Understanding the Importance of Quality in Manufacturing and Services

Understanding the Importance of Quality in Manufacturing and Services

Why it should be foremost given the current political atmosphere.

It's something that's heard all the time now: "They don't make 'em like they used to" or "That piece of electronics is from China? It doesn't have a chance of lasting." Indeed, to some degree, there's a ring of truth to these sentiments; unfortunately, many areas of commerce - notably the aforementioned electronics sector - are being outsourced to countries such as China on a widespread basis, so much so that many consumers feel value has paid the ultimate price. Case in point: The home audio enthusiast market saw a resurgence of turntables over the past decade or so, driven by a millennial demographic just getting their feet wet in the "vinyl resurgence" pool, but in the mad scramble to compete and churn out these record players as fast as they were being purchased, many major companies outsourced their specs to Asia-based entities that ended up cutting corners to meet a price point.

As a result, more than a few series of turntables from this particular brand suffered from poor build, unreliable drive motors, design snafus such as warped platters and more - all of which compromise a vinyl playback system's performance in critical ways.

Of course, this is just a broad, random example, but our point is that quality in manufacturing and services, especially in our current somewhat heated political atmosphere, should be first and foremost - a sentiment that has not been lost on President Donald J. Trump, who has given US manufacturing representatives a different viewpoint to consider when it comes to consumer manufactured products.

In short, President Trump wants American manufacturing to step up to the plate, and it begins and ends with "the Q word."

Why should this be first and foremost when taken in a manufacturing context? It is easy to falter in an optimistic market and revel in manufacturing optimism; to be blunt, it is the only sustainable pillar that drives excellence in business. Value in a company that manufactures goods not only helps the economy meet customer and industry expectations, it can keep costs down. Managing excellence is crucial for small businesses, in particular, because well-built products help to maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty while reducing the risk and cost of replacing faulty goods.

Let's take a quick look at the primary elements of this subject:

- Meeting Customer Expectations - Customers expect a company to deliver great products, and when it doesn't they quickly look for alternatives. Distinction is critical to satisfying customers and retaining their loyalty so they continue to buy in the future.
- Managing a Reputation - Excellence influences a company's reputation, as poor build or a product failure (like the turntable example we mentioned earlier) can create negative publicity and damage a reputation.
- Meeting Industry Standards - Accreditation to a recognized standard may be essential for dealing with certain customers or complying with legislation.
- Managing Costs - Poor characteristics increases costs, as we alluded to, because without an effective control system in place a company may incur the cost of analyzing nonconforming goods or services to determine the root causes.

For manufacturing firms, it's important to ramp up process training, management commitment and involvement in all teams when improving qaulity control, and it wouldn't be a bad idea to take a look at suppliers, as well. Researching, studying and evaluating alone will improve this area - and parts - and top-shelf products equal sales for the long-term, all while eliminating consumer mistrust in manufacturing.