Cost vs. Quality

August 1, 2013

by Thi Dao - Also by this author

I recently had dinner with a friend who works in an unrelated industry in the public sector, and he brought up an interesting point. He’s become known as the “finance” guy, the one who can bring in money (by bringing in more “customers”) and cut costs. That sounds great, right? Give this man an award! But not so fast, he says. Something’s got to give. Those cut costs, of course, come with consequences, such as a lower-quality program for each customer. In his case, his customers probably did not notice the difference, but if he keeps cutting costs, they might soon do so. How do you balance out cost and quality, and how much can you cut in costs before it affects quality?

I can think of a few examples of the quality vs. cost debate: extending replacement cycles for far too long, hiring a brand new technician when you really need a more experienced one, or purchasing a product you know is of lower quality because of its price.

It’s a rough balance, and decisions need to be made with care. Fleet managers should be careful in their cost-cutting efforts and remember that while reducing costs is ideal, fleet’s main goal should be to keep the fleet program efficient and effective and to keep customers coming back. If you don’t have that expensive tool you need to repair vehicles in a timely manner and a vehicle is out of service a week longer than it should have been, have you really cut costs?

Have you recently had to make a decision between cost and quality? Which did you choose and why? Or how?


  1. 1. Steve [ August 12, 2013 @ 02:32PM ]

    I always spend more for quality because personally or in business, when I buy the less expensive brand, I often find I need to service or replace it way too soon. Cost and price are 2 very different subjects because measuring replacement cost, lifecycle, maintenance, & downtime are all the intangibles that some dont consider. If I cant adfford iot now, I wait until I can afford the one I wanted because buying cheap always leaves a bad taste

  2. 2. Mark Hornberger [ April 04, 2014 @ 01:40PM ]

    Great points. Here's one for you ...many "green fleet" consist of CNG/LNG cars and trucks yet they use a petroleum based oil. Why?
    We can offer a Bio -Oil that will reduce the carbon footprint by 60-70%, improve bottom line by 50% and make you a contender for Fleet Manager of the year. Just by changing from a petroleum based oil to a bio based oil.

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Thi Dao

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Thi is the executive editor of Government Fleet magazine. She is interested in maintenance management and alternative fuels.

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