Improve the Quality of Your Products

As a business in a competitive market with other brands offering similar products or services, you have to find some battleground to compete on. For some brands, it’s price. For others, it’s unique branding or customer service. And for other brands, it’s the quality of the products they sell. Going the latter route can allow you to actually increase your prices and become more profitable in the long run.

The Case for Value Over Price

Competing on price is a losing game for 99.9 percent of small businesses. You simply don’t have a big enough war chest to fight this battle with larger companies. No matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to beat out larger companies that have the ability to bleed money in order to win customers. 

If you sell your widget for $25, they’ll be able to sell it for $19. And if you go down to $18, they’ll run it down to $15. They’ll beat you all the way down to the bottom of the barrel, because they have bigger economies of scale and have the ability to leverage “loss leaders” in order to grow the company’s bottom line as a whole. Small businesses can’t do this.

Value, on the other hand, is something that any business can compete on. And one of the core elements of value is quality. 

There’s no faking quality. And in order to compete on quality, companies actually have to innovate. (They can’t just change a number in a computer system, like they can with a price change.) Value is something that customers experience and remember. People come back and buy again because of the way a product made them feel (not because they saved 99 cents last time).

How to Increase the Quality of Your Products

Saying you want to increase the quality of your products and actually doing it are two different things. It requires real commitment and clear action. 

With that being said, here are some steps you can take:

  • Find the Right Suppliers

It should probably go without saying, but the quality of your products is closely linked to the quality of your suppliers and the processes and materials they use. When evaluating supply chain partners, pay attention to how they run their businesses. 

Develop long-term relationships with suppliers who share your commitment to excellence and are willing to collaborate closely in the pursuit of quality. Consider investing in supplier development programs to help your partners meet your quality standards and grow with you.

Be meticulous when vetting potential suppliers. Sometimes the smallest things make the biggest difference. For example, if you’re looking for high-performance thermoplastic rubbers, choosing a partner like Kuraray that has advanced technology producing stronger materials can set your products apart.

  • Hire Innovative People

Your company is more than you – it’s a collective set of minds that are able to pool their creativity together to innovate. If you’re only relying on your own creative genius (or the creative genius of just one or two key employees), you’re missing out on a chance to improve.

Every employee you hire should have some level of creativity and ingenuity built into their DNA. You want to hire people who are committed to improving quality at every level of your business. And once you hire them, you need to be able to involve them in your change processes.

  • Gather (and Apply) Feedback

You could make an argument that there’s nothing more important than understanding your customers’ needs and expectations. It’s one of the fundamental steps to improving product quality. If you aren’t gathering it, start. And if you are doing it, do it more! It’s really that simple.

Regularly survey your customers, gather their feedback, and actively listen to their concerns. Analyze customer reviews, both positive and negative, to pinpoint areas where your products excel and where they fall short. Use this data to drive changes that cater to your customers’ specific needs, thereby ensuring your products align with market demand.

Give Your Business a Competitive Advantage

When you increase the quality of your products, you’re able to create a true competitive advantage. And, ironically enough, when there’s clear value, you can actually increase your prices and compete with the bottom feeders who used to eat into your customer base. 

Make this the year that you commit to an investment in quality improvement and enjoy the difference!

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