JOURNAL: Quality costs. A curious expression. My quality manager gets terribly excited about the subject. Curiously no one else seems to. I must confess that that includes me. I wonder why. We certainly are able to get excited about any other kind of cost. I called my quality guy the other day and asked him to come up and talk about it for a while. He showed up with an armload of tab runs and charts prepared to discuss the entire history of our quality cost experience. I’m afraid I disappointed him. Or at least I confused him. I just wanted to talk about quality costs: what they are, how they work, why I never seem to be able to get a straight answer to what I think are reasonable questions. I frankly don’t know quite what I’m supposed to do with this information. I was still confused at the end of our conversation. I think he was too. He seemed to think that quality costs were important because somehow they translated his language, the language of quality, into my language, the language of dollars. I didn’t think I was that narrow, but then maybe he’s right to a degree. For sure, dollars didn’t seem to be his language, not his native language anyway. We couldn’t communicate in any way that I found meaningful. It’s too bad. He’s a good man and I know he is 100contributing a lot. At the end of the meeting I asked him for some reading material on the subject. I thought maybe I could figure it out for myself. He tells me that quality costs represent a large percentage of sales. He’s right. But then, so do a lot of other things. Is he trying to tell me that I shouldn’t have any quality costs? What’s a good number? How do we compare to our competitors? What should the number be? But then maybe the important relationship isn’t to sales at all.