What does quality mean to you?
Every day I meet three businesses that uphold different sets of what they call a quality.
In the morning when I go to work, when I open the front door of my home, I face the view of a small canteen, operated by three ladies. Their market is the workers of a police headquarter about several hundred meters away from my home. What is quality in this canteen? Quality here means that all food is warm and freshly made on the same day. It should taste better than other food sold by other stalls on the same street. Quality means that the ladies have to be able to push their prices as low as possible, even though due to the material quality, their cost is higher than their competitors'.
My office is located right next to a mall operated by Kajima, a Japanese firm. I walk through their property on the way to the office.
What is quality for Kajima? Kajima starts it with an architectural design that fits the flow of ...view middle of the document...
What is quality for Chevron? Well, Chevron has many definition for quality. But one that makes a difference is the way Chevron looks at safety. A few years ago they started this with changing all the employees' chairs with ergonomic chairs. This is a rarity in Indonesia. Next they installed a software called Workpace. This software calculates how long a worker works nonstop, how fast they type. If the worker reaches a risky number, the software opens a message box that freezes the whole computer, effectively forces the worker to take a break. This way the risk of getting repetitive strain injury is minimized.
What is quality for Chevron? That's getting everything done by ensuring worker's total safety at the same time, wherever they work.
What is quality for me? I think my set of standards came from what I see every day.
How does good (or bad) quality affect you personally as a consumer?
I don't use the latest laptop. I don't recommend Windows 8. And I still use Android 2.3 in my phone. I don't believe that the latest technology is always the best. I still use Office 2007. In term of technology, I tend to learn a lot prior to implementing something. Many friends call me some sort of gadget freak. Yet I don't use the latest technology. The latest technology is not always the best thing for my daily usage. I believe a quality is about how well you can use a product.
Have you had experiences where your expectations were exceeded, or on the contrary, not met?
In 2010 several Baobab trees were moved by the University of Indonesia from a town called Subang to be planted in front of their administrative office. When the tree convoy reached the toll road, the toll gate was too small for the trees. They then cut down the branches so the trees fit the toll gate. What they didn't know is that, unlike Indonesian trees, it may take decades for a baobab to grow a leafy branch. If they needed to cut something, it should have been the toll gate.
How did that change your opinion of the organization and its product or service?
University of Indonesia is one of the top universities in Indonesia, full of young and bright people. Yet their administration made this kind of pathetic mistake. Can they really call themselves the sculptor of the young and bright?