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The Final Word by Helen Roush

Quality Matters

"The bitterness of poor quality remains after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten." - Benjamin Franklin

Recently, I had a discussion with a mill manager. We were having a general discussion about equipment. I was informed that they would rather pay more for a piece of equipment that would last for 20 years with little to no maintenance issues as opposed to purchasing a piece of cheaper equipment that would break down or start having issues after 5 years, and require ongoing maintenance for as long as they kept it. They want quality equipment that is reliable.

This makes sense. After all, you get what you pay for.

We all know that price plays a role in the decision making process, but so does the quality of what's being purchased. If something cheaper will eventually cost more, in the long run, due to being of poor quality, that's something to take into consideration during the decision making process.

The total cost of ownership of the equipment should be considered. Not just the maintenance cost, but also the downtime necessary to service the equipment.

According to Harvard Business Review, product quality has the most impact on customer loyalty.

This makes sense.

If a mill is happy with a vendor and the equipment, you are more likely to make repeat purchases.

On the other hand, a supplier may lose a mill's business if the equipment sold is not a reliable, high quality product.

Quality is just as important in maintenance services as it is products. If a maintenance supplier servicing a piece of equipment at a mill mistakenly or inadvertently causes damage to it, it will increase the downtime, causing the mill to lose money.

Ben Franklin knew what he was talking about. Reliability and quality mean more than low prices, and purchasing a low quality product could end up costing more in the long run than the high quality product would have cost to begin with.

Helen Roush is Executive Vice President of Paperitalo Publications.


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