World-class companies take tremendous pride in their products. From the iPad to the entry-level BMW3-Series (I own their 328 wagon), these products set quality standards, providing discernible value to the end user.
These world-class companies compete through innovation. They succeed by attending to the smallest of details – even those not apparent to the end user. BMW relies on precise engineering and advanced manufacturing to increase quality, residual value and ultimately overall sales.
The best companies have weathered the economic downturn. Apple doubled down on engineering, BMW increased the wheelbase of its cars, along with pricing.
A Closer Look at the Electronic Systems Business.
Virtually every electrician, audio video retailer, computer systems provider and big box store offer some sort of “installation services”. Running a proper contracting business in and of itself if difficult enough, add the constantly changing world of audio video / computers, and blend in some of the other disciplines of “home automation or smart home” and it is no wonder we get called every couple of weeks to re-do systems that were not done right the first time.
This mess was in a retail store in Orchard Park Mall. The systems never worked properly, this mess was hidden behind the cabinet door.
Most companies offering these kind of services, instead of following world-class companies like Starbucks or BMW, provide substandard systems in an attempt to lower the price and remain “competitive”. They use low-performing products and poor system designs, justifying their offerings with “our clients won’t know the difference”. It is common to see mid-priced proposals that include the very lowest cost / quality speakers, accessories, and electronics. We recently re-did systems in a$ 5M home that only 2 years ago had been re-done. The last contractor used mostly “no name” electronics and accessories. The client liked the low price initially, but in the end had to buy the correct equipment as the cheap stuff simply did not work. Of course, it costs much more doing things twice.
Clients never ask for or want a cheap, low-performance system. They want a high-value solution within their budget. Imagine a high end home with a beautiful kitchen, but with low end cabinet hardware. Not immediately evident, the cheap hardware helped to lower the cost a bit, but is ultimately not what the customer actually wants or is willing to pay for. I would never use a product in a client’s home that I would not use in my own home.
1970s Radio Shack Residstors used in a 2010 Lake Front Home.
Notice the miss-matched wall plates, shoddy workmanship, missing screws and messy wires, NONE of which should have been used in the first place.
The system barely worked last summer; it started breaking down a couple weeks ago so they called us in to re-do the system. Even though it was fairly basic, the system was so difficult to operate it sat unused much of the time, and ultimately only worked for a few weeks before needing to be replaced.
As always, it pays to do things right the first time – initially costing more but actually costing less.
Power Engineer and CEDIA Certified Electronic Systems Designer
Part of this blog was taken from the article “Don’t lower your Standards”, Ira Friedman.