In Manufacturing, What’s More Important: Quality or Quantity?

Quality vs. Quantity

The debate of choosing quality or quantity in a manufacturing setting is one that’s been raging for years. On one hand, manufacturers obviously need to uphold basic quality standards, or they’re likely to lose customers, and their long-term sustainability quickly comes into question. On the other hand, failing to reach an adequate volume of production can inhibit growth and minimize profitability. Let’s now take a deeper look at this issue and determine if it’s ever okay to place quantity over quality.

The Case for Quality

Adhering to at least a base level of quality standards is necessary for pretty much any manufacturer. Otherwise, if a company gains a reputation for producing sub par products with a short lifespan, this is going to be detrimental to their brand image and longevity. Having a positive reputation has arguably never been more important than it is today considering the speed in which word carries on the Internet and social media in particular. If a company produces consistently low quality items, it’s probably not going to be in business for very long.

The Case for Quantity

Although quality is obviously important, you could also make the case that quantity has its place as well. Business Dictionary makes a good point by saying the following.

“Crafting single high quality products tends to be expensive and time consuming, and must be sold at much higher, less attractive prices to the average consumer in order to be profitable. Lower quality work, produced quickly in outsourced factories with a minimal time commitment per product, tends to be far more profitable, with higher margins as well as a lower, more attractive price point for consumers.”

When you think of it is this way, it’s clear that upholding ridiculously high quality standards could inhibit growth and profitability. Not to mention that it’s much more difficult to keep up with consumer demand.

Finding a Nice Balance

Like many areas in business, manufacturers are usually in the best position to thrive when they strike a balance between quality and quantity. Never should a company completely forsake quality for the sake of quantity. But at the same time, it may make sense to slightly lower quality standards so that a larger volume of products can be manufactured. It really just depends on the industry, customer demographic and price point a company is looking to hit.

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