Why quality comes before cost for any business
During a recent workshop I was facilitating an interesting discussion developed. The operations team were arguing that cost to a business would always come first. The rational being that every business exists to make money therefore it should look to make as much profit as possible. This is a big mistake. Every business exists to serve its customers. Without the customer there is no sale and therefore no profit. The first concern to everyone in any business should always be quality. Without quality in our product: either physical quality that we build into the part being sold or quality in the care our customers receive we have no business.
Think back to the last time you received poor customer service or bought a product that did not meet your specification as a customer, what did you do?
- Call the company and complain
- Switch allegiance and then continue to tell all your friends, every one you met in the street, facebook and twitter
- Continue to buy that product/service and say nothing
In today’s world with constant use of social media as a business more than ever the first concern has to be quality. Quality in the eyes of the customer; you have to talk to the customer, understand what they require and ensure you have built that standard into every operation you do. Only when you have established the quality can you look at maximising profit by reducing your internal costs. But this alone will not be enough to keep you in business you then must see how you can better serve the customer, this is not all about the price of the product. Cheaper does not mean more sales, it is about serving the customer better, aspiring to do more for them, provide better each time without them asking or knowing they need it. Think about the change in TVs, once upon a time TVs all had cathode ray tubes, you could be the best producer of CRTs supply great quality at low cost but when the technology changed and TVs went to flat screen plasma there was no need for CRT. No sales no business.
Today we must first think quality then we must think about how best to serve the customer. Yes, internal costs matter but not at the expense of the customer.
Make an IMPACT today: do you know what your customer requires? Are you exceeding expectations? Will you be resigned to the history books along with plenty of other great products?