When you hire a third-party inspection company to go to your factory for a pre-shipment inspection, your inspection is always guided by a QC checklist.
Sometimes importers think that they can rely solely on the service provider to develop their checklist — but this is a mistake. As the brand owner, you understand your products better than anyone and can get the best results by working collaboratively with your service provider to develop it.
An inspection checklist is made up of different sections, like packaging and labeling, visual inspection, and — as we will discuss today — functional testing. Functional testing is important because it helps to simulate the actual use of your product.
By including functional testing on your QC checklist, you can help ensure that your product works as intended, so you can minimize returns and avoid negative product reviews.
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What is Functional Testing and Why is it Needed?
Functional testing means testing a product’s typical use or function. This can involve physically using or manipulating it to verify that it conforms to your performance and material requirements.
For example, this might mean turning on an electronic device and pressing buttons to verify that they work. Or, if your product has attachable accessories, it could mean attaching them and then seeing if they stay attached.
Functional testing is important because it gives you a preview of the experience your consumer will have when they use the product. If their experience doesn’t match their expectations, they’ll be more likely to give you a poor review or to return the product. So functional testing is an important part of the inspection checklist. (See: Quality Inspection Checklists: How to Create Them)
What are some examples of functional testing?
Here are 5 Examples of Functional Testing
Let’s take a look at some different products and the functional tests that might be appropriate for them:
- