Posted by Mike Bartell

Lets Talk Quality

Not all companies are the same… but here are a few special ingredients that separate the good from the best.

Quality at its root definition is a high level of value or excellence.

It’s also simply defined as how good or bad something is.

As a consumer, you may wonder how to pick the right brand and the best quality? Which one is the safest? What drives quality processes and assures the best outcomes within the organization? Here are a few thoughts about ingredients that make a good company among the best.

It takes a healthy serving of Teamwork.

Communication is a key metric. A manufacturer’s core team – made up of Ph.D. Scientists, Certified Technicians, Legal Professionals, Logistics Experts, Managers, Supervisors and more – committed to the same goals of creating a comprehensive product.

You as retailers and consumers are also part of this team. So be proactive about your research, don’t just settle for the end result of a great marketing team that produced a pretty package. Ask questions of your distributors and manufacturers and make sure that your preferences are known. Good communication equals good team work.

Understanding Terms: Some things may not be what they seem.

In this industry various terms are getting thrown around like chips on a craps table. Maybe you’ll get lucky, maybe you won’t. For example, being able to put the word "organic" on a food product is a valuable marketing advantage, but it absolutely does not guarantee the product is legitimately organic. But maybe consumers won’t read the fine print, which is the gamble some companies don’t speak about...

While at a most recent tradeshow, a liquid manufacturer was presenting "all natural and organic vapor liquids". After just a quick smell of the bottle we argued the point regarding their statements. They ended up saying "you’re right, the one your holding does have synthetics as well as artificial flavors, but THIS one here does not..."

Over the years we have determined that this is actually a pretty common practice. The companies that do this are the ones that are hurting our industry. The retailers that sell these products are also responsible. It’s our job as leaders to function in the capacity of Ambassadors to this industry as a whole.

Until consumers are fully educated about the products available and are able to make accurate decisions regarding the choices available - honor, integrity and most importantly, consumer safety should be at the forefront of our thoughts.

 

A Prescription for Accuracy

As an added safety measure for your customers, learn the adverse effects of chemical interactions and consumer allergies. Some lesser grade brands may have had no real “proven” negative consumer effect to date, but this market is growing which means more people with various sensitivities are presenting themselves. If a liquid melts a plastic bottle or tank (chemical interaction), that’s more than likely a real strong indicator that there is an underlying issue. If a consumer breaks out in hives due to low grade compounds (consumer allergy), that’s also a strong indicator of a bigger issue. Evidence-based information is available from reputable manufacturers that can serve as guidelines to help reduce your own liabilities as a retailer. Independent Certified Lab Testing is cost effective and is also a great way to confirm product quality.

It’s in the Stars: Accountability

One simple, but important way to learn how a manufacturer understands preventative measures and accountability is to look for Lot Numbers. Lot numbers are an indicator that there is more than likely a detailed paper trail for every batch manufactured. How does their own internal report card look for simulated recalls? Product source vulnerabilities? Freight security and management? Are they “ISO Certified”? These are just a few items to consider while making informed choices. A good internal report card demonstrates that a manufacturer continuously strives to improve and is concerned about the type of quality product they provide.

Quality: superiority in kind; a distinguishing attribute; degree of excellence.