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  1. #1
    Senior Member Hirsch63's Avatar
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    Default Quality...

    How do you define "quality" and how does your perception of it influence your purchasing decisions in food, durable goods or media?

    When producing your own work wether as a student, employee or entrepeneur does the same standard of quality that you use when purchasing apply to what you produce for consumption of others?

    Over the course of your working lifetime have you noticed a change for better or worse in the quality of products that you have familiarity with?

    For those who have made a direct comparision, how does the quality of American goods compare with similar items produced elsewhere?

    Okay then, is Quality irrelavent to your life? Is everything essentially disposable?
    Last edited by Hirsch63; 02-26-2008 at 09:52 AM. Reason: to further interest?...
    Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings...Steal a little and they throw you in jail, steal a lot and they make you a king

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    Large Member Ender's Avatar
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    Quality in a product or service is not what the supplier puts in. It is what the customer gets out and is willing to pay for. A product is not quality because it is hard to make and costs a lot of money, as manufacturers typically believe. This is incompetence. Customers pay only for what is of use to them and gives them value. Nothing else constitutes quality. - Peter F Drucker.
    That's basically my motto when it comes to the topic of quality. It was also my motto when I was the Lead QA for a software company.

    Also theres a lot of products out there that have a "Brand Name" attached to them, yet if you remove the name it's no different then the cheaper lesser known stuff. If it says "comparable to x" on the label, you can pretty much bet they came off the same line at least thats how it was when I worked for the pharmaceutical company.

    Overall, I have noticed a drop in quality in some items, yet others remain unchanged. Item's that are mass produced and sold in large amounts are usually the ones that drop. A lot of it is the consumer who just wants a lower price at fault for it all.

    American goods have a stigma to them that they're not as good as say Japanese made, but better then Chinese. When it comes to cars for example, a lot of people look at Toyota as being the best and GM being cheap and crap. However thats not really the case anymore, Toyota is somewhat known as the Recall King amongst some people on Wall Street. Their quality has been slipping, and GM's been on the rise. GM's even taking back the Car of the Year awards from Toyota, still that stigma remains.

    Quality is only irrelevant in certain products. Theres certain things I will pay extra for so that I know they will last, and others I'll just grab the cheapest thing I can find.
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    How do you define "quality" and how does your perception of it influence your purchasing decisions in food, durable goods or media?

    A cut above the rest I'm familiar with either casually or researching. Sometimes it matters and sometimes not.

    When producing your own work wether as a student, employee or entrepeneur does the same standard of quality that you use when purchasing apply to what you produce for consumption of others?

    "Sometimes" doesn't apply. It has to be the best I can do.

    Over the course of your working lifetime have you noticed a change for better or worse in the quality of products that you have familiarity with?

    Absolutely! Much lesser quality to the point where its a joke. The common statement is that, if there's a warranty, it will run out a week/month before the thing quits.

    For those who have made a direct comparision, how does the quality of American goods compare with similar items produced elsewhere?

    For the most part, American is better.... but I will say, that's decreasing and its getting harder to tell where a product originates... "Distributed by" is found more and more often.

    Okay then, is Quality irrelavent to your life? Is everything essentially disposable?

    I don't know what you're surmising here. Yes, its relevant and no not everything is.

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    Senior Member Hirsch63's Avatar
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    I was not too familiar with Drucker, so I took a cursory glance at some of his history. It seems as if Drucker is referring to mass production of durable goods, multi-level corporations and the practical implications of economies of scale. Most of what is available to us these days would fit that model of quality.

    He predicates Quality on value, which is subjective. And much of what we now understand about quality as consumers not makers are ideas and concepts sold to us through very carefully crafted marketing. Drucker's quote seems to advocate making a product only well enough to make it acceptable for purchase by as many customers as possible, without regard to the long-term cost of resources extracted or eventual disposal implications of product. It appears that short-term economics only drive this model. I am persuaded that shareholders would find this a very acceptable model of Quality...one that after earnings allows them to then go out and purchase luxurious (read hard to make and expensive) goods and services.

