Quality | A Degree of Excellence

The following content is part of the Interstates Culture Series, a writing collection explaining how our core company values were uncovered and what they mean to us. These posts from our leaders spotlight the culture at Interstates and share what it’s like to work within our organization, focusing on our values of Dependability, Integrity, Trust, Quality, and Family. Find the rest of the Culture Series here.

What do you think of when you hear the word “quality”? The first thing that comes to my mind is an X-brand tool or X-brand tractor. Maybe for you, it’s an X-brand shoe or X-brand food or X-brand automobile. Regardless of our specialty, hobbies or profession, I think we can all recognize quality in an object when we see it. Everyone appreciates a quality product; maybe it’s the precision, the finish, the craftsmanship, the design or the toughness. As consumers, we find comfort in quality and often accept paying a higher price when we know we are getting a quality product in return.

However, what if your business primarily provides a service? What does quality look like then? Is it recognizable? Is it achievable at high levels? Would you dare to integrate the word “quality” into your business’s service mark? Do you have enough confidence in your people to make such a proclamation? After all, you do not depend on strict International Standards Organization (ISO) 9001 quality manufacturing standards or tangible raw materials to give you repeatable, quality products. You’re relying on people.

People have good days and bad days. They get stressed yet have to make thousands of rational decisions in a day. Despite this, quality service may not be as hard to embody as we think. When you have a team of dependable employees who have integrity and care about each other, their customers and their work, quality services will be a natural result.

So, is that all there is to it? I would say no. The final factors in the equation that contribute to high-quality services are the standards being used. It’s no surprise that a thesaurus relates the word “standard” and “quality” together. In fact, the same Quality Management System (QMS) certification that the ISO applies to manufacturing organizations can also be given to service organizations. The experts recognize that using benchmark processes, procedures and policies is the recipe for producing a repeatable, quality outcome.

How well are you using your organization’s standards? If you were to apply for the ISO QMS certification, would it be natural and easy because your company’s existing standards are integral to executing your work? Or, would the implementation alter everything you do? I think our inclined response to this question is a telling indicator of how your company is doing.


Dave Van Schouwen, Instrument Designer


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