In the SEAM program, the concept of quality fits under the economic pillar of sustainability but in reality, quality permeates through all principles of sustainable production. In the manufacturing sector, producing a product of quality calls for a high level of quality for the entire product life cycle including R&D development, raw materials, production processes, handling and storage to name a few areas.
Environmental Pillar, quality equates to longevity
Focusing on quality extends the product’s lifespan yielding a greater environmental impact, such as reducing the company’s carbon footprint: less emission into air, less energy consumption, less waste, less everything. This is the most efficient, cleanest way to still accept the fact that we are a society of mass consumption without throwing us back into prehistorical caves.
Social Pillar, quality ensures greater safety and productivity
When quality is important for a business, it can be assumed that standards for the business are generally high, including safety equipment, safety training, and safety processes. Qualitative work generally generates better results and better products, with less of a need for re-works, and greater overall productivity is.
Economic Pillar, the notion of quality is shaped by consumer behavior and practices
Quality under the theme of economy seems to be more intuitive as manufacturers must master quality to have a sustainable product. Quality is often tied to product performance and for good reasons as lots of investments go into the design phase of the product to achieve the best results. The meaning of the word “performance” has evolved though, as new generations of consumers hit the market looking for more than the unbeatable price. New dimensions such as safety and more recently sustainability shape consumer behavior and purchasing pattern as well.
One economic model gaining in popularity is repairability. While manufacturers are encouraged to design manufacturing features promoting repairability, different tools are increasingly assisting end-users in pursuing this scheme such as the European Union directive “right to repair” launched October 2019 or the flourishing of manufacturing standards defining the concept for economic sectors. Again, transforming linear production and consumption operations in circular systems is made easier if the spare parts are readily available on the market and of quality.