"Buy one and get one for free" is popularly used to promote sales and in such case the quality of both are same. In some other cases, if you go to special promotion area in supermarket, you will also can see some expiring goods, especially food, of which the valid date comes very closer and they are offered for free but bundled with other normal items. Such goods are quality "inferior" as the shelf life is shorter.If you often stay in hotels, you will get different types of "free" ball-point pens as gift, and many of them can only be used for couple of times before broken.
Later when our sales and marketing department asks the purchasing department to source some "gift" like USB, notebook, Key rings for them to give to their customers, those items are usually treated like non-trading goods, which means they are not for trading purpose, thus they are exempt from most of quality controls – no Supplier Audit and Validation, no formal sample approval, no process quality monitoring, no Delivery quality inspection, and even no visit to discuss with the vendor face to face as we have Taobao, Alibaba, etc. which makes the process look so simple. Usually the quality is not as good as what are sold in the stores, and some customers do not care either as they get for free, or they get used to such quality level gifts, and some others notice the quality issues but do not give any comments or feedback to us for improvement as there could be no need since it may only happen once.
后来当我们的销售和市场部寻求采购部的协助去购买一些小礼品，譬如 USB，笔记本，钥匙扣等，用于提供给客户做礼品，那些小东西常常被当做“非贸易类商品”而处理，意味着它们不将用于交易目的，因此它们豁免于大多数的质量控制环节 – 没有供应商审核和确认，没有正式的样品审批，没有过程控制的监控，没有交货质量的检查，甚至连参观供应商同他们面对面交流也没有，因为我们有TAOBAO,ALIBABA等等，这些都另我们的交易过程变得简单便捷。常常这些小东西的质量并没有在商店里正常销售的质量好，一些拿到他们的客户也并不在乎-因为它们是免费的，要么他们已经习惯了这种低档次的小礼物，还有一些客户意识到也在乎这些质量，但是他们并不会给任何的评论或者反馈以供供应商能有机会去改进-因为这个小礼品很可能只是赠送一次而已。
Think about if you pay and buy from the stores, or website stores and you notice what you get are quality inferior, either functional or even just some un-noticeable small points in a hidden corner, probably you will "claim" to the seller – if you are a quality caring person. This claim will give information to the seller to improve their products. So it sounds positive and value adding.
想象一下如果你是付钱从商店，网店买到的那些东西，你注意到了你拿到手的是质量有一点点瑕疵的产品，要么是功能性的，要么甚至只有在一些非常隐蔽的某个角落有几点难以发现的小瑕疵，很有可能你都会投诉给店家 – 如果你对质量有要求的话。这个投诉将提供一个反馈信息给店家来改善他们的产品，因此听起来是积极而且增值的。
But why if you get for free you say nothing and if you pay, you have lots to say and then the supplier gets much higher possibility to improve?
In a organization there are many processes and activities which are inefficient and non-value added, and many people suffer from them, somebody complain for them, and only top management address them. One important reason is that those areas suck the profit of the company and lower down the competitiveness of the company. Eventually only the management is responsible for that. One good way to solve this is to change the debit to be asset.
There is a test lab to check different samples, for examples the durability of shipment samples selected from source inspection before delivery, and the engineering approval samples before serial production. As all the test cost are absorbed by the test lab as operation cost, so as long as the report says pass, then everyone is happy, and in case it's failed, for the shipment samples test, people just say "ops" as the customer cannot wait until the result from long lasting cycle test so it's decided to be released before result comes out. Then next time, it may appear again and people just think "the quality is just like this" after couple to times. For the engineering samples test, since it's for free, then people just resend the samples for re-test – though it may delay the project, anyway it's difficult to blame the delay to single test failure as there could be many other accuses. Furthermore, some suppliers start to ask the test lab staff to "support" setting up their new machines for free even when actually the test staff is not so "expert" up to trainer level.
有一个实验室用于测试不同的样品，比如从即将发货的货前检查中抽取出的大货样来测试寿命，或者是在批量生产前的工程样做产前批准用。因为所有的测试费用当做运营成本来处理，因此只要报告说“通过”,每个人都很高兴，但是如果仅仅只是“失败”，对于大货样的测试，人们只是说一声“遗憾”，因为客户等不了很长时间的寿命测试，因此货物已经早被决定提前走了，下次也有可能再发生这样的事情，几次之后人们会想“这个质量只能做成这样”。对于工程样而言，因为它们是免费的，人们仅仅只是重新提交样品再次做测试-尽管它们会延长项目的时间，但是实际情况是很难将项目的延期仅仅只归罪于测试的失败 – 因为实际情况是还会有其他的“罪魁祸首”。甚至，一些供应商开始邀请实验室的同事“免费支援”他们新机器的设立-以便实际情况是这些同事并非“培训级别”的专家水平。
Consider if you get test or consulting service from a third party and get charged, it will be totally different result. Since the third party test cost usually is very high, then the samples will be tested pass before being submitted and issues will be quickly solved. In the same logic, the engineering sample test cost is counted in the project total cost, and the shipment samples test cost is added onto the source inspection cost, and then the customers start to focus on the quality of testing and reports, and point out the weakness and errors.
Some other typical cases are if the printing papers in a company are free, then people do not care about the format setting before printing and just click to send to printers – even in some case it could be dual side printing used. If the usage of printing papers are counted into the departmental cost and monitored, then the total usage drops down quickly.
其他一些常见的例子是公司的打印纸常常是免费供应的，没有人在乎那些文档的预览和格式设置，仅仅只是点击打印 – 即使很多时候是可以设置双面打印的。如果这些打印纸的使用计入每个部门费用里并监控的话，很快这些纸张的使用量就下降了。
If you want quality of your products or services be better and make you be more valuable to your customers, meanwhile to turn your team to be more details focused, I suggest you to think about these tips.