By MEAGHAN ZIEMBA, Associate Editor, Product Design & Development (PD&D)
Before the New Year I made a visit to Forest City Gear (FCG), a small gear manufacturer in Roscoe, IL. I spoke with CEO Fred Young, and he gave me a brief history of the company, a synopsis of some of the major projects they were working on, and a quick tour of the facility’s shop floor.
After the tour, Fred and I spoke a little about the company’s continued, growing success. I asked him what he thought was the main reason that kept FCG going strong, especially during the tough economic times. “Quality,” he stated proudly and assertively.
He continued by explaining how FCG prides themselves in making the best gears possible. Good is not good enough, and their growing numbers prove they are bound by their mission: Excellence without exception.
Excellence without exception. What a great mission to live by, especially in today’s markets where some companies seem to have forgotten the importance of quality. In fact, they seem to have forgotten about it altogether and replaced its importance by prioritizing quantity – the more products sold, the more money made.
Prompt production has damaging consequences, which have been reported in several instances across industries. Lauren Kiesow of Manufacturing.net, discussed the future of food manufacturing and the safety food bill that keeps going back and forth in Congress due to the recent outbreaks of salmonella, E-coli, and listeria.
The Associated Press reported on Toyota’s recent court date with seven insurers who were suing the manufacturer “in an attempt to recover money paid to cover crashes they blame on sudden acceleration.”
And sometime ago, I vented my frustrations on what quality and safety really meant to certain companies after reading an article concerning a malfunctioning baby sling that resulted in fatalities.
Demand and supply, I get it. What the customers want now, they get now. But can’t production be slowed a bit to ensure the quality that we prided ourselves on as a nation not too long ago?
If a clearer picture needs to be made, make a visit to a classic car show or an antique shop in the area; or take the time to visit a small diner or dive where the food is made homemade with fresh ingredients. Some of the best quality products have been hand made, over a period of time, built to last generations. It is those products that keep the customers coming.
Toyota, as well as other quality-avoiding companies, will still have their fan base, but consumers will be extra cautious when investing in their merchandise. They may even look at other brands before peeking at their new line-ups.
“Sure we may be a bit more expensive, but our products last. We guarantee it,” stated Fred Young. We have all heard it: you get what you pay for, and sometimes the cheap stuff is cheap for a reason.
I think as a New Year’s resolution companies should follow in FCG’s footsteps and strive towards excellence without exception. Not only would it ensure quality products, it could also maintain the track of success for our nation.
What’s more important, quality or quantity? Is it possible to maintain quality while increasing quantity? Email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org or post your comments below.