Quality vs. Price? The Real Deal
Wade Anderson 02.27.2013
Way back when I was a kid, before my obsession with CNC machines began, I was crazy about hot rods. I started working on my first car, a 1965 Buick Wildcat (455 Big Block for any gearheads out there) when I was 10, and have been on the lookout for car deals ever since.
“Steal of a Deal” Can Become an Ordeal
Being young and inexperienced, occasionally I’d come across a vehicle that seemed amazing at a “steal of a price.” Then my father would tell me “Son, if it seems too good to be true, it is!” Low and behold, I’d buy it, only to find out he was right. The deal I thought I was getting turned into a bottomless pit that did nothing but cost me time and money. I’d wind up selling at a loss just to get rid of it, and move on to another project.
It wasn’t until I was older that I learned why his logic was usually right. In my early years in manufacturing, while studying and learning some of the concepts now tossed around as Lean, I became familiar with W. Edwards Deming. Most of his principles are well known by anyone who has been involved with modern manufacturing processes and quality systems. There’s one mantra he lived by that many people lose sight of: “Quality Always Costs Less in the Long Run.”
Short Term Savings, But Long Term Losses
Too many times, we try to shortcut processes. Look at housing for instance. In the late 90s through 2007, I watched as “overnight neighborhoods” sprang up everywhere in my town. Most of these homes were built with incredible speed, and looked like fabulous homes at a “deal” of a price (sound familiar?). I have several friends who own these homes that are as little as 5-7 years old, and they’re literally falling apart. Tile floors are popping loose where there was no backer-board. Cabinet doors are falling off from the screws pulling on inexpensive particle board frames. One of my friends has already had to gut the kitchen and bathrooms to fix things that were “shortcut.” What seemed like a lot of home for the money, and a huge cash savings at the time of purchase, has now cost them a ton of money. Short term savings, but long term losses.
The Cost of “Saving” on Upfront Costs
The same holds true in the manufacturing world. I have the pleasure of seeing thousands of CNC machine shops and processes every year. Some shops understand the fact that quality costs less in the long run, they get it. You can recognize them instantly when you see the CNC machine tools, workholding, tooling, gaging, and the overall processes they’ve implemented. Unfortunately, it pains me to see other companies that run their business on a small picture view of short-term savings. There’s nothing harder than talking with a customer who purchased a product solely to save on upfront investment costs, then had $78,000 in CNC machine repairs 3 weeks after install because of a crash. A crash that could have been avoided by using technologies available on a little higher end product, such as Collision Avoidance CNC Control Software, or TMAC System (from Partners in THINC member, Caron Engineering), that monitors true horsepower of a cut, and could have stopped the machine prior to severe damage. He purchased Brand X because of a few thousand dollars’ difference in purchase price, only to lose the repair bill and much more in downtime, lost production, and overtime.
Quality Always Costs Less in the Long Run
You will find it rewarding to look at your manufacturing bottle necks and headaches and ask yourself, are you truly utilizing quality processes in these areas? Do your CNC machines, CNC controls, workholding, etc. truly optimize your processes, mitigate losses, and make the most of your investments? Take 30 minutes one day and put your local Okuma distributor to the test. Let them show you new technologies and prove that you can be much more productive, profitable, and competitive, all because of quality. If you dig into your accounting data and review records of poor quality areas and high quality areas, you’ll find Dr. Deming to be correct, "Quality Always Costs Less in the Long Run."
For your enjoyment, here are some other inspirations associated with Dr. Deming:
- In God we trust, all others bring data.
- Price is not the only cost.
- Learning is not compulsory…neither is survival.
What inspirations do you follow related to quality? Feel free to comment below and share the wisdom of your experiences. If you’re curious to find out how quality could pay off for you, contact us and we’ll show you how to find the real deal.
Wade Anderson is Regional Sales Manager, Okuma America Corporation