Quality Matters

Quality is a factor that can affect what a consumer purchases. As consumers, we do not want a product that will fall apart the next day. We don’t want a car that will blow up if we get rear-ended. If a company produces products or services that consumers do not deem to be good, this can affect sales and also the company’s reputation. Because of this, quality is an important part of operations management. Our text defines quality as “the ability of a product or service to meet customer needs.” (Heizer 209.) This definition might seem vague, but in reality, quality can mean different things to different consumers, such as reliability, durability, or even performance. The textbook mentions that two ways quality can improve a company’s profitability are creating sales gains and reducing costs (Heizer 208.)

An example of how quality comes into play in management is the situation going on in the auto industry and the handling of vehicle quality and safety. Recently, Audi and Honda have recalled certain vehicles. The Wall Street Journal reported that Audi’s recall was a result of an air-bag deployment glitch. “Audi’s action is the latest in an industry burdened by recalls. There have been tens of millions of vehicle recalls issued this year, costing…billions of dollars and denting the reputations of executives the companies they run.” (WSJ.) This highlights the fact that when a company’s product or service is perceived to have bad quality, it will cost the company money and will impact the company’s reputation. In addition, not only will recalls affect customers’ perception of a company, but they can lead to government investigations, fines, and lawsuits, all of which will impact the company’s operations management. The article mentions that Honda is reforming its quality assurance structure and will create a new job to oversee the safety changes the company will implement.

Personally, I believe quality is a vital part of operations management. I prefer to buy and spend more for products that I know are not going to fall apart a right after purchasing them. With all of these vehicle recalls, I believe the auto industry really needs to look at its quality standards. Companies need to look at where quality ranks in its operations and consider improving the system. Quality can help a company gain a competitive advantage over others, which will lead to higher profitability and a better reputation. As the textbook mentions, quality can reduce costs and improve sales, which are two features that all companies want. For instance, a product made of higher quality material will have a lower warranty cost for the company. Also, if consumers know a company produces high quality products, they are more likely to buy from that company.

Questions for the reader:

How do you define quality? Do you think its has a big effect on operations management? What are your thoughts on the continuous product recalls?


Heizer, Jay, and Barry Render. Principles of Operations Management. Upper Saddle River. 2013. Print. 208-209.

Pfanner, Eric, Boston, William, and Megumi Fujikawa. “Audi, Honda Swept Up In Concerns Over Safety.” online.wsj.com. The Wall Street Journal, 2014. Web.


Find a Beauty Expert at Your Local Target!

Generic beauty-products2Target is one of our go-to stores when we are in need of practically anything you can think of-a hair brush, a summer dress, groceries, a plasma tv, makeup, face cleansers and much more. Recently, an article in the Chicago Tribune reported that Target would soon be expanding its “beauty concierge” within the Chicago area. The company’s goal is to expand this program from 28 to 44 stores. The uniqueness of this program is that associates are dressed in black aprons equipped with iPads, as well as mirrors and product samples to provide shoppers with guidance and expertise when they are browsing through the aisles of the beauty section looking for beauty products. According to this article, Chicago was selected as the test market for this program due to its shopping population. Specific locations Target is hoping to expand this program include Cicero, Vernon Hills and West Schaumburg while shutting the program in other locations such as Palatine, Bedford Park, Joliet, Villa Park, Oswego, Plainfield, North Aurora and Romeoville. Further, Target is also expected to expand its program into three additional markets: Los Angeles/Orange County, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C

The implementation of Target’s Beauty Concierge program is part of a trend in the beauty industry in which department stores and specialty retailers are helping and giving customers the opportunity to try their products before buying them. Since the skin care market grew 10 percent in 2012, Target is anticipating this program to boost sales. This new personalized beauty service is allowing Target not only to compete with stores such as Walgreens, who offers most of these products, but also to beauty retailers such as Sephora and Ulta Beauty. Hana Ben-Shabat, a partner at a global management consulting group commented on Target’s strategy by saying that at the end of the day fashion is a product and department stores are competing with beauty retailers and vice versa.

Operation managers at Target are certainly trying to keep up with the industry by coming up with these unique strategies. I think that the implementation of this new service can be a great success in very populated Target stores across the city, for example in downtown Chicago.  As this program matures, I think Target will gain a competitive advantage over other popular department stores such as Wal-Mart, Walgreens and CVS. The success of this program will largely be dependent on the type of associates that are being hired and the level of training they receive. Customers nowadays are always looking for advice when they are shopping for products, especially make up because not everyone is a beauty expert. Having someone to help you choose which specific foundation matches your skin, which mascara would help your lashes stand out, or which lipstick would look nice with an outfit, is certainly a service customers will appreciate. In my perspective, operation managers should place great emphasis on the increase of sales from beauty products to ensure that this project is being managed efficiently and can perhaps be used as a basis to provide a reasonable forecast to other Target stores across the nation.

What is your opinion? Do you think this program would attract more customers?