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Quality is NOT free 质量不免费

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"Buy one and get one for free" is popularly used to promote sales and in such case the quality of both are same. In some other cases, if you go to special promotion area in supermarket, you will also can see some expiring goods, especially food, of which the valid date comes very closer and they are offered for free but bundled with other normal items. Such goods are quality "inferior" as the shelf life is shorter.If you often stay in hotels, you will get different types of "free" ball-point pens as gift, and many of them can only be used for couple of times before broken.

"买一送一”经常被用于促销,这个时候两件物品的质量常常是一样的。另一种情形下,如果你去到超市促销品区,你常常能看到一些快过期商品,尤其是食物,它们的保质期即将到了,因此被打折或者免费赠送-前提是它们通常被同其他正常食品捆绑销售。这些商品的品质会逊色于正常出售的商品-因为他们的保质期会更短些。如果你常常出差入住酒店,你也会有机会拿到一些免费的圆珠笔-作为免费赠品,经常它们用不了几次就不能再用了。

Later when our sales and marketing department asks the purchasing department to source some "gift" like USB, notebook, Key rings for them to give to their customers, those items are usually treated like non-trading goods, which means they are not for trading purpose, thus they are exempt from most of quality controls – no Supplier Audit and Validation, no formal sample approval, no process quality monitoring, no Delivery quality inspection, and even no visit to discuss with the vendor face to face as we have Taobao, Alibaba, etc. which makes the process look so simple. Usually the quality is not as good as what are sold in the stores, and some customers do not care either as they get for free, or they get used to such quality level gifts, and some others notice the quality issues but do not give any comments or feedback to us for improvement as there could be no need since it may only happen once.

后来当我们的销售和市场部寻求采购部的协助去购买一些小礼品,譬如 USB,笔记本,钥匙扣等,用于提供给客户做礼品,那些小东西常常被当做“非贸易类商品”而处理,意味着它们不将用于交易目的,因此它们豁免于大多数的质量控制环节 – 没有供应商审核和确认,没有正式的样品审批,没有过程控制的监控,没有交货质量的检查,甚至连参观供应商同他们面对面交流也没有,因为我们有TAOBAO,ALIBABA等等,这些都另我们的交易过程变得简单便捷。常常这些小东西的质量并没有在商店里正常销售的质量好,一些拿到他们的客户也并不在乎-因为它们是免费的,要么他们已经习惯了这种低档次的小礼物,还有一些客户意识到也在乎这些质量,但是他们并不会给任何的评论或者反馈以供供应商能有机会去改进-因为这个小礼品很可能只是赠送一次而已。

Think about if you pay and buy from the stores, or website stores and you notice what you get are quality inferior, either functional or even just some un-noticeable small points in a hidden corner, probably you will "claim" to the seller – if you are a quality caring person. This claim will give information to the seller to improve their products. So it sounds positive and value adding. 

想象一下如果你是付钱从商店,网店买到的那些东西,你注意到了你拿到手的是质量有一点点瑕疵的产品,要么是功能性的,要么甚至只有在一些非常隐蔽的某个角落有几点难以发现的小瑕疵,很有可能你都会投诉给店家 – 如果你对质量有要求的话。这个投诉将提供一个反馈信息给店家来改善他们的产品,因此听起来是积极而且增值的。

But why if you get for free you say nothing and if you pay, you have lots to say and then the supplier gets much higher possibility to improve?

但是为什么如果你拿到是免费的,你什么也不说,如果你是付钱的,供应商就有更多的机会来改善产品呢?

In a organization there are many processes and activities which are inefficient and non-value added, and many people suffer from them, somebody complain for them, and only top management address them. One important reason is that those areas suck the profit of the company and lower down the competitiveness of the company. Eventually only the management is responsible for that. One good way to solve this is to change the debit to be asset.

在一个组织里面有许多的流程和活动并不是高效或者增值的。有很多的人在忍受它们,有一些人在抱怨它们,然而仅有少数的管理层在强调它们。其中一个重要的原因是因为它们在吸食公司的利润,降低公司的竞争力,最后只有管理层对这些负责。因此一个好的办法是将这些“负债”变为“资产”。

There is a test lab to check different samples, for examples the durability of shipment samples selected from source inspection before delivery, and the engineering approval samples before serial production. As all the test cost are absorbed by the test lab as operation cost, so as long as the report says pass, then everyone is happy, and in case it's failed, for the shipment samples test, people just say "ops" as the customer cannot wait until the result from long lasting cycle test so it's decided to be released before result comes out. Then next time, it may appear again and people just think "the quality is just like this" after couple to times. For the engineering samples test, since it's for free, then people just resend the samples for re-test – though it may delay the project, anyway it's difficult to blame the delay to single test failure as there could be many other accuses. Furthermore, some suppliers start to ask the test lab staff to "support" setting up their new machines for free even when actually the test staff is not so "expert" up to trainer level.

有一个实验室用于测试不同的样品,比如从即将发货的货前检查中抽取出的大货样来测试寿命,或者是在批量生产前的工程样做产前批准用。因为所有的测试费用当做运营成本来处理,因此只要报告说“通过”,每个人都很高兴,但是如果仅仅只是“失败”,对于大货样的测试,人们只是说一声“遗憾”,因为客户等不了很长时间的寿命测试,因此货物已经早被决定提前走了,下次也有可能再发生这样的事情,几次之后人们会想“这个质量只能做成这样”。对于工程样而言,因为它们是免费的,人们仅仅只是重新提交样品再次做测试-尽管它们会延长项目的时间,但是实际情况是很难将项目的延期仅仅只归罪于测试的失败 – 因为实际情况是还会有其他的“罪魁祸首”。甚至,一些供应商开始邀请实验室的同事“免费支援”他们新机器的设立-以便实际情况是这些同事并非“培训级别”的专家水平。

Consider if you get test or consulting service from a third party and get charged, it will be totally different result. Since the third party test cost usually is very high, then the samples will be tested pass before being submitted and issues will be quickly solved. In the same logic, the engineering sample test cost is counted in the project total cost, and the shipment samples test cost is added onto the source inspection cost, and then the customers start to focus on the quality of testing and reports, and point out the weakness and errors.

考虑如果你的测试或者培训咨询是在第三方机构进行的,你是付过费的,这个时候结果就完全不一样了。因为第三方的测试费用常常比较高,这些样品往往会事先测试一遍再提交给第三方,如果有问题也会很快解决完再提交。同样的逻辑,工程样的测试费用计入项目总成本里面,计算给客户,大货样的测试费用加到发货前的检查费用里,这个时候客户开始关注这些测试和报告的质量了,并指出一些不足和错误。

Some other typical cases are if the printing papers in a company are free, then people do not care about the format setting before printing and just click to send to printers – even in some case it could be dual side printing used. If the usage of printing papers are counted into the departmental cost and monitored, then the total usage drops down quickly.

其他一些常见的例子是公司的打印纸常常是免费供应的,没有人在乎那些文档的预览和格式设置,仅仅只是点击打印 – 即使很多时候是可以设置双面打印的。如果这些打印纸的使用计入每个部门费用里并监控的话,很快这些纸张的使用量就下降了。

If you want quality of your products or services be better and make you be more valuable to your customers, meanwhile to turn your team to be more details focused, I suggest you to think about these tips.

如果你希望你的产品和服务的质量变得更好,让他们变得对于你的客户更加有价值,同时让你的团队更加关注于细节,我建议你不妨试试这些小点子。

 

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