I can't tell you how many times I have been asked for a "Definition of Quality"
“Quality” it is a very broad concept and each individual may have a different Valid Answer. So when we talk about quality it is mandatory that we narrow the definition.
For the most part if someone starts talking about quality the definition we produce in our brain is that of our very personal concept of quality.
But... What is that people buy?
Well here we have a definition I was given by a California State University professor: What people want to buy is “Value”.
Now Define "Value!"
Value is a combination of Service, Price, and Quality. Being so simple, it is easy and always useful to keep it in mind.
Of course here we are talking about the Perception of Quality from the point of view of the customer. This same expert defined the Quality in the simplest way you can imagine:
“Quality is What the customer Says It Is!”
Most of the time, that will be the quality we want to take care of. The quality our Customers want to buy; Meaning THEIR definition of Quality.
Too Much Quality
A typical case of “too much quality” are our Cellular Telephones these days. I am not against technology, but I can tell you my cell phone has more than 10 functions that I do not need and do not use, but had to pay for. Probably it would be a great idea and a source of savings if we could get only what we need, since putting too many features sometimes causes complexity in the electronics and the software that makes our required features more difficult to access. Here is a clear example of value. I do not see those features as value added to my phone, but as annoying barriers to reach the features I really utilize.
So... What Quality counts in Lean Office Kaizen?
In terms of a Lean Office, something we need to learn is: what are the characteristics of the service our customer is expecting from us. In one of the many Lean Office Kaizen Presentations that we have given, a person from Production Control revealed that the orders had too much information not required for the purpose of production, such as the Customs Agent who the final products would be shipped to. The main discovery here was that by waiting for the customer to provide us with such information, the orders were delayed several days! Great opportunity for improvement just by talking with our customers, especially those who are our Internal Customers and with whom we can talk easily anytime.
Make sure you are not putting too much effort in some particular action that is really not adding value in the eyes of your customer. Assure that you are complying with the specifications and Not More. Exceed the expectations in terms of providing timely service or better communication and information but do not put more details that you think are quality but is Not the customer’s expected specified quality.