Unless the company is keenly seized of the importance of quality
improvement, its production sooner or later will lose its market share being
unable to withstand competition from its close rivals. Production planning
includes concern for quality and therefore it infuses in the workforce quality
consciousness. The company can try to
get inputs from its workforce also through brain-storming; in a way, since the
workers are on the job, they can have some practical suggestions to the company
to improve the quality of the product or even to cut the cost of production.
Production planning in the very process itself provides opportunities
to improve effectiveness of production and next the efficiency in marketing.
Let us first of all try to understand what quality is. Quality is
customer-related. In other words, it
indicates what a customer wants and is prepared to pay for it. Want is an
expression of a purpose and the product must be fit enough to fulfill the need
of the purpose. Ultimately quality is
Market observation drives home a point to the company that its
customers, however satisfied they may be, do not remain in the same number and
at least 5% to 10% of them quit the companyís products. Therefore, the company
should not dilute its efforts towards acquisition of new customers so that some
viable balance between those who move away and those who move in will be
maintained, necessarily. This market
dynamics tells us a very fundamental fact:
the experience of quality is generally dynamic and it does not remain
frozen in some state. A customerís choice of products keeps changing for some
reason r other.
In this fluid context, however, some steps may be conceived of with
regard to quality and its maintenance. For a product, its design generally
matters and with a keen sense of changes in the market the company can do well
to keep changing its design and also its manufacturing processes.
Every product has its own life-cycle which consists of four stages:
introduction, growth, maturity and decline. First, the product is introduced in
the market. In the next growth stage, the company tries to improve its market
share for the product. At the maturity stage, it has reached its maximum and
its growth, that is, the sales of the product begin to decline. Finally, in the
decline stage, the company discontinues the product and sells it to another
company willing to buy it.
In all these four stages of the product life-cycle, the company can
adopt measures focusing on quality; in other words, the company engages itself
in strategic moves to revive its product demand and remain in the market.
In our next session, we shall see how at every stage, the company can
direct attention to improve quality and strive to remain in the market.