    So what I would ask is, if Drucker's concept of quality is a valid one, would someone who believes strongly in his statement be willing to endorse it's implications in each and every purchase that they make? Is food grown and sold on this model what we would want to eat? Is information media produced on this model something we would use to keep us well informed and entertained? Would we advocate health care based on this model?

    Is Drucker's model of "Quality" beneficial to the overall long-term health of a country and it's citizenry?
    Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings...Steal a little and they throw you in jail, steal a lot and they make you a king

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    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    hmmm... as a liquor store employee I have a certain distrust for anything that feels the need to claim to be quality, special, rare, fine or anything- that's usually the cheaper products just trying to masquerade as something special
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

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    Senior Member millerm277's Avatar
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    How do you define "quality" and how does your perception of it influence your purchasing decisions in food, durable goods or media?

    Generally, for cheap/small items, I am not too concerned with quality, as they are pretty much disposable. (Obviously, it shouldn't break on first use, but I don't necessarily expect it to last 10 years)

    For something that's expensive/I expect to use for a long time, it needs to be a quality, and I generally research it beforehand to ensure I don't buy a dud.

    When producing your own work wether as a student, employee or entrepeneur does the same standard of quality that you use when purchasing apply to what you produce for consumption of others?

    My benchmark for is quality if I'm making/producing something, is that if I bought it in a store, would I be pleased with it?

    Over the course of your working lifetime have you noticed a change for better or worse in the quality of products that you have familiarity with?

    As you would expect...that is mixed. Some things improve, some get worse. Some companies get better, some get worse.

    For those who have made a direct comparision, how does the quality of American goods compare with similar items produced elsewhere?

    Fabrics seem to last longer when they're American-made, but that may be because those shirts are often the more expensive ones.

    Electronics don't seem to matter where they come from.

    Cars are much more dependent on the specific model/make than where they're made.

    Okay then, is Quality irrelavent to your life? Is everything essentially disposable?

    No, I generally expect to keep most things I buy. As such, I prefer that things are high-quality, even if they cost a bit more.
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    Large Member Ender's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hirsch63 View Post
    I was not too familiar with Drucker, so I took a cursory glance at some of his history. It seems as if Drucker is referring to mass production of durable goods, multi-level corporations and the practical implications of economies of scale. Most of what is available to us these days would fit that model of quality.

    He predicates Quality on value, which is subjective. And much of what we now understand about quality as consumers not makers are ideas and concepts sold to us through very carefully crafted marketing. Drucker's quote seems to advocate making a product only well enough to make it acceptable for purchase by as many customers as possible, without regard to the long-term cost of resources extracted or eventual disposal implications of product. It appears that short-term economics only drive this model. I am persuaded that shareholders would find this a very acceptable model of Quality...one that after earnings allows them to then go out and purchase luxurious (read hard to make and expensive) goods and services.

    So what I would ask is, if Drucker's concept of quality is a valid one, would someone who believes strongly in his statement be willing to endorse it's implications in each and every purchase that they make? Is food grown and sold on this model what we would want to eat? Is information media produced on this model something we would use to keep us well informed and entertained? Would we advocate health care based on this model?

    Is Drucker's model of "Quality" beneficial to the overall long-term health of a country and it's citizenry?
    Honestly I never looked into it when I found that quote. I more or less just took it and adopted my own basis for why it fit the way I felt.

    I adopted it when working for a software company. Most of the management there were in the "we spent x amount of time and resources to come up with this, they'll like it" frame of thinking. When the reality was most of that stuff was fun for a day or so to the customer, but got boring fast. So what if it looked pretty and cost 90 modeler and artist hrs to create, it was useless to the customer and therefore a waste and an act of incompetence.

    As you started out with tho Drucker had his eye firmly on how things work. The vast majority of the consumer population can't afford or justify the need to spend massive amounts of money on something. With him it was more or less about streamlining and maximizing profitability and sales numbers. He was astute in his reasoning, and following his model would pay off for the corporations.

