In search of the Holy Grail of speed and quality

Stahl believes in trusted partnerships, such as the partnership with The Footwearists (formally known as SLEM), the international innovation and education institute for footwear. Together, we keep on developing at full speed toward a more innovative, sustainable future. But what is speed? We asked Yassine Salihine, Senior Forecaster at The Footwearists, about his definition.

“From fast food to fast fashion and from fast internet to speed dating, modern life is all about speed. Some say that speed is what defines modernity and that the start of it was the steam engine. After all, the steam engine was used to speed up travel, resulting in the world we live in today. The increase in speed and volume, created by cheap energy, meant that a lot of products became more affordable and more accessible to a larger group of the population. In essence speed gave us the middle class. But speed comes with a price, and usually this price is quality. The race to produce cheaper and faster can result in unwanted effects such as poorer materials, surfaces, and build quality. The trade-off between price and quality is one of the biggest dilemmas for modern-day manufacturers. Another undesirable consequence of mass production can be the making of monotonous products with no individual qualities.” 

Speed is an experience 
“Creating products that can be made quickly, with great quality but tailored to individual tastes is the Holy Grail. The problem is that people perceive products that are made quickly as not very valuable, as can be seen with fast food and fast fashion. Last year, shoe machine manufacturer Desma demonstrated a system with which they can produce a partially individualized direct injected shoe in 15 minutes. But how would you price such a product? Would people be willing to pay €200 for something that in their eyes took only 15 minutes of effort? The solution may lie in looking at speed as an experience. People are willing to pay for a rollercoaster ride that only takes a couple of minutes, or they may pay extra to get home more quickly. If speed serves the interests of the customer, then they often are willing to pay a premium.” 
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