Is Higher Quality Always Better?


From an early age, most of us are schooled to believe that Quality (per say) is a good thing. The more of it, the better. However, suppose you’ve been doing some home repairs over the weekend and find the need to drill a quarter-inch hole in a garage door track.

Drilling Hole

Drilling Hole in a Garage Door Bracket

As the story goes, you jumped into your car and drove to the local hardware store, walked in and then asked a clerk where the drill bits were located. The clerk then told you: “Down on Isle 3, about half-way down, the drill bits will be on your left, third shelf up.” With such good directions, you were able to quickly find your way there, but only to discover a fairly wide selection of individually packaged quarter-inch drill bits to choose from.

Looking over the array of bits, you found the low quality bits (case hardened-steel) and the high quality bits (tungsten carbide-tipped). Naturally, the higher quality bits were more expensive; however, you also knew this type of bit would stay nice and sharp for a long time (over many uses).

At this point, you thought about things for a moment and then selected the least costly drill bit – considering that you only needed to drill one hole. So, if the low quality bit stayed sharp enough to drill just one hole, then all would be well and good. Owing to this thought, you purchased the low quality bit.

After returning to your garage, you locked the new bit in your drill, braced the metal and started drilling away. After about 10 seconds, the drill bit broke through the other side of the metal and presto – you made a hole – right where it should be; although it was a little oblong. Nonetheless, the bolt fit right through the hole. Ten minutes later, your task was completed and the garage door now worked like new.

In this case, were the high quality drill bits actually better?  Could it be that the low quality bit was actually better?  What’s the difference between value and quality?  Is value the result of quality, or is quality the result of  value?

About Mikel Harry

Dr. Harry has been widely recognized in many of today's notable publications as the Co-Creator of Six Sigma and the world's leading authority within this field. His book entitled Six Sigma: The Breakthrough Management Strategy Revolutionizing the World’s Top Corporations has been on the best seller list of the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Business Week, and Amazon.com. He has been a consultant to many of the world’s top senior executives, such as Jack Welch, former CEO and Chairman of General Electric Corporation. Dr. Harry has also been a featured guest on popular television programs, such as the premier NBC show "Power Lunch." He is often quoted in newspapers like USA Today and interviewed by the media, such as The Economic Times. In addition, Dr. Harry has received many distinguished awards in recognition of his contributions to industry and society. At the present time, Dr. Harry is Chairman of the Six Sigma Management Institute and CEO of The Great Discovery, LLC.
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