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Week of 1 October 2018: Quality Hypocrisy

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You will see it all the time, both corporately and individually. People, and people representing corporations, will demand very high quality from others but will tolerate themselves or their organizations delivering low quality goods and services. This is hypocrisy, yet it is not as bad as things can get. Those who accept low quality goods and services are nearly a lost cause when one tries to deliver high quality goods and services. They just don't get it.

Yet, there is another poor angle as well that does not serve organizations adequately. It is the case where corporate or local management requires high standards for the space they occupy but let everything else reek of neglect. I have seen this in a couple of instances in my career. Once, I saw a group of chairs which had been delivered for a new conference room rejected because the stripe pattern in the seat backs did not quite match when you lined up all the chairs in a row (as if they would ever be lined up that way). Saw the same thing happen in another company many miles away, except in this case the issue was wood grain in the facing of four drawer file cabinets.

In the first situation, at least the production facilities were kept to the same high standard. In the second situation, the production facilities were falling down, no matter where you turned. Not surprisingly, the first case was known for high quality consumer products. The second manufacturer was known for making acceptable but not outstanding products.

Quality is like safety. It cannot be compartmentalized. It must be baked in to your standards, conduct and processes. It is impossible to tolerate poor quality in your own behavior and surroundings and say to yourself you will produce the highest quality for your customers, be they internal or external customers.


Join us in Guatemala next summer for the 3rd Paperitalo Papermakers' Mission Trip [12.06.18]


Paper manufacturers are very bad about producing mediocre quality products for their internal customers and saving the best for their external customers. Even worse are those who take the rejects from their external customers and immediately shipping them to their internal customers. Corrugated paperboard producers are notorious for this practice. Some will even direct ship the rejects from outside customers to inside customers--saves on freight!

Resolve, if you have not done so already, to personally be responsible for nothing but the best quality, whether it be on a personal level or a corporate level. In the long run, solid high quality makes money, poor quality is a loser.

One step further--if you are a multinational, don't accept from anyone the old idea that some countries and cultures demand less in terms of quality than do others. Produce the same quality wherever you deliver your goods and services. You never know who is going to show up in what country and buy your products. If they have been doing so somewhere else and are suddenly in the place that allegedly accepts lower quality, your reputation can be permanently damaged.

For safety this week, an excellent quality effort is often the first step towards a great safety record.

Be safe and we will talk next week.


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