At the end of my working career, I was involved in testing (company label – Quality Assurance). When a new product is developed there is a time estimated for development, a time allotted for construction and what is left before the product went to market was for testing. So the chance of a marginally test product going to market was very high. The company I work for is no different that any other manufacturing company out there.
Hmmm. I can think of other models, where testing takes place in parallel with development. But often your point stands.
But truthfully, why should they be. Does the public really care about quality or cost. My generation was the first to hear and live with the marketing philosophy of “planned obsolescence”. It got to the point that if a product, say a car, lasted more than 5 years, we started to brag about it.
Today, the cost of bring a product to market is king. “Share holder” profit is the corporate mantra. The customer just lives with what is out there and tries to get the best value(?) for money that he or she can find.
I fear that I agree with you.
On the other hand, the Japanese originally lost, and then won the motor cycle market on the quality of their product. (And some race success.) Provocative statement: I think that the same is true of gaining market share with their reliable cars.
Returning to Prism - What could they do to ensure a better quality product?
- Firstly, have kites that people really love to fly. As a paid-up member of the glee club, there is no problem convincing me. But for the rest of you - the only suggestion I would have is to employ some other stunt kite designers that are more appealing to other tastes. - Hmmm. Suggestion costs time and money.
- Improve the system for fixing problems. - Very difficult for Prism as the main factory is in China, and the faults get reported to Seattle. So suppose I were to complain about a faulty spar. The complaint reaches Seattle. - Even if they react immediately, it would take some weeks for the replacement part to get back to me. If there are lots of complaints about this part, then something needs fixing, which involves liaising with the Chinese factory. - This must take some time. Eventually the Chinese factory agrees on a fix, and it gets built into the next batch of that kind of kite. - Turnaround between reporting a systematic fault and getting updated batches of kites into the shops - ??? - I'd guess at the better part of a year.
What they could do, would be to ensure that they had local agents in individual countries, doing essentially some of the part replacement, complaint fielding and fault fixing job that is currently being done just in Seattle. - These people should be enthusiasts (Perhaps they are not even paid to do this.). - We're not trying to compete with the shops, just improve the back-up service. It still doesn't fix the necessarily long turnaround between realising that there is a fault and having upgraded products, but does shorten the distance between company rep and customer. - I can see that this could be seen as a risky strategy, a difference in the way of doing business, but it might work.
IMO Prism seems to be occupying a slot somewhere above the cheap kites that are sold for holidays and usually thrown away soon after, and the expensive kites made by individual makers, with very fast quality improvement cycles (e.g. fault found, fixed on all future kites) and maybe superb next day parts backup if you happen to live in the same country.
Prism and HQ are often a person's first "serious" stunt kite, and Mark Reed recognises that, and is trying to balance selling price and availability against kite quality.