What does "trade-off" means in the following sentence? Please help me! Thank you!
The main idea behind free quality is that the traditional trade-off between the costs of improving quality and the costs of poor quality is erroneous.
Hello Lucia0907

A 'trade-off' is where you trade one thing for another. As a metaphor, it usually means 'compromise'.

In a trade-off, you need 2 sides to the equation: let's call them A and B.

In your sentence, A = the cost of producing goods of better quality. B = the cost of producing goods of poor quality.

'A' could include e.g. extra machinery costs, or more expensive materials. 'B' could include e.g. the cost of repairing defective goods under guarantee, or the damage to one's reputation as a producer.

'Trade-off' in your sentence therefore means 'the process of adjusting the quality of a product so that A counterbalances B'. In other words, instead of e.g. spending money on repairing defective products under guarantee, you spend that money on making the product better, so it doesn't need repairs.

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The two meanings of trade-off are the following: compromise and optimization. I think here it means optimization.
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