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The production quality triangle

In recent years, in increasingly competitive markets, many businesses have chosen to cut costs by focusing on core activities. While this is not a bad strategy in itself, it can have some significant long-term consequences.

In the engineering sector, there’s been a trend for larger firms and OEMs to outsource much of their engineering requirement. Often this work has gone to low-wage economies or sub-contract specialists, preferring instead to focus on assembly. At first glance, the appeal is clear. Costs certainly fall. But, in the vast majority of cases, the move puts pressure on quality or other aspects of the supply chain. More complex and challenging work can see lower-skilled, lower-cost suppliers struggle to maintain standards. It is more difficult to control engineering processes while others can impose their own priorities.

There are three primary competing components of any job – scope, speed, and cost. These are often referred to as the Project Management Triangle. In the very middle of that triangle sits quality. You can’t alter any of the sides without having an impact on the centre.

The value of quality

Surprisingly few people genuinely care about providing the best quality and top-notch customer service. They refuse to acknowledge that decisions about speed of delivery and the costs involved have a substantial bearing on their dealings as a whole. Yes, quality costs money in the short-term but it saves money for buyers in the longer-term.  Similarly, like the standards of customer service on offer, it truly differentiates one firm’s approach from another. Thes differences can secure repeat business and positive word of mouth recommendations for years to come.

Part of the problem, of course, is that, particularly ahead of real-world experience, quality is ethereal; it’s essentially an idea woven into every aspect of a business’s operation. From the way a business listens to its market, to the way it treats its people, to the way it designs, manufactures and delivers its goods and services, all of these drive focus on exceeding customers’ expectations and effectively anticipating their future requirements.

Delivering long-term value

While shorter-term costs can show a reduction, whole life costs and customer complaints tend to increase meaning, more and more, OEMs are realising that you really do get what you focus on, driving a move back to precision engineers and manufacturers like us, here at Denhom Rees and O’Donnell and C E Edwards. From the production of single components through to complete assemblies, our certainty of supply is assured as is our determination to maintain the highest quality standards and levels of investment in order to get the job right first time, every time.

The best companies, those really worth building strong and enduring partnerships with, recognise the interdependence of constructs such as scope, cost, speed, quality and service. They hold frank discussions and incorporate all of these dimensions into their daily decisions. And, ultimately, they find the right balance and help forge the right reputations for their customers not only to survive but thrive in today’s tough world.

Denholm, Rees & O’Donnell and C E Edwards are proud of our long-term relationships with our customers. With our ‘Partnership for Performance’ approach, we aim to deliver sustainable engineering service quality. To find out more please get in touch.

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