Causes of Poor Quality

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Poor Quality

The term “poor quality” is used to describe a product that does not meet its specifications or fails to perform as it should. It can also be used to describe a product with defects, such as cracks in the paint on an automobile.

Quality is the most important factor in any business. It can make or break a company and its products, services and reputation.The cost to repair defective items may be as high as 10 times the original price tag. If you’re not careful, your brand could suffer from bad publicity, lost customers and even lawsuits.

KEY Takeaways

  • Poor quality is caused by lack of motivation, fear, stress, shortage of people, lack of training, unqualified personnel, taking shortcuts, human error, machine failure, material defect, management problems, method flaws, environmental conditions, etc.
  • Poor quality costs businesses billions of dollars every year due to repairs, loss of sales, litigation, and other damages.
  • To avoid poor quality, focus on improving processes, systems, and people.

 Competition is very high. Despite all the quality models and methodologies out there, most of the companies face the problem of poor quality. Why is it so?

But what exactly contributes to the poor quality? Many factors contribute to this problem.

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  • What are the causes of poor quality?

    Causes of poor quality may be grouped into six main categories:


    • Lack of motivation/interest, fear, stress
    • Shortage of people
    • Lack of training/skills
    • Unqualified personnel
    • People taking shortcuts
    • Human error


    • Lack of capability
    • Lack of maintenance
    • Nonavailability of spares
    • Wear and tear
    • Improper setup/calibration
    • Outdated technology
    • Workplace safety issues
    • Excessive workload
    • Over-reliance on manual methods


    • Low-grade material
    • Unspecified material
    • Variation
    • Defective materials
    • Inadequate testing
    • Lack of standardization
    • Lack of coordination among suppliers
    • Lack of communication with supplier
    • Unreliable source
    • Wrong specification
    • Lack of attention to detail
    • Design errors
    • Excess inventory


    • Lack of vision, mission, value system
    • Failing to identify/understand customer needs/requirements
    • Short term planning
    • Inadequate/poor planning
    • Flawed incentives and indicators
    • Favoritism
    • Lack of supervision/monitoring
    • Attitude towards change
    • Lack of decision making and communication skills
    • Lack of process understanding
    • Lack of fact-based decision making
    • Bad design decisions
    • Unrealistic schedule
    • Not providing adequate tools
    • Lack of communication between departments
    • Too much emphasis placed on short-term results at the expense of long-term goals
    • Lack of accountability
    • No one responsible for the overall success of the project
    • Conflict of interest


    • Lack of procedures
    • Procedures not followed
    • Conflicting requirements
    • Procedures not communicated
    • Too rigid or too relaxed requirements
    • Incomplete product specifications
    • No testing before release
    • Lack of feedback loops
    • Lack of control over the process
    • Lack of traceability
    • Lack of knowledge sharing


    • Humidity / temperature / lighting
    • Noise level
    • Vibration
    • Air pollution
    • Dust

     In summary, if we look at these causes one by one, they seem like small things but when put together, they add up to create an environment where poor quality happens more often than not. 

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