There’s been a lot of discussion within the dairy industry regarding milk quality and the European Union recently. As the EU deadline for more stringent milk quality requirements nears, it seems some people are getting a little nervous about how it will affect their product’s market value. And although the extra pressure will surely make already tough times a little more stressful, is there really a problem with being expected to deliver better quality? When you think of yourself as a customer or a consumer, you’d probably agree that you expect a certain degree of quality from the items you purchase, right? So what role does quality play in your company’s operations?

Regardless of what products or services you provide to the marketplace, I truly believe that quality should serve as merely the “ticket for admission.” In fact, shouldn’t quality be a “given” in whatever we do? It’s kind of like the old adage, “If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well.”

Some people tend to think better quality costs more money. But I’d argue that top-notch quality is pretty economical when you consider the alternative. Sure, the price tag for superior quality tends to be higher than the alternative at the time of purchase.

But saving money on a lesser-quality item usually ends up costing more in the long run. It’s probably safe to say that we’ve all tried saving a few dollars on an inferior option and then wound up paying for it down the road!

You see, quality is about making things that not only work today, but that also last after tomorrow. And that’s why high-quality products and services will always be worth more than lesser-quality alternatives. Deciding to compromise on quality in the short run is almost certain to cost more in the long run. And in the case of milk production, cutting corners on quality anywhere within the process will usually create some sort of ripple effect across the entire dairy.


So then what is quality? Whether quality is measured objectively as percentages and averages or subjectively through opinions and anecdotal evidence, quality is a standard. Quality is an attitude.

Just as some people approach their tasks with a “good enough” attitude, others have a “quality” attitude. The difference is that a “quality” guy knows that he truly needs to consider the long-term costs and benefits of the decisions and actions he makes today.

Believing in, working toward, and turning out great quality is a commitment to long-term success. And more important than that, people who are passionate and focused on delivering quality spread their enthusiasm across the entire team so that quality work becomes the rule and not the exception.

Ultimately, great quality costs less than poor quality. And spreading an attitude that’s focused on quality benefits everyone in the end. PD

Tom Wall