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Quality is the pillar of success

Both quality and success are relative terms. And in that sense, phrases like Best quality and Absolute success are, in fact, misnomers. Quality is context dependent and a particular level of quality which may be remarkable in one set of circumstance may not even cut the mark in another circumstance. If that is the case, then the only true measure of quality becomes improvement. An organization which has a motto of continuous quality improvement can be said to be quality conscious. And a quality conscious organization is bound to succeed. But what are the benchmarks of organizational success and how does quality consciousness help us in achieving them? It is often said that an organization is as good as the people who work for it. And in that sense, the ability to retain efficient employees as well as the ability to attract the best available talent from outside becomes important for organizational success. And this becomes possible only when the organization offers quality working conditions and service conditions to its present and prospective employees. Quality also brings prestige to an organization. Salem Steel Plant is considered a prestigious organization as it produces steel utensils of remarkable quality. This prestige trickles down to the workforce of the organization resulting in high moral and motivation of the employees. And a motivated workforce with high moral is a sure shot recipe for success. An important benchmark of success for any organization is a committed client base. And the most important determinant of clients commitment to the organization is quality in every sphere of the organization-client interaction. Apart from ensuring a quality product, the organization also has to demonstrate quality in service, in human interaction and even in things like office ambiance. Another related success indicator is the ability of the organization to expand its client base, i.e., to weed away clients from its competitors. And it is only possible when the organization is capable of offering, inter-alia, better quality than its competitors. But perhaps in todays world, financial success is the most sought after dimension of success. Financial success is indicated by a growing bottomline, i.e., turnover and a growing topline, i.e., net profit. If we have an expanding client base, bottomline will increase. And we have already seen how quality ensures an expanding client base. For increasing topline, profit margin needs to be high. How does quality help an organization to increase its profit margin? Let us take an example from the garment industry. We are willing to pay significantly higher prices for a pair of jeans from Gucci. This is primarily because of two reasons. The first is because of the status value of the brand and the second is the assurance of high quality. Even the first reason, i.e., status value of a brand grows over the years because the brand is associated with, inter-alia, impeccable quality. Quality Essay Competition - 2012 1

In a market where there is cut-throat competition and organizations are being forced to cut costs across the board, quality may end up becoming a secondary concern. And if that happens, the organization may benefit in the short term in the form of better margins but very soon it will loose its clients to more quality conscious competitors. For instance, a sweat shop, in its endeavor to cut costs, may start using powdered milk in place of fresh milk. No doubt, its profit margins will increase in the short term, but steadily its once loyal customers will start ditching the shop. Thus the cost cutting, which was aimed at achieving success, will instead result in a gargantuan failure. What is the lesson then? It is plain and simple Cost cutting, yes! But not at the cost of quality. Or else the efforts will boomerang. Here in comes the role of innovation which is directed towards continuously cutting costs but simultaneously improving quality. Some may say that achieving both of them, i.e., cutting costs and improving quality simultaneously is utopian. But it is very much feasible and there are numerous examples in the corporate world. The prime example is the world famous Japanese car manufacturer, Toyota. It was the first enterprise which embraced the concept of Total Quality Management, aka, TQM. Toyota cars are renowned for there impeccable quality and yet they are competitively priced. And this explains Toyotas astounding success. The relationship between quality and success is not limited only to the organizational sphere. Even in individual sphere a qualitative, rather than quantitative, approach is the harbinger of success. Thus, a student who devotes as less as five hours daily in a high concentration mode of study is more likely to succeed than a student who may spend twelve hours of his day to half-heartedly studies. Let us take another example. On one hand there is a politician who goes on a spree and provides four hand-pumps in every village of his constituency. But over the next five years most of the hand-pumps have turned dysfunctional. There is another politician who provides only one quality handpump for each village. Thus at the time of re-election, most of the pumps are still functioning smoothly. Who is likely to succeed in the next elections? Even the destiny of nations is determined, to a large extent, by their attitude towards quality. History has repeatedly shown us that those nations who have exhibited quality in all walks of life have succeeded in adapting to the changing times and, in fact, went on to emerge as world leaders. Ancient India and modern Japan are prime examples. Thus, whatever sphere we can think of, if there is any one mantra of success, it is quality. Whether it is an organization, individual, or a nation, whether the organization is a start-up business or a well established one, whether it is producing common salt or space rockets, whether it is operating in Germany or India, quality is indeed the pillar of success. (987 words) Quality Essay Competition - 2012 2

Quality Essay Competition - 2012