The word “quality” has always been a mantra at Bob’s Market. Industry-wide, there is too much variation or perception of what quality is, but for us, quality means not only plant quality but the quality of order fulfillment. It means giving the customer what they expect. It means the quality of on-time delivery and consistency of products.
Quality also means end results for the customer. Does it perform for them? Are we providing enough information to make them successful? Quality has been a part of our thought process since the beginning of the business, when we were primarily wholesale and retail, up until current times as a young plant provider of plugs and liners.
Have A High-Quality Mindset — Always
We try to embed the idea of quality in all our employees’ thought processes, as well as the requirements to get to that level of quality. In striving to get to that highest level, you gain new business. One of the best ways to gain new business is through word-of-mouth comments from one customer to a friend saying, “You need to be buying from this person because he has great quality.” That is one of the results of focusing on quality — it can help you market and sell your product.
I can’t say there will be anything new or different when demanding quality in 2013. It will be more of a continued focus on striving to maintain excellence. It would be nice if there were standards for the industry, but there are too many areas of our industry that don’t have standards. There is no consistency in container size, and what sells in one area doesn’t sell in another and vice versa. Quality can be perception. It can be in the eyes of the beholder. The seller can think something is one quality, and the buyer can think it’s something different.
In 2013, we, from the top down to all employees, will continue our focus on understanding the results of expecting quality. In today’s marketplace, we’re facing shrinking margins and increased costs here or there. Quality is something I always think of as the value-added factor. It can separate you from the competition if you have a quality plant, quality service, quality order-fulfillment and great results for the consumer. From the company’s perspective, the focus on quality and the results of that focus will get your operation new business. It will help you maintain those customers and separate you from the competition.
Quality Affects Price, Customer Relations
There is a direct correlation between price and quality. If you have excellent product, you can often demand more value out of your product and get a higher price than the competition. You can’t, however, do that and build up extra expectations from the customer without ultimately providing them with what they are expecting. Quality can play a factor in the marketing and pricing of your product.
We have never really lost a customer because of quality. Maybe there was a factor that pricing was a little higher than the customer could afford, or the client wanted to pay a lower price, and we couldn’t get there.
If you strive to provide high-quality plants, it is easier to maintain business and harder to lose business. That is a general statement, but it is something that we strive to do. We don’t want to lose business because it is harder to gain a lost customer back than it is to keep one. It is much easier to keep a customer by focusing on quality.