Quality control is one department that no one wants to think about, but it should be on everyone's mind if you run a small business or provide a product to the populous. Whether you're starting a new product line or have an existing one already, why should you always test your products?
Product safety should be the first thing on your mind when you're marketing a new product. Are there parts of your product that could be removed or present a choking hazard for young children? Are there any parts of your product that could potentially be hazardous if used incorrectly?
Product safety isn't just important for your customers — it's important for you, too. A product that breaks and injures a customer could trigger costly recalls and even more expensive lawsuits, especially if it can be proven you've marketed a product that is unsafe or hasn't been sufficiently tested.
Before you start marketing a new product, it is important to know how long it will last and where it is likely to break down. There are two acronyms you'll want to remember here: HASS and HALT.
HALT stands for highly accelerated life testing. This style of testing puts your product through the kind of use it would get in a customer's hand, only at an accelerated pace. The idea is to find out when the product is going to fail, and how you can prevent that failure. Remember those silly commercials for the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 where it was repeatedly sat on by a robotic butt? That's HALT testing in action.
HASS, on the other hand, stands for highly accelerated stress screening. It is similar to HALT testing, but instead of testing the finished product, it is designed to find flaws and problems in the production process. It can find small problems that even HALT testing or other quality control tests might not detect once the product is assembled and ready for sale.
While testing your product is important, safety and lifespan testing aren't the only things you need to think about. Viability testing is also important — it determines whether your product is needed in the current marketplace.
Start with a small-scale marketing test to obtain customer feedback and get an idea of what kind of audience you have for your new product. If the product flops in this first testing phase, you don't need to spend more money continuing with the product line. If it takes off, you know you have the audience you'll need to support a new product, so you can feel confident in your decision to continue with the line.
Viability testing can save you a lot of money. You won't end up investing in something that won't sell, so you can save those funds for something that will.
Product testing, whether you're testing for safety, lifespan, viability or something else, should be on your mind from a product's inception until it ends up in your customer's hands. Even if you're spending money on testing, the process will save you money in the long run — by preventing failed projects and keeping unsafe products from making their way into your customers' homes.
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