    When it comes to food, I don't think most of the population even realizes that the companies that sell and make food products follow his model. We have a customer that does produce food for the "Brand Name" companies, and a lot of what goes into it after it meets a "quality" level set by the name brand is procured from the supplier with the lowest price. Companies are out to make a profit, and the "Brand Name" is pushed hard because following Druckers model with a strong brand name allows them to maximize profitability.

    Case in point the above mentioned company imports Butter from Australia, because it's cheaper then buying it from local suppliers. Meanwhile the government here is subsidizing the local farmers because they can't sell their goods at a high enough price to offset their costs. In the end the company is passing off the "cost" to the consumer since by them using Drucker's model the consumer through their taxes end up subsidizing the local farmers. The companies get rich, while the consumer is blindly wandering their way through life when it comes to this type of thing.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Mr Galt's Avatar
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    As far as goods, I have a checklist.

    1. Do I need it?
    2. Does it work?
    3. Does it work better than other things like it?
    4. Does it cost an amount I think is a fair price?
    5. Is it aesthetically pleasing? (this is an afterthought)
    But sir, your opinion is wrong.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Galt View Post
    As far as goods, I have a checklist.

    1. Do I need it?
    2. Does it work?
    3. Does it work better than other things like it?
    4. Does it cost an amount I think is a fair price?
    5. Is it aesthetically pleasing? (this is an afterthought)
    Wow, "Mr. Galt" is an apt moniker for you!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Hirsch63's Avatar
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    I'm considering a concept of quality based on the behaviour of the producer and the knowledge/needs of the consumer. Before industry changed our society the quality of the work you did in your immediate economy generated essentially instant feedback from consumers. Your reputation (and perhaps that of your family or the master of your shop) was under constant evaluation every time your product was used. In these early days, these "craft" made products were probably going to be used for a lifetime or more. The mutual reliance and expectations of the members of an economy drove the perception of quality; if you made hand tools your customer was going to be intimately familiar with how they should perform and how well your craft made a tool that minimized production problems in a society reliant on handwork where materials extraction was difficult and expensive. Make something poorly and in short order you would be looking directly into the eyes of the person who needs and uses it.

    Along with the blessings of the industrial revolution came displacement of personal communal expectations of quality (as well as the dis-integration of the family). The persons ultimately resonsible for all aspects of a products quality could be far removed from the community in which their products were dispersed. Their practical interests and responsibilities emphasized a level of quality just high enough to generate reliable (and increasing) sales at as low a cost as possible. Considerations of the impact of the extraction of materials and distribution of product (which might have no immediate affect on the consumer) would have been conveniently avoided.

    This brings me to the consideration of quality as a wholistic concept. Quality is not interested merely in the performance of a product. From my perspective quality demands personal responsibility for the entire process of production from sustainable materials extraction to ultimate disposal or recycling of the product. There was a time when more intimate, diverse, local economies where everyone understood the implications to their environment of products wholly produced within it and (limited)technology demanded the carefully considered use and re-use of materials. This consideration of Quality as a wholistic concept has an ancient name: Husbandry.

    Husbandry is a sort of practical morality. You can certainly make a widget without regard to the implications of it's production but you are in essence "stealing" environmental potential for short term personal gain. It could be agued that if the product is extremely durable and of highly functional design that it is in fact a Quality item and as a producer you could feel justifiablly proud. Yet, the demands of the economic machinery we live with do little to realize even this minimaldefinition of Quality. It is much more likely that the word quality, like love, hero and tradgedy has been
    devalued of meaning by overuse and deliberate mis-application in the marketing process of an item which may posess "a" quality only in relation to others of it's ilk. Quality without the underlying promise of husbandry rings somewhat hollow as a concept. Similarly, Husbandry without the promise of a quality product generates an impotent system.

    Any thoughts?
    Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings...Steal a little and they throw you in jail, steal a lot and they make you a king

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