Quantity versus Quality


Every day I encounter the question, “what is better, quantity or quality?” Should I buy a shampoo from L’Occitane of 8.5 ounces for $20 or should I purchase a shampoo from the brand Suave of 12.6 oz. for $3.49? Should I pay $4 for coffee from Starbucks or should I just go to Dunkin Doughnuts and pay half of that for a coffee? Recently I have experienced the other side of the quality vs. quantity debate, no longer as a customer but as insider. The questions that I ask myself are no longer “should I buy this or should I buy that? Should I spend a few extra dollars in the organic restaurants or will McDonalds do?  Instead they have become questions such as, Is the company that I work for working towards providing the best quality service possible or are they just choosing on having more quantity and leaving the quality in the backburner?

I worked for a small catering company who specialized in wedding, house parties and corporate events. If you were an employee from that company you knew that quality was always the top priority. I guess you can say we lived by the motto “the customer is always right,” and “there is never such an answer as a no.” To other people who work as servers like me, who knew about the company, they knew that not only were the customers would be treated with the outmost quality but that the staff will be treated the same way. The quality given went from the food to the service provided.

A few months back that same company was bought by a much bigger company who specialized in event planning. Their goal is to gain market share in the catering business, and possibly become one of the biggest catering and event planning business in the city.

The strategies used by this company in the overtaking was to let go of the personal and bring new and innovative minds. New workers were hired for less, without being properly trained or told what the company stood for. Old employees were left to train new employees on procedures and principles that were not in place any longer and that new ownership had yet not communicated.

As we saw on our first day of class with the activity paper puppets, sometimes certain activities take so long to accomplish or we are just so focused in reaching that goal in the fastest possible way that we sacrifice the quality put into a product. In paper puppets, some of the paper that was damaged, passed through the line of workers completely unnoticed.

The questions presented are:

Do you have to sacrifice quality in order to obtain quantity? Can there be a balance?

Does hiring cheaper labor means sacrificing quality?

Is ten thousand replicas of a Picasso painting worth more than a real Picasso?


8 thoughts on “Quantity versus Quality

  1. Karina, I totally agree with you that quality should always be the top priority and should never be compromised. The reason why quality is often ignored is because big businesses often times want to make money quicker and faster. If the demand is high and the price is right, quality is given the last thought. Moreover, lower quality work can often be produced faster and at a minimum cost. If you look in the long run, quality does have an effect on the business. Due to internet, customers these days often put out their comments of the companies on the internet and if the newly merged company does not provide the outstanding service as it did before it will easily be meet by criticisms all over the internet which can become a possible reason for the company’s failure.

  2. You most definitely do not have to sacrifice quality to reach quantity. If you do chose to do so however, you might just get the opposite results. Likewise, not taking as good of a care of your employees also diminishes work integrity and motivation, therefore decreasing the quality of work. If a company wants more quantity in sales, they should do a better job, better quality, and more work and sales will arise automatically.

  3. In my opinion, one way to find a balance between quality and quantity is to identify your potential clients and understand their expectation. Do they expect a above average product even if they would have to pay a little more? Or do they have the “you get what you paid for” attitude? And I don’t think hiring cheaper labor means lowering the quality. It’s all depend on how you want your products/services to be.

  4. I know how you feel when it comes to the quality of the workers. At the company I work for, employees are in charge of training new employees, not managers. This guideline is used to save money but has put a huge dent in operations. I’ve seen customer service crumble and sales dramatically fall downhill since I began working there.

  5. Great post, Karina. I think the idea of quality vs quantity really depends on the product. For example, a small toy that will retail for $1 is probably better in suited for the quantity over quality approach. On the other hand, if you are making car parts, for example car brakes, the obvious choice, especially from a social responsibility standpoint, is probably the quality over the quantity argument (unfortunately this doesn’t always hold true).

    It’s important to understand that for some products the difference between the two is much more skewed and harder to decide.

  6. Great post! I agree that this is something that you have to ask yourself almost everyday when purchasing something or hiring a staff of workers. I feel that it all depends on the item you are purchasing or business you are running. For some things quality is most important but there might be somethings that you need a lot of at a cheap price and aren’t too concerned with the quality. This is definitely a question that needs to be asked based on the situation, but in my opinion for almost everything I would choose quality over quantity. With regards to the Picasso painting I would say having the original would be much more valuable then having a bunch of fakes.

  7. This was a great post, I see that you are talking about how quality is affected by quantity and vice versa. Having had experience in the catering business myself, I have dealt with fellow employees who don’t really take the quality of the food being made seriously. The care that is put into the creation of the food will without a doubt show when the customer goes to taste it. In the catering and restaurant business I think it is definitely about quality. Quality gets a business their reputation and good quality can be had by hiring employees which care about what their job is all about. However, as stated by some earlier posts in some instances quantity is better.

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