Monday, March 30, 2015

The Power of QA

How far will you go to buy a quality product?

According to the Economist, Chinese tourists are flying in droves to markets in Tokyo to purchase... toilet seats!

On the face of it this may seem a trivial or even whimsical thing to buy. But to those who have used to this piece of working art, it is difficult to see the regular plastic and ceramic contraptions as anything but retrograde.

However the point of interest is not the art or electronics but the fact that many of the seats the Chinese buy from Akihabara and carry back home, actually carry the label "Made in China".

Aparently, many Chinese consumers do not trust the reliability of such items sold at home—and refuse to pay the often higher prices charged for export-standard goods. Prime minister, Li Keqiang, has told Chinese firms to raise the quality of their own seats. “At least that could save consumers the price of a plane ticket,” he said.

Saving plane tickets is besides the point. It took a Chinese reader to hit the nail in the head:
I bought many stuffs in Japan even it says Made In China, but nothing in China itself because I know if the Chinese want to sell their stuffs in Japan, they must go through the rigorous Japanese quality assurance procedure, whereas there is none in China.
How do companies, and countries, acquire a reputation for accepting and delivering nothing less than the highest possible quality?

The Japanese embraced the ideas of an American guru, Edward Deming, to pull itself out of the morass of exporting poor quality umbrella's, matchboxes and textiles.

In India it appears that many outward looking, export-oriented companies have grasped the importance of perception, and understood the power of QA. There are also exceptional organisations like Aravind Eye Care and Narayana Health/Hrudayalaya that have blended high quality with affordability and public access.

What will it take for this idea to seem through our government and the vast network of institutions it controls?


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