How can you determine quality in…consumer goods?

Understanding ‘quality’ is as much to do with information provided, as it is a sensory issue, and journalist, Iain Robertson, looks at several aspects of the attribute.

When every penny we earn is stretched to snapping point during periods of economic depression but the need to acquire goods remains constant, the temptation to ignore quality, in favour of perceived value-added features but a non-branded lower price tag, becomes prevalent. While there is very little that is wrong with a new washing machine, a fridge-freezer, or even a motorcar acquired from some far flung continent, it is its mark of quality, as evinced by the British ‘Kite Mark’, that will underscore its viability for sale.

trolly_imageWhile the once renowned brand of quality that was introduced in 1903 remains as important as ever, its efficacy does appear to have been diluted by our dependence on imported goods, most especially from the tiger economy of China. The British Standards Institution plays a vital role in carrying out testing and assessing of the majority of home-grown items, to ensure that they meet safety, reliability and quality aspects. However, not all imported goods meet the same stringent standards.

Of course, even a ‘seal of approval’ can have strictly limited worth, should the goods break down, or fail completely. Yet, that is where the back-up of a manufacturer’s warranty comes into play. All the same, not all guarantees, or support packages, as many consumers know to their dismay, are as watertight as the ‘small print’ suggests that they might be.

There is value in carrying out research, prior to buying certain goods. The relative power of the ‘citizen journalist’, or ‘reviewer’, via countless on-line sites should not be underplayed. However, not all reviews are carried out in a strictly honest manner, so caution should be exercised.

The value of known brands also needs to be underscored. They are known, because they are likely to be popular and, even though premium pricing tends to sit more happily with known brands than the unrecognisable ones, the brand can infer an impression of quality that is allied to reputation that the relevant manufacturer wishes to protect as much as possible.

Naturally, buying power plays a role for the larger retailer, in that offers and discounts can apply seasonally, even though the irony of emergency purchasing means that such opportunities might not be available at the most needy of times. Therefore, while the attraction of lower price points may be strong, the consumer is better served by the branded goods, as they infer that the higher priced items might save money in the longer term.

As ISQA knows from its extensive field experience, the investment in ensuring only the highest quality in consumer goods is seldom better spent. To commission, or to contract, the services of a skilled exponent of the Quality Assurance scene ensures that brand familiarity does not lead to contempt. ISQA’s neutral view, its unbiased assessments and its adherence to ISO9001 (the mark of its quality) bolsters confidence levels of the manufacturing operations that form its satisfied clients’ list.

Whether Andrex, or Izal, buying the recognised brand is not like throwing money down the pan. Unrecognised toilet paper possesses neither the durability, nor integrity, of the quality brand and the same applies to canned goods, white goods, light-bulbs, furniture, or motor vehicles. Quality is a consumer value that must never be ignored, no matter how tightly tugged are the purse-strings.

‘Make Quality Count!’

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