Where Does Product Quality Originate?
Updated: Feb 27
I remember a trip to the mountains and snow with three kids in the backseat of my Ford Taurus station wagon when the heater core started leaking under the dash. The car mechanic told me he had to remove the entire car dash to service the heater core; it was a holiday weekend. The heater core replacement was thirty minutes of labor, but removing and reinstalling the dash was 10 hours of labor. So, a $100.00 heater core (with labor) became a $1,200 project.
It was a cold weekend sledding and skiing in the snow with the heater core blocked off until I could get it fixed. The shop didn't have the mechanics or the part during the holiday weekend. I always wondered why they would make a known failure point so difficult to service. Luckily, we had lots of blankets and ski clothing to keep everybody warm, mostly.
While my kids grew up, I would experience both bad design quality and bad quality build over and over. Transmissions that failed 600 miles after the new car warranty because a $25.00 part was made of aluminum instead of steel, requiring complete removal, rebuild, and reinstallation. The worst part was the date on the new steel part was older than the manufactured date of the car. Thus the car manufacture knew about the problem and didn't care! I have had new TVs which failed a few weeks after I received them. Oxygen sensors on cars requiring disassembly of the car frame, detaching, and lifting the engine to access. Technology gadgets that never did what they promised. As an engineer, this is hard to accept.
What if every CEO and President of a company had to use and service the products they sold?
Can you imagine the CEO of Ford Motor Company being in Lake Tahoe while it was zero degrees having both a heater core and transmission failure in his car? I wish every single engineer had to service what they designed so they might understand the need for quality of design, serviceable designs, and actual functionality. I wish every CEO and President of every corporation had to be in the trenches with the engineers experiencing what the consumer experiences. I wish the CEO, President, marketing, sales, engineering, and quality assurance decision-makers had to live with the consequences of their decisions using their products every day, 24 hours a day. I wish their significant others were also asked to use their products too because they would hear from them.
I also wish companies making products would put the consumers first. Every time a feature or engineering change is suggested, a review committee should be asking some fundamental quality questions: 1) Does this make the experience better for the consumer using the product? 2) Does this make the product last longer? 3) Does this make the product easier to service? 4) Does this make the product more reliable?
So where does product quality originate?
Product quality originates from the desire of the company to make a quality product even if it costs a little more or takes a little longer. The desire is manifested by asking the basic question ... are we making the product better for the customer and do we have enough hands-on experience with the product to know what changes need to be made?
What if a company required every person in the company to live with their product every minute of every day? This includes the CEO, President, Board of Directors, Engineering, Marketing, Sales, and Shipping personnel. What if every person in a company had to spend time on the assembly line, packaging and shipping aspects of the product? What if a company sought out independent testers with unbiased opinions and said, “Try this, and let me know everything you don't like because we want to know so we can fix it.”?
What if during the testing of the product all negative results were treated as an emergency? And to resolve the emergency, it required all decision-makers in the company from the CEO to the engineers, marketing, salespeople, and manufacturing, to discuss what it meant to the customer? Do you think the product would be better? Do you think your experience with the product would be better?
The CEO and President of Prox Devices Inc. made significant choices to deliver a quality product and every minute of every day have used the Prox PRD®, as has everybody in the company. All their significant others have used the Prox PRD™ too, and when it wasn't perfect, they let them know. Prox Devices® also utilized independent testers, not consumers, to perfect their product and many times sought out people highly critical of the concept of a reliable phone reminder device. There is nothing like convincing a skeptic your product works to know the quality level.
Regardless of how good your engineers are or your desire to deliver quality, there are always surprises. Prox Devices believes in a rapid development cycle with over 200 iterations of the Prox PRD to get it right. Every iteration was retested by executives and testers alike. Prox Devices made a decision to not ship for the 2021 holiday season in September because they knew the quality could be improved and made a commitment to deliver the best quality possible.
Every single Prox PRD delivered to you has been the result of all executives in Prox Devices being on the assembly line. You are likely receiving a product personally inspected by the CEO, President, marketing executives, and others while its production occurred. The Prox PRD® is an extremely reliable product… and that was no accident. It was designed by people who care. People who made a commitment to the customer from day one.
So where does product quality originate? Prox Devices Inc. USA