Quality Is Always Cheaper?

Blue_Ribbon.jpgRegardless of what you may think of so-called “Quality Programs” (TQM, Six Sigma, Lean, The Theory of Constraints, etc.), the bottom line is that a quality approach has undisputed value. Quality, my friends, is ALWAYS cheaper in the long run.

The American auto manufacturers learned this the hard way. They thought they’d put out a cheaper car and save a few nickels here and there on the cost of the car, but ended up spending a whole bunch more in warranty work, bad press, and the loss of customer trust. They basically opened the door for the foreign car makers who were able to grab market share by simply giving the consumers the reliable, dependable, quality automobiles they were asking for.

One of the ways Jet Blue so quickly established itself as a player in the airline sector was in how it didn’t scrimp when it came to its customers. In a 60 Minutes interview several years ago, former CEO David Neeleman shrugged and said that leather seats were basically a no-brainer. His customers appreciated the quality, which became a favorable part of their brand experience, and though they may have cost twice as much to install, they lasted twice as long so the costs of repairs and lost revenues from having the aircraft out of service were foregone.

The question isn’t whether quality is always cheaper in the long run, the question is, are we really focused on the long run?

It takes as long to make a good egg as it does a bad one. The difference is, you can’t sell the bad egg.” – Lloyd Dobbyns, Thinking About Quality