Friday, June 24, 2011

Quality - Focus, Evolution and Priorities

Below is my response to Paul's post on Four Questions: Talking Quality with Ford Motor Company

Its heartening to see companies demonstrate persistence during weak economical situations and success during revival of economy.  Ford is not an exception.  How did they accomplish this?  There were many factors: focus on quality, continuous improvement, cultural changes and innovation. An example - Look at Ford's phenomenal sales figures this year in India, especially, of Ford Figo.  It is the most awarded car of India. 

Practice of quality has changed over the years.  Olden days quality focused on adherence to defined and implied customer needs. Today, it is much more than that.  Value obtained out of a product is key for every customer.  Customers only accept best-in-class, innovative, technologically modern and reliable products.   Note that, for most products, after sales service quality is an important factor.  Ford  and Maruti Suzuki  are classic examples here.  Ford Figo is equipped with highly modern connectivity and intelligent features at an affordable price.  Improved focus on space, interiors and safety helped deliver a high quality product for Ford, the Figo.  

When it comes to after sales service, in India, other companies are only second to Maruti Suzuki.  The proof is the JD Power Customer Service Award it has won during the years 2000 to 2010.   As a customer of Maruti, I have experienced the high quality service offered by them.  Low cost spares and labor, listening and attending to customer's voice and service commitment is Maruti's winning mantra. 

Creating a culture of quality is very important.  I have observed that Japanese were more focused on this when compared to others.  Of late, looking at automobile recalls of Toyota and Honda, I think, the focus of sustaining high quality culture is reducing.  By creating a culture of quality, Ford and Chevrolet are definitely improving during these modern days. 

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