By Kevin Meyer
WIthin the space of five minutes I came across two articles on two companies that have placed quality ahead of easy short-term profits. First we have Dogfish Head, a specialty brewer.
Here’s something you don’t hear every day. On the heels of a nationally-acclaimed Discovery Channel television show that boosted an already growing demand for its beer straight through the ceiling, Delaware-based Dogfish Head Brewing Company from has decided to STOP expansion and will be pulling its products out of some states entirely.
Unwilling to compromise quality or flexibility by growing too quickly, and unhappy with all the empty shelves at retail stores across the country, Calagione made the difficult decision to pull his beer out of four states that have cherished his beer since 2004 or before: Tennessee, Indiana, Wisconsin and Rhode Island. On the flipside, the brewery’s home state of Delaware will see a greater supply of their favorite brews once again.
With the notoriety from the TV show driving demand through the roof, Dogfish Head could have just pumped out the volume and made some big bucks. But they didn't. Instead they decided to protect quality and therefore the brand, which will create long-term success.
Zappos has a similar story, unfortunately at the expense of our friends to the frozen north.
We have made the difficult decision to shut down the canada.zappos.com site and stop shipping to Canada. One of our core values is to “deliver WOW through service”. That means the best selection of brands and products that can meet just about every individual’s needs as well as fast, free shipping and free returns, all at competitive pricing. Our Canadian customers know that we have not lived up to these service levels.
Product selection on canada.zappos.com is limited due to distribution agreements with the brands we sell in the United States. In addition, we have struggled with general uncertainty and unpredictability of delivering orders to our Canadian customers given customs and other logistics constraints.
I've bought all of my shoes through Zappos for the past three or four years and can vouch for their quality of service – and that is specifically why I keep going back. Here they recognized that they could not live up to that value due to other circumstances, and instead of continuing to make money but potentially sacrifice the customer perception of that value, they are abandoning that market.
We often hear a definition of a "core value" is something so deeply important you'd be willing to sacrifice the company for. Maybe that's the wrong perspective. Holding to a core value that is also a value to the customer will create long-term success.
Matt Wrye says
I give both companies a lot of credit to take a strong stance on what they believe and stick to it. We have seen what can go wrong when you stray such as Toyota did over the last few years. Growing is good when done the way that fits your company and doesn’t sacrifice your quality and values. Thanks for passing these along.
Jim Fernandez says
When I was young I possessed the same set of values that you are describing here. I could have gone to college, graduated with a bachelors degree and over time made more money in my chosen career. Instead of going to college I decided to enter the work force so I could gain a practical, hands-on education. Consequently over the years I have provided more value to my employers at less cost to them.
david foster says
Jim Fernandez’s story reminded me of something. During the American civil war, many people with no military experience were given important command positions because of their local status and/or popularity. A Bowdoin College professor named Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain was offered command of a regiment and turned it down, believing he should serve first as a second-in-command and actually learn something about what he was doing. He did, and later went on to command his own regiment…many historians believe that his bayonet charge at Little Round Top during the battle of Gettysburg affected the outcome of the entire war.
Bill Ziarno says
Bravo for these companies that refused to compromise there values and ethics to supply their customers with their very best in products and services!
Doesn’t it come down to personal ethics that link with their mission statements to be the very best in what they do and provide to their clients? Their goal is to provide quality products at competitive prices and, at the end of their work day, they have the satisfaction of knowing that they’ll have repeat buyers that will allow them to keep their businesses growing and thriving.
I applaud their management’s values in taking a stand to be the best, provide high quality and not just focus on a “quick buck” for the sake of meeting sales quotas. We need to model more companies on their example and copy their strategies to have a more trusting general consumer public.
Posted by: Bill Z, Invistics Corp., March 23, 2011