jeep Cherokee both meet a fitness for use definition if one considers transportation as the intended function. However, if the definition becomes more specific and assumes that the intended use is for transportation on mountain roads and carrying fishing gear, the Jeep Cherokee has a greater fitness for use. You can also see that fitness for use is a user-based definition in that it intended to meet the needs of a specific user group[5].


  1. S. H. Kan 2004, p.2-4
  2. K. Lowell, A. Jaton 2000, p.33-36
  3. B. Janakiraman, R. K. Gopal 2006, p.71-72
  4. F. A. Swartjes 2011, p.65-66
  5. R. D. Reid, N. R. Sanders 2015, p.152


Author: Karina Stefańska