Quality Handbook and the Art of Tractor Design
Four decades back, the Vice Chairman of an Indian tractor company was struggling to compete with international tractor brands in India. This tractor company had scratched only 2 % market share over the previous five years. According to the Vice Chairman, the Indian tractor was the best engineered product in the farm market.
As it turned out, the Vice Chairman had personally designed the Indian tractor and was therefore emotionally attached to the success of his creation. He had acquired the Handbook of Quality Control – Dr J M Juran and Dr Frank Gryna, the most affordable treasure of Quality knowledge.
How do you learn from a Handbook? His answer: Page by page!
What were the three lessons that made the most difference? His answer:
- Customer defines Quality
- The Cost Of Poor Quality (COPQ) is almost one-third of Total Costs
- Integrate Quality into the Strategic Plan.
Had he met his customers? He was silent. Stone silent.
On meeting a sample of 10 farmers, he received positive feedback about the performance of the Indian tractor.
So why were they not purchasing the Indian tractor? He learned that Punjabis use tractors for their wedding barats (processions). His bumpers and mud guards could not withstand this load.
With minimal design changes, the Vice Chairman effectively turned the tide of his company. Five years later, the Indian tractor captured 21 % market share, displacing 10 international brands, to became the leader.
DO QUALITY MANAGEMENT PRACTICES DELIVER PROFIT?