What's your quality?

It’s easy to proclaim that your remodeling business is committed to quality, but it can be difficult to prove. A remodeler’s “product” is space in a person’s home, each of which is different. When a company’s product is never the same, quality tends to be more about the process of creating it than the finished result.

Product manufacturers have it easier than remodelers when it comes to proving their commitment to quality. The assembly line is the ideal place to implement quality checks, as this trade magazine editor can attest. I’ve been on many factory tours in my 20 years as a trade magazine editor. What I recall most from each tour are the quality assurance checks manufacturers put in place. Three recent tours stand out.

The Wellborn Cabinets factory in Alabama is a finely tuned machine. This facility stores thousands of SKUs to create seemingly countless configurations of cabinets, and every item is produced with precision by people who complete repetitive work that must be more exhausting than I can imagine. Inspectors catch the slightest imperfections in cabinet doors, and a team of wood grain experts match grain from an endless supply of wood pieces to create doors that appear to be made from one piece. They do it so well, and so quickly. It’s impressive.

At the Behr plant in California where paint and related products are imagined, created, packaged and shipped, the commitment to quality is evident everywhere. Making the paint is relatively easy; the magic—and the quality checks—is in the long, complicated process of developing the right chemistry, the right color, the right materials and the right marketing plan.

Quality is top-of-mind at the LP Building Products facility, also in Alabama, where OSB is produced. At every step in the process, efforts are made to remove subpar lumber and maximize quality. I had no idea the degree to which technology plays a role in today’s lumber mills. The efficiency of this place, and the way every particle of wood is used in some way, is admirable.

At some point in most remodelers’ marketing efforts, the word “quality” is mentioned in a brochure, on a website or spoken out loud by the remodeler when talking to potential clients. Do homeowners ever ask what quality means to you? Do they ask you to prove your commitment to quality? Or is the word quality another piece of marketing mumbo-jumbo? If the next homeowner you meet asks you to prove your commitment to quality, can you do it? What would you say?

Tell us in our LinkedIn group or on QR’s Facebook page. We’d love to have a conversation with you about quality.


Qualified Remodeler begins its 40th year of publication

Did you notice the little “40th Year” icon on the cover of this issue? It represents the beginning of Qualified Remodeler’s 40th year of publication, because this month marks 39 years since the first issue hit the streets in March 1975. One year from now in March 2015 we will celebrate our 40th anniversary, and we look forward to looking back.

If you’d like to read the first edition of Qualified Remodeler—the first magazine committed to remodeling professionals—go to ForResidentialPros.com/11318723 to download a PDF. Then, share your comments about the issue on our Facebook page, in our LinkedIn group or by sending an email to editor@qrmagazine.com.