The Equity in Quality

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

The Disney Company re-releases a 50-year-old animated film, and it makes millions.

Apple creates a cell phone, and the world holds its breath.
Toyota makes a hybrid car, and in the era of $4 per gallon gasoline, the Prius becomes a legend.

Performance Enhancement or Marketing Splash?

If you only have $10,000 to improve your business, should you pour it into a marketing initiative or a performance initiative? I vote for improving performance every time. The long-term payback will be extraordinary.

The quality you provide to customers is the value they receive from the performance of your products and services.

Quality refers to number of mistakes per million parts in a manufacturing process. It also refers to the refreshing taste of a dessert at a frozen custard stand and the speed with which a pizza is delivered and the friendliness of a hostess at a local restaurant. Your marketing theme will soon be ridiculed if the actual performance doesn't live up to the promises made.

Quality Builds the Brand

Here's a phrase-association game. What do you think of when you read the following:

An amazingly well designed, user-friendly computer...
Entertainment for all members of the family...
A cup of coffee so delicious it feels like a reward...

Apple, Disney and Starbucks first created incredible quality, and then they became known for that quality. Notice: high-quality first, great brand second. The brand attracts and keeps lots and lots of great customers, but you can't successfully advertise what doesn't exist.

The same method for enhancing quality can be used no matter what business you are in.

Five Steps To Creating Breakthrough Quality

1. Define the performance business you are in.
2. Identify your current standard.
3. Focus on two points.
4. Overcome "The Tiger Woods Syndrome."
5. Loop back with customers.

1. Define the performance business you are in.
Disney/Pixar Animation Studio is in the motion and emotion performance business. Their quality is wrapped up in visually appealing and emotionally appealing films. When Pixar's standard of quality became dramatically greater than that of Disney's animated films, Disney bought them out and put them in charge.

What performance are customers looking for from you? Do your customers desire you to deliver faster (FedEx), break down less often (Toyota), make the purchasing process easier (, or deliver breakthrough ideas (IDEO)?

Don't be married to a certain product, service or profit margin. Focus on the performance you are expected to deliver. According to the June 11, 2007, issue of BusinessWeek, 3M almost smothered its creativity through Six Sigma. 3M is expected to perform as an innovative company. Potentially ruining that creative culture in exchange for short-term profits was not a good trade off.

2. Identify your current standard.
So, how are you really performing in the areas that customers expect you to perform in? Go ask your customers a simple question: "In terms of our performance for you, what are we doing really well, what are we average or below average at compared to the competition, and how could we perform better for you?" If you ask 15 customers that question, you will start to get an idea of your current reality.

Then shop the competition. Study the performance they are delivering. Look at it from the customer's point of view. Even a subtle idea like having a greeter in a fast food restaurant can be a difference maker. What is the competition doing better than you right now?

3. Focus on only two points.
As you work to enhance quality, focus on only two points: the point just ahead of the best performer in the world and the point just ahead of where you are right now. Who is the best performer in the world in your particular area? What makes that organization's performance better than yours? That is the only point that matters to customers. They want to be with the best of the best.

While keeping the highest standard in the world in mind, focus your efforts on getting to the point just ahead of where you are right now. Each day move forward one step in terms of providing greater quality. And keep moving until you reach the spot just ahead of the best performer in the world.

4. "The Tiger Woods Syndrome"
There is one danger to be on the look out for. One day YOU will be the best in the world in your particular performance area. Then what do you do? Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan faced that problem, but instead of looking back at the second best performer they kept their eyes focused on raising their own performance bar.

If you are the best performer in the world, ask yourself one simple question, "How can I make tomorrow better than today in terms of the performance I provide my customers?"

5. Loop back with customers.
Customers have a neat way of keeping companies grounded in reality. Just in case you thought about coasting on past performances or a powerful brand, remember that customers don't care about past performances or great brands.

Continue to engage customers in meaningful conversations about the quality they receive from you and what would make it better.

Equity Increases as Quality Rises
Every time you increase your relevant business performance to customers, it's like putting money in the bank.

Customers become more loyal, they purchase more of your products and services, they tell other people about the quality you offer, and they keep coming back for years and years. Quality is the real secret formula for long-term success.

Dan Coughlin's new book, Accelerate: 20 Practical Lessons to Boost Business Momentum, is available wherever books are sold.

Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...

Related Articles

No matching related articles at this time.

Comments (0) Leave a comment 

e-Mail (required)


characters left

Declining Weigh Blending System

Ranco Declining Weigh (DW) is the standard in fertilizer blending because of the speed and accuracy of the blending process. ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form