What Is a Prevention Cost? (With Importance and Types)

Updated December 12, 2022

Prevention costs are a key component of delivering high-quality products to customers. Although they're an expense, they're an important part of creating a successful product and building a stronger reputation as a company. Learning about effective prevention of cost spending can help you identify necessary areas of expenditure and find cost-effective ways to execute that spending.

In this article, we discuss what a prevention cost is, why prevention costs are important for companies and the different types of prevention costs.

What is a prevention cost?

A prevention cost is any company spending intended to reduce the number of errors in products or services. Prevention costs can range from spending more to increase the quality of raw materials to increasing finances allocated for employee training. When assessing the value of prevention costs, you compare the projected value of improvements against the total prevention costs.

Related: 22 Best Jobs for Projected Growth

Why are prevention costs important?

Prevention costs are an important form of spending at a company. When effectively implemented, the value the spending provides as increased quality and improved reputation with customers outweighs the cost. Some important benefits that prevention costs offer are:

Quality control

The most apparent benefit of effective prevention cost spending is the improvement in the overall quality of the products or services the company provides. Producing higher-quality products can allow you to build a stronger reputation and charge higher rates for products or services. This can generate both increased profit margins and higher sales figures, which may lead to significant financial gains for the company.

Related: What Is Quality Control?

Production efficiency

Improving production quality within the company can also help make the production process more efficient. Higher-quality work and better materials may lead to fewer defects or errors, which reduces the number of instances where staff members need to repeat work. This increased efficiency can result in more production for the spending, leading to increased profit generation, as you have more products to sell for the same production budget.

Related: Production Efficiency Formula: What It Is and Who Uses It

Employee morale

Maintaining high morale within a company is important for several reasons. For instance, happy employees may be more productive. Higher employee morale may also help with employee retention, which is a valuable way to keep standards at the company high.

For many employees, being proud of their work may increase their morale and engagement. When you produce high-quality goods or services, it can create pride in the work, which may allow for continued high performance in the future.

Related: 7 Ways To Boost Employee Morale To Prevent Burnout

Customer satisfaction

Producing high-quality products and services is often an effective way to maintain customer satisfaction. Making high-quality goods provides consumers with confidence because they can trust that the company's products meet expectations. Prevention costs that seek to increase the quality and consistency of the product or services can contribute to a stronger reputation and higher consumer satisfaction levels.

Increased customer satisfaction can help in the following ways:

  • Creating happy customers may help reduce costs for refunds or returns by making them less frequent.

  • A satisfied customer might return to make another purchase, further increasing the profitability they provide to the company.

  • Satisfied customers can refer the product or service to a friend, family member or other associates, helping the company generate more sales.

Related: 7 Tips for How To Ensure and Improve Customer Satisfaction

Long-term savings

Many forms of prevention costs can have long-lasting benefits that extend beyond the initial period of spending. This allows you to see an increasing benefit from the costs, as their value continues to increase even after you've finished paying prevention costs.

For example, a company that invests in new machinery for its production line pays an initial cost but can immediately benefit from producing higher-quality units. This benefit can also extend to many years, amplifying the value the purchase provides to the company.

Related: Cost Avoidance and Cost Savings: What's the Difference?

Types of prevention costs

Prevention costs can take many forms, and the specific costs a company faces can vary based on the industry, the size of the company and its individual needs. Some common types of prevention costs include:

Employee training

Providing employee training is a basic but effective form of prevention cost. Employee training programs include the cost of developing training resources and hiring or assigning staff to run the training programs, along with the time commitment of staff taking part in the training.

The benefits that employee training provides can be substantial. Training might help them be more productive and produce higher-quality work. This may result in fewer defective products because staff might make fewer errors.

Related: 7-Step Guide for Creating an Effective Training Program

Equipment maintenance

The equipment the staff uses throughout the day is integral to providing high-quality goods and services. This can range from the machinery used in production to the technology that staff members use to complete nonproduction tasks, like ensuring outside sales representatives have reliable smartphones to contact customers. Maintaining equipment for staff by replacing outdated or ineffective equipment is an important prevention cost.

Providing staff with machinery and equipment that works well allows them maximum output. This displays itself both in the production levels they can achieve and in the quality of work they can provide. By keeping the equipment functioning at its best, you can raise the overall standards expected from staff members.

Related: How To Optimize Maintenance Repairs and Operations (MRO)

Supply costs

The supplies the company uses during production can be a critical component in determining the quality of its final products or its services. When increasing the quality of raw materials used, the business might pay a higher cost during acquisition to compensate for the increased quality. This can allow it to create high-quality products or perform high-quality work because the supplies staff use may be capable of producing more substantial results.

Protocol development

Creating internal policies and protocols provides staff with guidance and expectations. Performing research and data analysis can help you identify the best option for increasing quality and create new policies accordingly.

The time the staff spends and the financial resources for gathering or purchasing data can represent prevention costs, and developing more effective policies may allow them to generate more value. With improved protocols, employees may produce high-quality work, and the staff can reduce exposure to potential flaws or defects in the products and services.

Related: 16 Examples of Important Workplace Policies

Inspection costs

Performing inspections on the equipment the company uses can cost money but may generate more value when correctly executed. Inspections can help you identify areas of concern that may impact the overall quality of the goods or services that the company provides. By addressing these areas, you may improve the quality of service that the company provides to customers.

Related: 7 Workplace Safety Inspection Checklists

Quality control assessment

From customer satisfaction surveys to direct inspections of products, quality control allows you to gather information on the company's products and services and quality standards. You may also potentially incur prevention costs as lost revenue after using produced units to perform quality control tests. With effective quality control, the benefit of identifying areas for improvement is greater than the prevention cost invested in performing quality control checks.

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