Mike Spector, The Wall Street Journal (as published in the online edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, wrote a few days ago about Ford's surprising improvements in financial performance. One detail jumped out at me: "...quality ratings of Ford vehicles spiked. That chopped $1 billion off Ford's warranty costs last year."
That's billion with a "B." In manufacturing, we often view quality - as we should - as an end in itself. Just doing it right, with the right processes and human systems, to meet our customer's expectations. But, obviously, there's a big payoff for getting it right. If you're trying to promote change that improves quality, don't forget to dig out warranty costs as a persuader for doubters.