Quality : Product vs. Process #WQD19


The term quality describes robustness of a product or process. A good quality product  improves quality of life. There is no denying that quality of life has improved with the advent of technology and progress of science. There is no field that remains untouched by the relentless march of science and technology. To list a few examples :

  • Be it discovery of new medicines, diagnosing of a disease and surgical procedures involving difficult to reach body parts, technology has made life easy.
  • Be it transportation, technology has increased speed, reduced time of travel. Technology has made it possible to create alternative to fossil fuel and help us reduce the adverse impact of burning fossil on health and environment.

Whenever we talk about introducing a new product in the market, we should be familiar with the term “First in Class” and “Best in Class”. A First in Class product breaks new frontiers and meets unmet need. On the other hand, a “Best in Class” product removes bugs from a “First in Class” product. Since a “First in Class” product has already taken the risk and established that a concept works, a “Best in Class” product is less risky by nature. A typical example of a “First in Class” product are Apple products – be it a computer or a cell phone. Apple has taken the market by storm because of its design, technology and price. Compared to its nearest rival, Apple products are nearly two to three fold more pricey. But Apple does not compromise on the price of its products. Many quality conscious users purchase only Apple products.

By contrast to developed markets, Indian market is more price sensitive and utility conscious. Many “First in Class” products in many fields are not available in India. High cost of these goods does not allow common people to buy them. Thus compared to an Apple i-phone, Samsung phones sell more here. In the field of medicine also, compared to a “First in Class” life saving drug, its reverse engineered product is prescribed more in India. This is by no means an attempt to belittle Indian ingenuity. We have to find a way to create next best thing that suits our budget. Be that a rocket sent to space, or medicine administered to a cancer patient, or a phone / computer used to perform routine job.

Growing up in India, I have been exposed to products which are mostly poor in quality and at best a cheap imitation of the original. Till very recently, most of us Indians have been enamored by anything from America, be it an imported car or a shaving cream. With Indian economy being integrated with global economy, such a clamor has reduced to some extent.

In India, we may be lagging behind in creating world class products, we certainly have created processes that are world class by any standard. Let me list out a few such achievements, this is by no means exhaustive:

  • In a diverse and highly poplulated country like India, it is not easy to conduct free and fair election. Indian election commission collects votes in electronic voting machine from different parts of India in phases and completes counting of ballots in a single day. Earlier during the time of paper ballots, it would take three – seven days to complete the counting.
  • Delivering entitlements to the beneficiary account and removing middle men. This way, beneficiaries got their due, government managed to eliminate corruption.
  • Creation of mobile telephony has not only created better service, it eliminated difference between a billionaire and a pauper by making available the same service. Earlier, during the time of landline telephones, customers had to plead and cajole engineers to fix their lines and adjust their telephone bills.

In summary, in India I have grown up with shoddy products that were cheap and unappealing. Most Indians used to clamor for foreign made goods, be it a motor car or a shaving cream. With integration of Indian economy with the world, such a clamor has reduced to some extent. Still Indians are starved of good quality products made in India. At the same time, India has created systems to serve its diverse and heterogeneous population in an honest manner. That itself no mean achievement from the point of view of quality.

Note : This present post is written in response to Indispire prompt. More posts in response to the prompt may be found here.

5 thoughts on “Quality : Product vs. Process #WQD19

Add yours

  1. Nice one Abhijit, the long term goal always precedes the short term ones. There are so many poor quality products out there, but the giants always make a difference.I am fascinated by the revolution of products offered by some of the chinese companies. At one point they were known for their poor quality, in the recent years – the way they have transformed is quite amazing. The products are of great quality now and a significant value than they used to be. I would love to understand what led this motion though, but needless to say, the idea of quality has certainly taken over the shoddy products in the market.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Interesting. Perhaps the circles I’m in are a bit different – esp with tech products , phones, smart watches etc I’ve been quite impressed with their quality. But it’s definitely interesting though, about the perception of quality and change, duration etc

        Liked by 1 person

      2. In my mind Chinese products are “Best in Class” at best or more like reverse engineering. Ground in the telephone and computers was broken by Apple.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. True fair point – not the most original innovations with technology and initially they made mistakes even with replication. For original ideas, I am certainly impressed with Korea.


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