There are many important aspects of running a business. Marketing has to do an excellent job of understanding customer needs and generating demand for the company’s products and/or services. Finance has to keep the money flowing and make wise decisions about using cash vs. borrowing, renting vs. purchasing, etc. Engineers and customer service people have to do their jobs as well to design products and respond to customer issues. Over the past couple of chapters of our textbook, we have examined the topic of quality and how it applies to all aspects of a company (quality of design, quality of manufacturing, quality of customer service, etc.). In the next few chapters, we will be examining how important planning and scheduling, and inventory management are to operations.

For example, if we have too much inventory we tie up capital, we risk obsolescence (having to throw away inventory), we drive up our holding costs (having to store inventory), etc. If we have too little inventory we risk stopping production due to parts shortages or missing out on sales and potentially losing customers because we can’t meet customer demand.

If you had to rank business function in terms of importance, where does quality fall between most important and least important? Is it more or less important than inventory management or marketing? While there is no absolute right or wrong answer to this question but I would like to hear your thoughts. I suspect those of you in marketing might believe marketing is most important and you could certainly make a strong argument for that viewpoint. Likewise, finance majors might believe the same thing about finance and again, you could make a strong argument for that viewpoint. But this course may have exposed you to some aspects of running a business that you had not considered before.

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