The Taste of Quality

By: Jose Paredes, UL

The fall in New England is one of my favorite times of the year. Hues of saffron, paprika and pumpkin speckle the landscape. Combined with the smell of wood-burning fireplaces scenting the crisp night air, and the sound of rustling leaves, it becomes a living masterpiece. When I am not traveling for work, one of my passions is cooking. I am a native of Nicaragua, and have adapted to cooking with whatever ingredients are around me, because I find that the best end-result starts with using the best quality products available.

What is best, however, is a tricky question with answers as unique as the individuals whom you ask. I am lucky to live in a rich agricultural area, and in the fall, the best produce comes from my local farmer’s market on Thursdays. What makes the kale and corn so good is they are picked at the peak of maturation and available to me, the consumer, the same day or shortly thereafter. Quality is built into every step: from seed and soil selection, to growing and picking time, all the way to distribution to the customer. The eggplant-colored plums, fragrant with succulent flesh, encapsulate the essence of quality. They were not created overnight, but are in fact a direct outcome of the quality in all the prior steps commencing with the source.

But what is best quality for products and services involving multiple people in a more complex supply chain? What is quality at the source, why does it matter? Quality must be defined by whoever the end customer is, so there is not one definition. However, when a company commits to producing according to the quality characteristics desired by its end-consumer, doing the right thing the first time will help deliver a product of the desired quality and at a predictable cost. When quality is not built into every step of the way, defects get passed on and produce unnecessary waste, potentially compromising the end result and making for a more expensive overall operation. Our customers (and our associates) “taste” the quality of our products and services every single day. Let us create a flavor that has them coming back for more.

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