Friday, October 14, 2016

No one making and selling what he knows to be a poor thing can hope to continue to succeed...

From Harvey Firestone in Men and Rubber: The Story of Business:
If our tires were better than any others manufactured, and I believed they were, then we could sell them at a price higher than out competitors charged. The public is always willing to pay for quality. If we were just fooling ourselves about the quality being better, then the public would not pay us an extra price and we should fail. The real test was of product. Cutting the quality was urged on me, but it did not impress me as being an alternative. If we lowered our quality and frankly turned out poor tires, then we should eventually have to fail, because no one making and selling what he knows to be a poor thing can hope to continue to succeed.  
It all gets around to the service you are trying to render. I believe in keeping prices low, for, regardless of service, there is no real profit in high prices, because high prices automatically cut down volume. But the only possible way to lower prices and still keep business is to save in the cost of manufacturing by improved processes. Quality must go up, not down, and if a competitor lowers his quality, that is exactly the time for you to raise yours. Our competitors did not lower their qualities--they did not have to do that in order to get under our prices, for their manufacturing facilities were better and their volume so much larger than ours. We met the test; we were selling the highest-priced tire on the market, but our sales kept up steadily. We were not put out of business. Competition rarely puts any one out of business--a man usually puts himself out of business either by not making a good article or by wrong methods in sales or finance.