Why Product Design Shouldn't Disregard Reliability Testing

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Why Product Design Shouldn't Disregard Reliability Testing

Tue, 03/05/2019 - 17:09
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Product designers create objects meant for use by the public or businesses, such as phones, cars and cookware. Reliability testing is also useful for testing software to make sure it isn't prone to crashes. Of course, there are thousands of different gadgets in the category of product design. Although the way a product looks is meaningful, even more critical is how functional that item is. If you create a product and it doesn't fulfill its promises, you'll have a lot of unhappy customers.

Industrial design is a $3 billion industry, including product design, model fabrication and other industrial design services. There is massive competition in the industry, so if your product design lacks quality, you risk losing customers to a competitor.

Reliability testing and product design are two sides of the same coin. Without testing and refinement, your product may be worthless to the consumer. Here are the reasons you should never disregard thoroughly testing your product.

1. Gain a Good Reputation

Think about a brand that is known for high quality, such as a particular clothing line. You know if you buy a shirt or pair of pants from a specific brand, those items will last a long time and not have any frayed material, holes or loose threads. Such a brand developed an excellent reputation over time because they remained reliable.

Most companies create more than one product or type of software, so reliability testing to ensure those products are of the highest quality possible preserves your hard-earned reputation for excellence. There are different models for testing, but set a goal to test a certain number or percentage of products out of every so many produced to the point of failure. Doing so will help you determine the life expectancy for each piece.

Once you've set specific quality control measures, testing is a vital part of ensuring you meet those self-imposed requirements. An analysis is also beneficial in creating guarantees and warranties on products.

2. Benefit From Word-of-Mouth Advertising

When your products last and exceed users' expectations, they're much more likely to tell others why they love your brand. Around 85 percent of consumers in the United States trust an online recommendation as much as one from a close friend or family. Gaining word-of-mouth advertising is one of the most powerful marketing tools, but it isn't something you have direct control over. You must create a fantastic product and build relationships with your customers for them to tell others about you.

Thoroughly test your products not just because you want to meet quality control, but so people realize their value. Once you have a strong base of customers who order from you over and over, reach out and ask them to share what they like about your brand on social media or ask for a testimonial for your website.

You could even highlight how well your products work by creating a few videos showing the customer using the product while talking about what they love about it.

3. Predict the Future

Take the time to analyze reliability with a failure rate model, and calculate the "bathtub curve" into the equation. Reliability prediction software automates the computation of a product's life-cycle. Using modern tools to figure out the longevity of a product design saves companies time and money.

Another advantage is the ability to make minor alterations to the design and figure out how feasible the change is and whether it improves or harms the overall structure of the product. You can also compare different alternatives and choose the option that is the most reliable.

For products already created, but which need improvement, test different adjustments and models to find the one that works best. Figure out ways of accomplishing changes with the least cost possible by trying different materials and manufacturing methods.

4. Protect People

In some cases, predicting the viability of your products protects those for whom you're creating products. For example, if you make toys for younger children, you might want to test and make sure no parts are detachable. That is just one example. There are many different ways testing products protects consumers.

Not only does reliability testing protect your customers, but it also protects your company from an expensive recall situation and potential lawsuits.

5. Improve Your Products

Reliability testing also offers an opportunity toward the improvement of your products. Over time, processes and materials change, and your product may be lower quality than when you first released it. As your customer base grows, you may outsource some of your manufacturing or use a new facility. Even the production machines you use can create quality issues.

Reliability testing shouldn't be a one-time event, but something your company repeats over and over throughout the life-cycle of a product. When you notice a weakness, look at ways of improving the product or the manufacturing process. If any materials are lower quality, find a better replacement that holds up longer. If something about the design causes the product to fail after a few uses, rework and test it until you find a solution that makes it more durable.

6. Work Better With Teams

When you're creating a new product, you often work with a team of people who all contribute suggestions. Some of these things will work, and some won't. With reliability testing, you can run suggestions through a model and see if it improves the product design or not.

If you're designing for a client, this type of testing is beneficial when they want something that won't work in the real-world production of the item. Showing them data and facts about why the changes cause product failure takes the pressure off you and backs up your suggestions for other alternatives. You can also explain how your other suggestions work best in the long run.


Test Everything

Reliability testing applies to nearly every type of product you can imagine — from an electric toothbrush to new software solutions. Take the time to test, and your product will stand out from competing products. You'll gain loyal fans who appreciate your attention to detail and come to trust your products to do what you promise.