Think Different, Add Quality
Creating an innovative product and maintaining quality of your products is an art. Learn how great brands do it.
In 1930's there was a company which was manufacturing automated looms for Japan's weaving Industry. Company translated from automated loom to automobile industry and made to be the largest automobile manufacturer in the world. After years of mediocre quality, company became one of the best quality stories. It segmented it's market in a quite wonderful way producing cars of edgy youthful essence, producing different brands with fresh styling and creating an amazing reputation for reliability. By now, you must have guessed TOYOTA out of 14 Japanese automobile brands, when you hear the words QUALITY and RELIABILITY.
In 2010, there was a hearing for TOYOTA's devastating quality problems in Washington DC where US government had attributed 34 deaths to alleged sudden acceleration in Toyota Vehicles. Toyota's Chairman Akio Toyoda accepted this and promised they will focus on transforming the company to restoring their transparency in customer focus and quality. Most would have fell that any manufacturer would get hit by a landslide after an incident like this and may be go out of business subsequently. However Toyota's sales jumped 42% in that year. Toyota's huge investment in quality for 5 decades has created an enormous bank of goodwill with customers. That's how important quality and building strong relationship with your customers is.
Be a yardstick of Quality, some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected – Steve Jobs
Many businesses today are stuck with fast paced production and development cycles and tight go to market timelines. However if your customers don't feel that they are buying something of quality, uniqueness and would differentiate them from the rest of the market why would someone buy from you? This doesn't matter weather your business is B2B or B2C, you are making a product or a service which someone will be using at the end of the day, How would it feel? Some leaders ask the question then, what is of the price? Pricing strategy and sales is equally important, but only after a quality product. You may work with great sales and marketing campaigns and pricing strategists could assist you in how to place your product. Remember, even Toyota spends around $3.6b in advertising overtaking Samsung.
In Jack Welch’s time at GE, there was a team assigned for the long term light bulb but the product was too ahead of time and became a flop. Did he fire the team? He organized a party to hand out few gifts and assigned them in the new assignments.
Would you be considered a success if 4 out of 5 products you make are not successful? Would your boss tolerate such failures trying to come up with a new product? Not much in today’s cooperates. This is why most of the game changing products and services has always come from the small startups and entrepreneurs. As we all can see small startups should not have such advantage, but it happens every day. Large companies have more funds, people, technology, delivery channels. Customers etc. but they choose to play it safe and avoid experimentation. Every one loves to talk about innovation. It is one of the sexiest topics these days, but how many business leaders have the courage to perceive so?
Electric Light didn't come from the continuous improvement of Candle - Oren Harari
The big question is your company promoting research and innovation, actually? What are the great failures you had recently? What was your new product in your industry by your company for the last 4 years? And as leaders, do you have the courage to work with a dynamic young team and fail over and over? When something goes wrong how do you treat them? Do you fire or promote them?