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Quality is Job #1


“QUALITY IS JOB # 1” Do you remember this slogan from a few years ago? It was the main marketing message from Ford Motor Company. The meaning was clear, Ford took the issue of “Quality” seriously and quality was going to be “built in”, not just “inspected in” at the end of the production process.

Ford, as you know did not go bankrupt, did not ask for government handouts and took the issue of improving their quality seriously. Several years ago, Ford’s president, challenged their corporate culture which condoned concealing problems from senior management. They also sought outside evaluation to assess the quality of their vehicles. Senior management took the criticism sincerely and began to change how Ford’s vehicles were made. Today, Ford’s reputation, products and quality perception are well received by the consumer. On a recent trip I was provided a Ford Focus for my team’s rental car. It held the three of us very comfortably and was a great car to drive. The experience was so impactful I put Ford on my list for when I’m in the market for my next car!

Conversely I compare Ford to one of their counterparts General Motors. GM is currently receiving heavy criticism (and deservedly so) for their recent recall due to faulty ignition switches. This issue reinforces the crucial focus quality has to a company’s reputation, and consumer’s overall confidence in a brand.

You have to ask yourself, what kind of corporate culture exists inside GM to enable and condone this type of behavior? What impact will the recall have on GM’s reputation and future sales?

Think about it in your world. What would be the reaction of your customers be if you allowed quality issues to persist for years?

The message learned from the automotive industry is simple yet applicable across marketplaces. To be successful quality has to be a priority and always top of mind. No matter how good we think we get, when we let our “guard” down, even for a moment, “sh*t happens!”

At GCP we unfortunately know this all too well. I wish that I could sit here and say we’ve never received a complaint about quality or experienced a quality issue. But that is not true. Even though we’ve screened, audited and selected the best suppliers (in GCP’s evaluation) to develop and manufacture our products, we have suffered through quality “slips”. Unhappily for GCP and our customers, when a quality issue surfaces the problem which caused it happened 6 to 12 months pervious. Corrective action, in most cases has already been taken but that obviously does not immediately help our customer with the material issue on hand.

This is why quality has to be “built in”, beginning with product development, continuing throughout the manufacturing process. We only want inspection to confirm the quality produced is the quality expected.

At GCP we know we have to make quality a habit, not an afterthought. The attention to detail has to be a priority from the top! When I let my attention slip, it cascades through the company. However I also have great confidence to know when we focus on an issue it improves dramatically. Quality has our attention. Not just product quality, but in every activity of the company. The most important initiative for GCP is what we call “100% Quality”. We recognize the challenge we have set for ourselves. More importantly we appreciate how important 100% Quality is to you our customers! This our commitment.

Until next time.

Gary Mottershead