The Problem with Quality
‘Quality’ is a word that’s so overused, it has essentially lost its meaning – consider how often you’ve heard or read that word associated with someone’s product or service. When everyone’s using the same description, it’s no longer a point of differentiation – our eyes and ears slide past it, looking for something that actually stands out. Even legally, all products are expected to be of ‘reasonably high’ quality, or they’re not even allowed to be sold – you’re not allowed to deliberately sell something you know to be of inferior quality, with no expectation of reliability.
So, everyone claims that they’re selling ‘ quality’. Which is nice. Unfortunately if you’re in the market, trying to find a good, reliable product, you can’t trust the marketing, the packaging or the claims of the salespeople, because apparently everything is ‘the highest quality’; but we know from experience that it isn’t. Some things are better than others – they’re higher quality. Some things work better, feel better, are more reliable, have more performance. Short of testing everything yourself, how do you figure out what’s the best option for your money?
Word of mouth, professional reviews, product review websites, feedback scores, even social media can be enlightening. All of those require legwork, though – you need to collect the information, compare and consider it to make an informed decision. Hopefully you have a broad enough feedback base to end up with an honest, impartial perspective.
We’re an IT Consulting company. Yes, we sell hardware, but only as part of a solution – the package is, essentially, our client’s outcome. All the design, planning, assembling, configuring and everything else that goes into delivering that solution, they’re just components; components that need to work together to deliver the final package – it’s only successful if the solution works as a whole.
So we have a vested interest in carefully choosing components that will make our solutions successful – we’re not just choosing components for our clients, we’re choosing them for ourselves, because it has to work for us, first. As the solution provider, after deployment we then have support it – if we need to provide warranty services, that immediately wipes out the meagre margin we might have had on it, as the margin in IT hardware is wafer thin.
Retailers make money selling a small amount of products to large amounts of people, and hoping that returns will be low enough that the cost of warranty service won’t eat too badly into their profit margin. Consultants make money providing services to a relatively small number of customers (clients).
To be successful, if we do our job right, our clients will be so satisfied that they will continue to employ our services long-term. That requires an excellent relationship, one that the client values highly. To build such relationships requires ongoing trust, and you develop that trust by delivering exceptional service, by building solutions that always meet or exceed the client’s needs and expectations.
We design solutions of the highest quality, based on years of experience. When we experience quality issues or product failures from a particular brand, we stop buying, supplying and using that brand – it’s far too costly for us to support, and far too costly to our reputation.
In this blog we will write about certain products that we routinely recommend, supply and support. By doing so anyone who reads this derives some value from our expertise, but don’t just take our word for it – we highly encourage any reader to use your search engine of choice to research these products for yourself. But for those short for time, or who already have enough experience with us to know you can trust our recommendations, the articles we publish here should help you understand why we recommend certain products and brands. By following our advice, you will derive much greater value from your infrastructure investments than you would with inferior alternatives.
Because quality means everything to us, and it is our intention that it is the defining idea behind everything we do.