Thursday, 30 October 2014
Is there really a choice between profit and quality?
“Look after the customers and the business will take care of itself” is a famous quote from Ray Kroc. If anyone knows a way to look after customers without providing a quality product or service in a quality manner, I would be curious to hear about it.
I think that the origins of the conflict between costs and quality lie in the need to demonstrate to auditors or inspectors that due process is being followed for a safe product or service. Certainly, we have all come across blind and rigid adherence to doing things in a prescribed way and keeping prescribed records that do not have any obvious benefit to the customer - at least not to the casual observer, nor to the operator on the line or the staff member entering a record which demands laborious detail.
Challenging the value or benefit of a time-consuming activity is not being anti-quality; on the contrary, it is something necessary for effectiveness and efficiency and, therefore, good quality. It is everyone's job to come up with the most effective and efficient way to satisfy the customer, noting that regulatory authorities and standards bodies are also our customers.
You can try to cut costs by compromising on quality but sooner or later your customers will notice, at which point the business will have to play catch-up.