Having the highest possible quality in your product or service can not only gain repeat customers but cut your costs of marketing. By Gary Shotton #000165
Quality Is Number One
By Gary Shotton
Hello, my name is Gary Shotton and today we’re going to talk about the subject of Quality. I was asked one time by an individual what was the number one most important thing that we could consider to be successful. My immediate response was quality now you’re probably thinking I’ve heard this before; I don’t want to hear it again. But let’s go over it in detail and let’s really understand what we’re talking about, when we talk about quality and the importance of it first you must realize that. Our customers are always grading quality as reference to this subject of quality. I’m going to refer to my ownership of a business machine shop and in that business, we make metal parts like this it’s a precision part that has lots of dimensions. Lots of tolerance issues on it and including smoothness and cleanliness. And everything about that part is very important, it doesn’t matter if it’s this kind of business or your business. Like a restaurant is the quality of the food as expected whether it is buying a pair of shoes what kind of quality of shoes are you buying.
Whether it’s even a hairstyle or is the quality of the hair style and the saloon or salon meeting the expectations of the customer, as an example my one my biggest customer has these grading sheets, that we have every single month it’s like a report card you’d think you’d get out of high school you’d get away from report cards. But this is a report card if you see there, they are several them, this is month that’s a month after month. A very similar report card that is demonstrating in green yellow and red whether we’re meeting their expectations, and, on that report, card is things like the acceptable parts. Coming in with no defects that’s the number one thing that’s clearly quality. But also, is included on that the subject of on-time delivery that’s the issue, if you think about it your difference of the same product being on time or when expected. That’s an issue of quality because some people don’t want to wait, even though it’s perfectly dimensional correct or the food is perfectly right.
You don’t want to wait an hour and a half for your meal when you’re expecting it, in like 15 minutes. So, this whole subject of quality goes deep so number one,” what are your customers’ expectations, now the customer is the boss in this regard, but the customers are not always going to be the same. So, you’ve got to determine who your customer is, and what their expectations, are in quality. Let’s take food in the United States, we have a lot of fast food meaning drive through the window. Pick it up in less than one minute, I eat it in the car or eat it quickly and those meal prices could range from like seven to nine dollars. For a full meal and just for a sandwich could five or six dollars, that’s a customer that wants something quick that’s something that for the price range that they’re willing to pay. They’re going to compare it with other options, that they have whether it’s beef or fish or chicken. They’re going to compare it with their other options you do that yourself whereas, if I take my wife out to a nice dinner or maybe it’s an anniversary or a special event or a birthday. I go to a nicer place and I don’t expect it to be there that fast I expect to be treated respectfully. I expect they sit down and have my water filled, I expect a lot of things are included in quantity and then of course when the meal comes.
If I choose a steak or salmon or something more of a dish that’s a more expensive, I don’t mind paying more for the product. But I have an expectation based on what I’m paying and that’s what you’ve got to be able to determine price of shoes. We had this discussion in Africa that some people are buying shoes off the boat from China, well those shoes are going to wear out that person is buying the cheapest possible set of shoes they possibly can buy so that quality is down. The price is right it’s there for delivery but, they don’t last. Where a suggestion could be to buy a better pair of shoes that would last not just one month or three months. But two or three kids like kid number one kid number two five or six years through more than one child as they grow so you’ve got to determine what the customer is. Your customer and you’ve got to stay fixed on that. Be sure you know what that is now when you decide that, there’s what we call tolerance now. When I take this part that I have in my hand and each dimension there’s a call-out on the print, that dimension has what we call a tolerance.
It’s plus a certain dimension or minus a certain dimension in our case there are thousandths of an inch it can be plus one or two one thousandths of an inch or – in other words it could be a particular dimension plus or minus a certain tolerance level and that’s a call-out that’s we require to have on our print because we need to know whether or not we’re meeting the quality expectations of the customer and we can’t hit it exact perfectly every time every dimension must have a tolerance so if you’re like selling ice cream cones you need a tolerance on the weight you need to know maybe a little scale there that you’re meeting the expectations of the customer that that was so many ounces of ice cream plus or minus so many portions of ounce’s or our pounds or whatever unit of measure you’re at I remember a time that I was watching my money and I went to a particular store and got an ice cream cone I thought it was a treat and that person stacked that ice cream cone up high with ice cream man I thought it was a Best Buy I went back the next time and another person gave me the right quantity and I was disappointed.
Because I was expecting more ice cream for the same price you’ve got to be careful, that you know what the customer wants. And then you’ve got to be able to measure the tolerances of whatever it is whether it’s acceptable or not let’s take something that’s being tailored. Somebody normally not the seamstress needs to judge the quantity and be willing to say you know you did not would stitch, the stitching’s tight enough are these dimensions are too irregular or this has too much extra string hanging off of it. Whatever it is somebody’s got to be probably not the person that’s met that’s making it. Helping measure the quality of that product whatever it may be now you’re only going to be as good as the feedback you get from your customers now. I showed you a little bit ago the scorecard that is feedback that’s a feedback that we get every month from that customer. I go in with my Quality Manager and my production manager minimum the three of us go and we discuss about, every single issue of quantity that did not meet the customers’ expectations and they want from me our company.
What’s called a corrective action, what are we going to do to correct that, so that this does not happen again. In most cases our customers charge us a penalty, if we allow a part like a financial pill at penalty in cases, several hundreds of dollars. If we allow one part to get to that their assembly line and it’s not to their expectation, this could become expensive now. A survey maybe you could just ask your people to fill out a survey, I’m telling you when I’m doing a survey it’s hard for me really to tell the truth. So you might want to consider a trusted person that you could send in and judge, you know they’re going to tell you the real truth they’re not worried about offending you. By telling you that the soup was too cold when it came or the taste, was not good or that the style was out of style, or the hairdressing was done incorrect. You’re it’s a little hard to get a true survey from your customers but do what you can now in our case. it’s not just the dimensional issues its appearance we have several times our parts are everything’s perfect.
But it just doesn’t look good you’re going to have to consider the same way. We have just how Brown is brown, on the top of a biscuit how well is it packaged. That’s another thing if we send something to our customers at doesn’t isn’t packaged well. If it isn’t protected safely, they’ll tell us about it. You’ve got to know that when you hand your product to your customer, whether it’s a service or a product that you’ve packaged. It well this is a quick summary on quality it’s very important that you understand the value of quality. And once again in my opinion it is the absolute most number one, first thing that every business must focus on. Without it you’ll not have repeat customers not without it you’ll not have referral customers without it. You cannot price a high enough or low enough to get the customers you’re going to go out of business, at some point if you don’t have a quality level that meets and exceeds the expectation of your customers. Thank you for being a part of Inspiring Better Business.
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