Russ Ward

6 Reasons Quality Matters

Close Enough Not Good Enough for MEM

6 Reasons Quality Matters – I have heard the phrase turned in a number of ways. “Close enough for horseshoes.” or “Close enough for hand grenades.” Another variant is, “Close enough for government work.” A friend of mine that worked at the local street department was very fond of that iteration. The quote then at some point got escalated to “Close enough for an atom bomb.”

As the old saw morphed, it went from basically a philosophy of, it is okay to be just good enough to beat the competition (in horseshoes) to, “Hey let’s try just hard enough to be in the same ballpark.” What that kind of thinking neglects is that (pre-Covid) there are a lot of different folks in the same ballpark (peanut venders to highly-skilled athletes) and each comes with specific qualifications and levels of accomplishment depending on the job. So, just being in the same general location skill-wise is meaningless.

Likewise, being in the general location regarding quality or “close enough” is not good enough either. Especially if your “close enough” is being compared to the blast radius of an A-bomb. That encompasses too wide a comparison where low-quality and high-quality are basically looked at as the same. To do a comparison like that is a huge blunder.

Going Nuclear

And who better to consult on quality than the guy who was actually in charge of quality control for nuclear weapons, Phil Crosby. “Close enough” in that line of work would mean a catastrophic disaster and he knew it, so quality was crucial.

Phil Crosby’s life was a life consumed with quality from his first job as a test technician to overseeing the production of the Pershing II Missile program. As the senior quality engineer he developed and implemented a Zero Defect policy. In that policy the idea of just getting by was rejected and perfection was put in its place. The policy he created produced a 25 percent reduction in the overall rejection rate and a stunning 30 percent reduction in scrap costs.

Quality – More than a Slogan

He was keenly aware that quality was not just a word to plaster on a website with a sly wink from the marketing guy, but needed to be deeply engrained into every aspect of the very culture of the business or organization from top to bottom. He said:

“Quality is the result of a carefully constructed cultural environment. It has to be the fabric of the organization, not part of the fabric.”

Phil Crosby

He knew catchy posters about quality placed in bathroom stalls or reward programs would not be good enough to produce true quality. They can be important reminders and incentives, but will never replace a cultural commitment. It has to be a top-down effort and philosophy emanating from senior leadership and permeating the organization at every level. Quality is crucial and should matter that much at every business. It does at Modular Elevator Manufacturing where we take quality seriously.

The List

Here are the top 6 reasons quality matters for us at MEM. There are probably more but these came to mind:

  1. Safety – We don’t produce thermonuclear warheads, but people ride in our products everyday! We owe it to them to produce an extremely safe product. Quality makes sure of that. Also, we owe it to customers to have safe delivery and installation practices. Other don’t.
  2. Moral – Nothing can crush the spirit of a team more than to know what they are producing stinks. Low quality creates low expectations through out the whole organization. Turnover due to dissatisfaction and poor leadership is the result. The higher the turnover the less moral. It leads to a workforce with less experience and less training. Quality suffers.
  3. Cost – Crosby proved quality could reduce costs. With elevators the savings are not necessarily in the product’s up front price but still there. When the unit is delivered and handed over, any poor quality becomes the burden of the building owner. Those costs are often hidden from the customer until it is too late. A cheap elevator turns out is a cheap elevator.
  4. Longevity – This is real important in the elevator industry. In the over 400 elevator projects we have been a part of, all are still in service (unless the building was decommissioned). Our quality produces longevity.
  5. Retention – Low quality makes it difficult for some to retain customers and good relationships. The low quality modular elevator company has to always find new victims for their poorly constructed product. We have an extremely high customer retention rate due to the care we use when producing an elevator.
  6. Reputation – This really hurts the most. Poor quality from other manufacturers gives the whole of the modular industry a blackeye.

Quality You Can Trust

The entire premise of modular construction is that by instilling factory processes into the construction trade, the industry can produce a higher level of quality, faster and often at a reduced cost. That is what we do at MEM day in and day out. However, when slipshod practices and lack of experience infiltrate the market, quality declines. Then the premise of factory production being better comes under attack.

Whether due to ignorance, no experience or a desire to make a fast buck, when quality is ignored the reputation of the industry gets sullied. The result is a better process that produces a better product (safer, greener and faster) becomes more difficult for the consumer to accept. Who knows how many dollars, how much time and how much energy has been wasted. How many injuries could have been avoided? All due to a very small number of businesses that do not see quality as important.

That is why at MEM we do not think “close enough” is good enough. We know that low-quality has a cost to the industry, the customer and to safety. We strive for quality in all we do. Whether you need a multi-family unit elevator or one for a medical facility, an elevator for a retrofit project or new construction we provide a quality solution.

Try Us

If you have tried modular elevators before and found that the quality was not as promised and it ultimately cost you more than you were told, don’t give up. Instead give MEM a try. We live by the above list of 6 reasons quality matters. You will not be sold a bill of goods for a fast buck, but instead you will find a partner providing quality you can count on.

If you have a project in mind just click the button below, we can get you budget numbers in less than a day. Of course you can also call us anytime, and have a real conversation with an expert in the elevator industry. We are looking forward to talking to you.

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