How much technology has invaded your life? Could you and/or your business operate without your computer, the Internet, cellular phones, pagers, voice mail or television? How did you function before you were introduced to all these wonderful gadgets? Have these technologies improved your life and/or business? I would guess most people would answer, yes.
A recent survey by the American Society for Quality and the Gallup Organization revealed that half of all people surveyed who have Internet access say they have never gotten an idea or found information that had a significant effect on their business or personal life. Obviously they are not in the finishing business. Finishers have several sites to turn to for information and news, including www.pfonline.com
For those who have Internet access, 59 percent stated that they use it to look up information more than once a week. Fifty-one percent use it for business e-mail. Only two percent use the Internet to make purchases. I have made purchases by telephone after browsing the Internet, but I will not give my credit card number out over the Internet. Two reasons, I would have no receipt, and I do not know who could gain access to the information.
Consumers offer different reasons for not owning products such as personal computers and cellular telephones. The cost of the equipment and/or services is the biggest factor for not owning a personal computer. However, those who do not own a cellular telephone just do not seem interested in it. I envy them. I would love nothing better than to turn mine off for days at a time.
The survey also covered product and service quality. Fifty-three percent of the respondents gave high ratings to the quality of American products, but only 36 pct gave the same high rating to the quality of services.
Sixty-four percent of the survey respondents said that American product quality has increased during the past three years. Fifty-six say service quality has increased. But 20 percent said product quality has declined, and 31 percent said service quality has declined. The biggest reason given for service quality decline is employee indifference.
Why are employees indifferent? Do they feel that they are simply working for "the corporation?" Do they perceive or receive no benefits from a job well done? Is this an employer's fault? Or do employees simply expect too much (or care too little)? Or do consumers expect too much? What bothers me is the word indifference. Be hot. Be cold. Don't be lukewarm. You will end up down the drain.
To obtain a copy of the complete survey report, contact the American Society for Quality at 800-248-1946 and request publication T738. The cost is $45.