Speed or Quality

Leap before you look. Haste makes waste. These are ancient proverbs, meaning opposite to each other. It seems a speed-or-quality issue has been long bothering human beings, but nowadays, speed appears dominant, maybe because of the rapid change of the times. Mark Zuckerberg, the star of the digital era, well expressed the priority of the present-day business, “Done is better than perfect.” I’m always in haste like the devil, but am not going to deny the spirit of painstaking and slow work. I don’t think speed and quality are necessarily trade-off concepts.

In short, I think it’s a matter of conditions. For example, if it’s a free meal at a five star restaurant, I could wait in a line even outside under cold weather for more than two hours, but I’m sure I couldn’t if I have to pay out of my pocket. This controversy of speed and quality couldn’t be less of an issue only if we mutually pre-determine a minimum acceptable quality and longest acceptable waiting time. In the current era of accelerating change, it’s certain that speed gets more prioritized than before, though. Generally, Japanese organizations take longer to make decisions, which I’ve keenly felt in international business. I’ve been always annoyed by the tradition, but at the same time learned there’s something that can’t be sacrificed even for speed.

Ippongi Solid Wood Table (Photo Credit: mizuaki wakahara)

Among our product lineup, there’s a unique table collection. In the process of order placement for the collection, customers are supposed to select lumber boards for their table tops, to begin with. Basically, the table tops are not shaped into a square, but the shape of the edges is left as is: the outline of a tree trunk. Wood is natural material, with no two exactly the same in shape, color, character, etc. This is what makes this collection special and popular, and makes our craftspeople so nervous. The chief in charge of the collection says “I always feel anxious, worried if I’ve done anything wrong, if everything goes in order, etc. because mistakes are never allowed. I measure more than three times, cut once.” By such reason, we appreciate your kind patience for this table collection, IPPONGI.

Shungo Ijima

He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.

Photo Credit: https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/japan-fastest-bullet-train-alfax-scli-intl/index.html

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