Releasing a product is an exciting time for any company. However, it’s important not to get swept up in the excitement and overlook more mundane but pressing aspects of production. Regardless of what kind of product you’re making, thorough testing is essential.
Testing slows lead times and introduces extra costs, but speeding through it will cost more in the long run. To help understand why, here are nine reasons why product testing is essential for any business.
1. Customer Loyalty
Without testing, you can’t guarantee that every product does what you tell customers it does. Some defects may not be noticeable until customers use it, at which point it’s too late. If your customers receive a faulty or poor-quality product, it’s unlikely they’ll remain loyal to your brand.
It’s also worth noting that loyalty as a whole is hard to build. Most consumers say they love fewer than three brands and 40% cite product or service quality as essential to loving a company.
2. Consumer Safety
Catching defects before they get into consumers’ hands is about more than profits. In some cases, it can also endanger your customers. Some products — like medical devices or power tools — can quickly become dangerous if they don’t work how they’re supposed to.
Your products don’t have to be inherently risky for production mistakes to injure users, either. Exposed wires pose electric shock hazards in otherwise harmless devices, for example. People’s safety aside, failing to test for these kinds or risks can expose your company to costly legal proceedings.
3. Regulatory Compliance
Relatedly, product testing is an essential part of regulatory compliance in many industries. Food and beverage businesses, drug manufacturers, automakers and consumer electronics companies are just a few of the sectors where some testing is a legal requirement. Even if your production process consistently achieves high standards, it’s not enough to avoid fines without testing.
In some cases, lack of testing doesn’t become an issue until a customer experiences a problem with the product. You may not necessarily be required by law to test it, but if the issue was damaging and unreasonable enough, the court could decide you’re at fault for not preventing it.
4. Cost Efficiency
On a less severe but still important note, thorough testing can reduce your ongoing expenses. While quality inspection workflows cost money, they prevent losses from lost business, product returns and regulatory fines that may come with defects.
By contrast, high-quality products can improve your company’s reputation and increase sales. The only way to ensure you achieve that level of quality is to test your output. Doing so doesn’t have to be an expensive process, either. Non-destructive testing methods reduce downtime and material waste to enable quality assurance at a lower cost.
5. Process Optimization
A reliable testing process helps your business embrace ongoing improvements. Each time you discover a defect, it’s not just a chance to keep a faulty product from reaching consumers. It’s also an opportunity to learn where your manufacturing workflow falls short.
Tracking defects lets you see what kinds of mistakes are most common in your production process. That insight, in turn, reveals where these errors come from so you know what to change to prevent them in the future. You can then adjust your workflow as necessary to minimize waste and improve quality standards.
Testing can also reveal helpful insights about the product itself, not just the process that creates it. The more you try out your creation before its launch, the more you’ll learn about it. You may discover qualities that set it apart from the competition you didn’t intend but can capitalize on nonetheless.
If your product holds up under much more extreme conditions than it needs to, use that in your marketing. If it lasts far longer under use than the industry average, tell customers about it.
7. Maintaining Brand Image
If you already have products on the market, testing current and new models is crucial to maintaining a consistent image. Many customers will pay more for brands they trust, and you can build that trust by ensuring a uniform level of quality. Without thorough testing, you can’t be sure each product lives up to those standards, making establishing or maintaining that trust difficult.
If people expect high-quality products from your company, a defective or poor-performing one will be all the more disappointing. By contrast, having a diverse lineup that all meet higher standards — thanks to rigorous testing — customers will appreciate the consistency and likely buy from you again.
8. Optimizing Product Launches
Many of these testing benefits apply to quality assurance during the manufacturing phase. However, these checks are also important before bringing a product to market. Prototype testing lets you know when something’s ready for release and when it needs more work.
Pre-release testing is helpful outside of fixing design defects, too. It can also help you realize unintended positive sides to your product you may want to lean into further in new designs. In either case, testing enables you to release the best possible version at the right time.
9. Recall Prevention
Finally, product testing is essential as a way to prevent recalls. Depending on the kind of item you release and how significant the problem is, some consistent defects may warrant recalls. While the recall process protects consumers and helps you fix existing issues, it’s expensive and damaging.
Companies have lost billions of dollars to recalls, thanks to refunds and repair expenses. That doesn’t include missed potential sales as people lose trust in your brand, either. If your company is public, recalls will also likely impact your stock value. You can prevent all this through extensive testing, as you’ll catch defects before they affect consumers.
Product Testing Is a Must for Any Business
Regardless of what kind of product you make, you must test it before selling it. That includes early trials in the design and development phase and quality assurance checks during full-scale manufacturing.
Failing to test your product thoroughly will cost much more than you’d save by shortening your lead times. In contrast, rigorous testing can set you apart from less careful competition and earn you a loyal customer base.