Merriam-Webster defines quality as “How good or bad something is”.
The word is thrown around in marketing and advertising as much as the word “the”. But what about quality? Where are we today as compared to twenty years ago?
I want to start with appliances. Ten years ago we remodeled the kitchen in our new house. Proud of our new house we wanted high-end appliances with all the bells and whistles. Double drawer dishwasher, convection oven, high watt microwave and electronic smooth surface cook top. It looked great. Nothing lasted two years. The fan on the convection oven went first. The dishwasher never had two drawers working at the same time. The electronic control board on the cook top went out and the door spring (Ebsco could have helped with that) broke. Most of the parts were as expensive as the unit and those were replaced with the most basic units we could find. Everything was disposable. We now have a new microwave (think we have gone through two of those) a new cook top, a new dishwasher and an oven that the convection part doesn’t work. We purchased a new front load washer and dryer 2 years ago. The electronic control board on the washer went out. Almost as much as a new one to repair it. Back to the store for another washer. The appliances in my step sons home are almost 25 years old and still going strong. They knew quality once. I think the appliance industry needs to look up the definition of quality. D-
As far as electronics go, I have found they work or they don’t. I can recall several times bringing them home, plugging them in and nothing. Back to the store for a replacement. When they do initially work they seem to last. It’s either all or nothing with electronics. They get a C-, a little better than appliances.
How about toys? I think I throw away more toys than I do any other major category. Yes, most are due to abuse but they were abused when I was a kid and most held up. Tonka and Hot Wheels are an exception. They were tough then and still are. Toys get a C.
Lets move on to cars. As a kid, I remember several weekends under the hood of the family car. Change the plugs, points and condenser. Thermostats every season. Belts and hoses. Timing belts and exhaust. Cars required constant attention and even then you saw several cars broken down on the side of the road. Now you change the oil. The automotive industry got it. We’re paying for it but quality isn’t an issue. A for autos.
You could argue on the appliances and electronics that they have so many more features something has to fail. What about cars. The sophistication and standard equipment advances every year on cars. They are on the leading edge of technology and they don’t fail. It’s not how complicated they are. The auto industry has found what quality really means.
In the spring industry quality varies considerably. We occasionally send orders to other spring companies through front companies and through existing customers. The quality varies considerably. On difficult springs many companies will not even quote them. Some companies ignore the tolerances we request and respond that they manufacture to set tolerances. At Ebsco, we make springs to our customers tolerances, check them through out the process and deliver springs the springs our customers order that work. We know the importance of quality and have built a reputation for it. Quality isn’t something we do, it’s everything we do.
I applaud those companies that build things to last. Auto industry thank you. I wished every industry would build things to last. Charge me a little more and make something that will last. As far as other spring companies go, keep putting out marginal springs. It makes it easier for Ebsco. It’s much easier for our sales team to walk into a potential customer that is having problems with their current spring company.
If you will excuse me, I need to go review our Quality Manual.