In this article I will discuss the importance of quality of a product or service and the effects of poor quality.
From a customer perspective, the person who pays for a product or service expects in return to receive satisfaction for the cash exchanged. This could be anything from aesthetical appeal, usability, durability or plainly “just doing what it says on the can.”
People, myself included, enjoy using well made products and gladly pay the price to have them. Improving the customer experience also allows a continuity of sales and consequently growth of the business.
In highly competitive industries, quality is one of the vehicles to ensure that the product/services can offer a sustainable competitive advantage. Global imports can easily flood the market exposing the local businesses to additional competition. This drives prices lower so as to compete with the bigger foreign brands.
Travelling upstream from the customer to the supplier, quality is important at every stage. Direct customers along the value chain must ensure that they receive the expected quality. If not, defects can travel downstream and reach the end user. When exposed to alternatives, the end user may decide not to choose for the product/service.
Other costs from returns and refunds from customers don’t improve bottom lines and could impact profit margins. In the long term costs due to bad reputation can end up killing the business.
Simple tools like quality in station, gold standards and standardised procedures borrowed from LEAN can be implemented to reduce defects arriving at the customer. It is important for companies experiencing signs of poor quality either from their suppliers or their processes must take action now rather than wait for troubling times.