Price, Quality and Speed—-Choose Any Two!

Price, Quality and Speed—-Choose Any Two!

In discussions with a sales prospect yesterday, we got to talking about more of their needs. The question of price came up (it always does, doesn’t it?) and when they wanted the software installed. We then discussed if their go-live date on the software was in the immediate future how we could get everything accomplished. That is when I stepped back for a moment and related to the prospect some wisdom I had heard from a good friend of mine years ago.

My friend is in the printing business. We were having lunch one day and after lunch he was showing me his priniting operations. He has a very large printing facility and has several printing presses. Almost all the presses were running generating print jobs for the customers. When I stopped and studied the output from the different presses, I noticed that the speed of some presses was substantially faster than others. When I asked my friend why, he related this little gem of wisdom to me.

Alan, he said, in this business I tell my customers we can complete their printing orders but we need to set priorities for each order. Customers always want three things, the lowest price, the best quality and the faster completed and delivered job. I reply back to my customers that between the three customer wants of price, quality and speed, they can choose any two! Let me, the businessman, know which two priorities to meet and I will have satisfied customers!

Isn’t that the way it is in most things in life? Almost never are the three deliverables able to be met by any business for all of their customers. If you want a low price and quality then speed or timing will have wait. If you want both quality and speed, then the price almost always has to go up. If you want both price and speed, guess what happens to quality?

Is your business like that? Where have you been able to provide all three deliverables without one of them being adversely affected?

Let me hear your stories about price, quality and speed.