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Quality —

Every manufacturer, when asked, prides himself on the quality of the product he produces. As is the case with most words of this type, much of the meaning of quality is perception and probably inflated. Clearly, the only way to definitively define quality is through detailed specification tables of consistent production results. We can certainly provide such specification tables. What is probably more important in this discussion, however, is to provide you with a sense of our overall approach to quality.

The bottom line is that customers dictate our approach to quality. Our customers are organizations such as department stores and wholesalers that buy several jumbo containers at any one time and where the overriding requirement is consistency. Their ultimate customers (i.e., retail customers) expect to receive the exact product that they saw in the showroom. Products within a set, or even product lines, should be "exactly" the same as the other items within the line. For example, our cabinets and tables have stated dimensions within a tolerance of 3 mm and our chairs may vary by 5 mm. For a handmade consumer item, these deviations are very small and very good, but as far as our customers are concerned normal and to be expected. Thus, while our customers are cost conscious, it is more important for them to have us do it right every time rather than at the lowest cost. We have learned to concentrate on our ability to maintain a production standard, order after order, year after year and not to be lowest cost manufacturer.

Another item of great concern to retailers is the variation in finishing. Technically speaking this variation should be "zero point zero," but that is not practical. Wood furniture is a natural product with normal variations that occur in nature. That is what, to some extent, makes a wood furniture piece special and one of a kind. Nevertheless a customer who, for example, buys extra chairs for her dining room set one year after she has bought the original set should be able to reasonably expect that the color of these chairs match her previous purchase, or at least not fluctuate wildly. Using our production methods we come about as close as any one can. Similarly, the finishing on complementary products, such as rattan, should match the finishing of a teak wood product so that the customer can mix and match these items in the interior design of her home. While these accomplishments appear minor, we strive to attain such "small" achievements. This is what sets us apart.

Each piece is given a final inspection prior to shipment. Our dealers again inspect the furniture when it arrives on their premises. We take great care to ensure that our part in the final delivery to our customer is smooth and uneventful. As we remind all our associates, every piece we manufacture is intended to be an heirloom that will be handed down through several generations.

In the picture above, Quality Control staff members from the various Inpro factories meet once a week to discuss quality control issues. This is also the time when the department manager provides his staff with updated production and quality standards.
Customer comments are an important factor in our overall quality control program and the comments that we receive from them are shared with the staff at these meetings.












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