Good, better, best. Never let it rest.

‘Til your good is better and your better is best.

-St. Jerome

Products are released every day, many with no notice and some with great success. The Apple iPad is an example of well-managed marketing, extreme anticipation and high customer satisfaction.

The Windows Archos 9, JooJoo and HP tablet all are efforts to beat the iPad. The recent release of the Blackberry Playbook is one that held high expectations but met with unexpected disappointment. Blackberry’s maker, RIM had hoped to take a big chunk out of the tablet market but it appears their rush to do so caused them to compromise their quality. Apparently, the tablets have a flaw in the operating  system that can make it impossible for users to set up the device. About 1,000 Playbooks were recalled as a result.

We see product recalls regularly – toys, snowblowers, baby seats, fitness products – the list is long. Recalls are costly to a company because they often require replacing the recalled product or paying for damage caused by its use. They also can result in less trust in a brand name or manufacturer (see: Toyota).

Quality control is a factor in business as well as life. So how can we reduce the risk of recall, or put more positively, assure excellence in a final product? Some essentials: well-defined goals, processes and procedures, and stop gaps to check quality as a project progresses. Teamwork and clear definition of roles and responsibilities are also important factors.

When competition is fierce and quick turnaround vital, the risks must be managed even more closely. Taking time to think through the process first, noting goals and metrics to be met along the way, is crucial. Double- and triple-checking each step ensures the final work will be a masterpiece of excellence. Don’t sacrifice best for fast or cheap or good enough.

RIM can rebound from the Blackberry Playbook recall. It may take special incentives to bring customers to trust the company and take a chance on the product. Efforts to take a little more time to make sure the product was functioning properly in the first place would have prevented the headaches and frustration of an unfortunate and preventable mistake. We don’t know what specific goals were not met and where the breakdown of proper procedures happened. We DO know that had a recall not occurred, Blackberry would be in a stronger position against iPad and other similar products.

Our lesson is to remember to slow down enough – even when required to move quickly – to ensure the best outcome is obtained.

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