Joe Pentlicki Vice President/COO, Oliver Manufacturing

Sometimes good enough needs to be put in context. Often times, it is best to compare it to something we all can relate to. So, if we defined good enough as 98 percent quality, how does this translate to the common things we all have experienced or can relate to?

Let’s start with something simple such as airline flights. There are 34.7 million global airline flights per year. If 98 percent was good enough, 2 percent of flights would have an issue. While 34 million of those flights would occur without any issues, 694,000 flights would have some issue. Which flight would you want to be on?

What about the 4 trillion cubic meters of fresh water consumed globally each year? If quality were 98 percent, 80 billion cubic meters of the global consumption of fresh water would have some sort of unacceptable contamination.

Lastly, lets consider inpatient surgical procedures. In the United States alone, there are 48 million inpatient procedures that occur each year. Staying consistent with the 98 percent quality, 47 million of those would happen without issue. However, near 960,000 of those would have some sort of surgical error. Taking that one step further, I read a recent report that one in four surgical errors are the result of technology issues. This means 240,000 could have been prevented through improvement or investment in technology.

It might be interesting to consider this implication on our industry. For example, if you are a seed conditioner processing 34 million units of soybeans per year and your factor for quality is 98 percent, 2 percent of the units you process will not meet the quality standards set in place for your customers. If so, you could safely tell your customers that 680,000 units of soybean that you provide does not meet quality standards. What if one of your competitors had a higher quality standard of 99 percent? It would still be 340,000 units of soybean that does not meet quality standards.

What are you doing to differentiate yourself in the market from a quality perspective? Have you done the math to understand the implications of your standards? What are your competitors’ standards for quality? Have you done the math to understand the implications of your competitors’ standards? Are you investing in new systems, processes and technology to keep you at the forefront in your markets?

Have you decided if good enough is really good enough?