Technical Service Manager
Quanex Building Products
May 9th, 2022
The Surprising Rewards of a Quality-First Strategy
You don’t have to look far to see how manufacturing quality can affect sales and reputation. Think of aerospace, pharmaceuticals, automotive, food service or other industrial sectors. In our business, cutting a corner to achieve a short-term advantage is a false economy that can end up backfiring with distributors, contractors, builders, homeowners and, yes, even the company workforce.
With so many ways to rationalize output over quality, it’s essential to maintain a steady focus on shop floor and quality control processes. Labor shortages, supply chain issues, inflation, relentless demand and savvy competitors can exert enormous pressure to work quicker and with less, which can lead to production compromises. In times like these, I think back to Henry Ford’s definition of a quality-first ethic, “Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.” Which leads to today’s tip:
Maintain manufacturing excellence to avoid costly callbacks and warranty claims.
We’re all under the gun to try do more in less time. The pandemic continues to send strong aftershocks throughout the fenestration community. Hardly a day goes by without another news report about homebuilding delays. It’s no wonder throughput is top of mind with so many fenestration professionals.
The worry is, quality slip-ups can lead to major negative affects to a business and brand. A recent report pegs the cost of a callback at five times the cost of the original installation. A misaligned spacer, a defective seal or other miscalibrations during the manufacturing process can slowly erode a brand’s reputation.
Win-Win for All
Many producers are actively looking to expand automation to help sharpen the quality imperative. As capex bets go, augmenting the insulating glass (IG) line with a semi or fully automated solution may be one of the smartest financial moves around.
It’s inspiring for management and the shop floor staff to see new automation muscle go online. I’ve seen how quickly it lifts spirits and sends a signal to the entire workforce that “We’re investing in an even brighter future for you and your family.” It also gives the sales team the kind of marketing ammunition they need to add new accounts and grow the ones they have. A win-win? Let’s face it. Is there a better story than IG quality and more availability?
A Word from Coach Lombardi
It’s likely your team will face many more challenging months ahead. Some may even exceed today’s obstacles. Think critically about every aspect of your operation with quality in mind. How can you upgrade on-boarding or continue staff training? What advice do your manufacturing partners have to share?
The good news is you have options.
Let me close with a strategy statement that Vince Lombardi followed with some success: “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we catch excellence.” My best to your chase and the catch.