During the 1980s and early 90s, fitness became a widely-popular trend in American culture. Many Americans started taking their health seriously, so they began to exercising regularly and eating healthy. In 1991, my dad and a couple of his friends decided to invest in this fitness trend and create a partnership; thus, Festhalten was born.
Festhalten is a San Francisco-based fitness accessories company that specializes in grip enhancement technology. Festhalten is derived from the German word that means “to hold on to”. Festhalten’s first product was the Festhalten Multipurpose Grip. The grips are designed to offer the user a cushioned grip that will not slip under most conditions.
In 1992, the partnership was dissolved. Over twenty years later, Festhalten was reborn, thanks to my dad giving me the company to rebuild. I am the Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pan American Airways System, the parent company of Festhalten. One of the challenges I face is ensuring that Festhalten finds good suppliers that are able to provide high-quality raw materials and manufacture high-quality products.
In MGT 322, I learned that there are several definitions and dimensions of quality. Quality can be defined as “the degree of excellence” or the “conformance to requirements or specifications.” Quality also has different dimensions: transcendent (excellence), product-based (quantities of product attributes), user-based (fitness for intended use), value-based (quality versus price), and manufacturing-based (conformance to specifications). Given the definitions and dimensions of quality, it is important to create a quality program. After all, it’s about quality, not quantity. The program consists of the following components: (1) marketing; (2) design engineering; (3) procurement; (4) process design; (5) production; (6) inspection and test); (7) packaging and storage; and (8) service.
Finding a good supplier is a very time-consuming process. I remember when I used to travel to San Antonio every month to meet with a prospective supplier. They marked up their prices because they thought that they were the only supplier on our list. Negotiating for a low price is one thing; making sure they have the capacity to manufacture a high-quality product is another.
When starting a manufacturing company, always remember that “it’s about quality, not quantity.” I cannot stress enough the importance of finding good suppliers. Before you manufacture anything, make sure you create a list of potential suppliers. Never have just one supplier. In addition, make sure you are using high-quality raw materials. You can have the best manufacturing in the world, but if you have low-quality raw materials, you will manufacture low-quality products. Last but not least, when it comes to manufacturing, make sure you create standards and implement a quality program that you constantly reassess. Without measurements, there is no way of knowing whether or not you are producing a high-quality product.
Are you an entrepreneur? If so, what steps are you taking to ensure that you are creating a high-quality product/service?