Opinion: How Can An Inferior Product Be Accepted (Or Acceptable)?

One crew expects defects in their product, while the other crew is expected to have zero defects in the product before it goes out the door.

Let’s say you have one assembly line and two products coming off it at different times. They’re very similar products but they have two different crews assembling their respective wares.

But at the end of the assembly line, something is very obvious, even to a layperson looking at the two products side by side: One is clearly inferior to the other. The naked eye can spy several problems one of the products has which the other does not.

This isn’t some “what-if” scenario. It’s something that’s happening in the real world, right now. Now, no one will die if the inferior product gets out into the world. There’s no fear of reprisals or backlash that the inferior product is put to its intended use.

But the obvious question to me is, why is an inferior product accepted? What can explain the difference between the two products? One crew expects defects in their product, while the other crew is expected to have zero defects in the product before it goes out the door. Yes, you’re going to have mistakes on the line, but those mistakes are thrown out or fixed before they get on the truck and down the road.

Which product would you want? I have a guess.

But how does a company, a crew — anyone — get to the point where a clearly inferior product is acceptable? Lack of pride in their work? Lack of competition? Nothing bad has happened yet, so why not keep going because we’re making all kinds of money? The end-user has gotten so used to receiving an inferior product that they’re just accustomed to it?

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