Enduring Quality: A Key Factor to Increase Resource Productivity
Volume 2, Number 1,January 2006 - Paper 7 - pp. 89 - 97
GIANCARLO BARBIROLIBusiness and Management Department (Technology and Resources Valorisation Area), Faculty of Economics, University of Bologna , Piazza Scaravilli 2, 40126 Bologna, Italy
(Received on January 4, 2005)
The currently low utilization rate of products is mainly a result of their qualitative properties, of market needs (fast replacement) and of consumer behaviour. Indeed, products are now specifically designed and produced to be quickly replaced, so that manufacturers can maintain high production volumes; however, this trend leads to resource depletion and environmental imbalances. In order to substantially increase resource productivity (by at least 10 times), the technical and economic features of goods have to be radically changed so that their use may be optimized. This could be done through the concept of enduring quality, based on functions – rather than properties - characterized by long-term stability. Of course, a significant change of this kind would involve a radical modification of all production trends and of our basic understanding of goods. At the same time, we also need to change the way we utilize goods. The aim of this paper is to highlight this paradigm in order to identify which are the main factors able to get enduring quality to maximize the utilization rate of durables and, consequently, to increase resource productivity.
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