Cost of Quality Failure
The term ‘quality’ is an enigma having multiple meanings under varying contexts and it’s understood only in a very limited sense. In printing, it is generally signified as errorless production. This perception limits our focus because all resources and efforts are often expended to locate errors in production. K Nandakumar, founder president, Vibes Academy, writes about dynamic characteristics of ‘quality’ with changing parameters and new possibilities for improvements.

Now is the time for everyone in the industry to have a paradigm shift in understanding ‘quality’. For the sake of simplification, one can look at it from two perspectives. One being ‘external’ that is associated with the market and the other being ‘internal’ that is the sum of all in-house systems and operations. Further, external quality may be defined as the features and specifications of the product and services that fulfill the requirements of readers and advertisers. And internal quality, on other side, may be defined as ‘the appropriate systems and operations within organisation that ensure maximum gain while ensuring external quality.

External quality

K Nandakumar
Very few readers use their time to express their dissatisfaction on issues related to quality. Even a minuscule of such negative feedbacks reflects the feel of substantial number of silent readers. Additionally, when the product is already selling, the quality of the product and tends to pay the less attention towards quality improvement programmes. This leads to complacency, till the complaints become serious and publisher notes a steep fall in their circulation, whether of a newspaper or a magazine. In the long run, especially as new competitions grow, this attitude will lead to failure. Quality is all about seeking to be better, not just eliminating errors.

More than the reproduction quality, particularly with respect to newspapers and periodicals, the editorial contents play a vital role in deciding the marketability. The content is to satisfy the intellectual and entertainment needs of the readers. However, features of a good page with the right mix of pictures and text, combining with easily navigable layout, is important for the overall satisfaction of the readers. Advertisements are more than just a revenue generator. Of late, the readers value quality advertisements as much they value as the hardcore news. Above all, the contents that reflect the publisher’s social responsibility inspires the readers and leads to a personal rapport between reader and article. Not the least the attractive by any means, cover price of a newspaper is also considered as an important quality service.

Internal quality

The first thing to understand when we observe ‘internal quality’ is that ‘quality’ is an ‘attitude’. It would be like chasing a mirage if we expect quality in the end product without impregnating quality into the attitude of the organisation. Quality is a design and not inspection or correction. Correcting errors is important but has very limited scope in a competitive environment. Many printing houses pay lip service to quality. They shy away in implementing any constructive quality improvement programmes as it is generally believed that quality costs money. They fail to understand that quality failure causes more damage to the product and the organisation in the long run.

Quality failure cost is always more than the cost of quality assurance schemes. Not implementing the total quality programme may temporarily show higher profits. But at the end it kills the business. It is a choice between ephemeral profits against growth. The goal of internal quality is avoidance of all non-value adding actions and eliminating the ’repeats’. Every such action and ‘repeat’ causes money and affects the profitability. If closely observed, every department indulges in such wastes out of sheer oversight. While the production is keenly monitored and always reminded everyone of contained wastes, such exercises are not directed at editorial and advertisement segments.

Wastes alert!

Here listed some wastes which need attention in every printing house. Wrong choice of font in terms of size and style, especially if used either to fill-in pages when there is a dearth of news or to accommodate more news within the limited page availability, is a serious quality issue. If subbing is effective, this shortcut can be avoided. Interest of the readers wears out when page layout is retained for a quite a long time. On the other hand, frequent changes in the page pattern and layout to suit the fancies of the editorial confuse the reader. It also demands change in the press settings which generates large waste. It is important to figure out a ‘sweet spot’ time period for page layout changes.

Editorial content is tempted to make cosmetic change in the page layout just to differentiate between editions. Though factual and editorial errors may severely damage the reputation of the publication, editorial contents may resort to superficial corrections during a production run, resulting in quality failures. These end up being additional costs towards printing plate, news print waste and delays. But the editorial delays are not considered seriously by the management. In this, one needs to distinguish between the delays that add value or avoid damage and frivolous ones. Delays often lead to the newspaper not reaching the market in time and not being distributed on time. An established thumb rule states that quality assurance cost is just 30 percent of the cost of quality failure. Let us be very clear that the cost of quality is not the price of creating a quality product or rendering quality service, but it is the ‘cost of not delivering the quality product and service’.

The strength of a chain is the strength of its weakest link. So the bottom-line is that ‘quality’ is the responsibility of all. (K Nandakumar earlier worked as regional manager-after sales support at TPH and VP-technical at The New Indian Express).

Polaris Trykk extends association with Q.I.

Erwin van Rossem, head of sales, QIPC; Asmund Kildal, plant manager, Polaris Trykk; Kjeld Haugesten, Grafi-TEC, agent, QIPC/EAE; Steinar Bakken, CEO, Polaris Trykk; and Erik van Holten, chairman, QIPC
Press Controls and EAE Norwegian printing group Polaris Trykk is set to intensify its collaboration with Engineering Automation Electronics (EAE) and Q.I. Press Controls (QIPC). The concern will not only be the installation of mRC-3D from QIPC and several system updates from EAE in its plant located in Harstad, the group’s existing system architecture is also being upgraded so that a new folder can be added to the current configuration. In addition, Polaris Trykk has also signed a five-year service contract with EAE.

This convenience was a major factor in Polaris Trykk’s thinking. QIPC’s mRC-3D is likewise part of this performance. The mRC-3D will enable full automation of the cut-off register. The five-year service contract with EAE means that Polaris Trykk can fall back on round-theclock support from EAE for the electronics on the printing press. As it happens now, the partnership between Polaris Trykk and QIPC/ EAE will go a long way. In addition to its printing plant in Harstad, Porlaris Trykk has also been using several QIPC systems in its plants in Alesund and Trondheim too.

Harper’s Bazaar India appoints new editor

India Today Group, the publishers of Harper’s Bazaar India magazine, has recently appointed Nonita Kalra as the editor of the Indian edition of the globally read monthly fashion magazine. India Today magazine was the launch pad for Nonita where she kic k - started her journalism career as a trainee journalist. Since then she sustained her voyage into the news media world as she eventually became editor-in-chief of ELLE India where she worked for about 13 years. It was at ELLE India where Nonita was influenced writing about fashion, beauty and lifestyle. Over the last two decades of her experience in both print and electronic media, Nonita had worked with Business World, UTV, BiTV and Man’s World. And today she is at Harper’s Bazaar India.


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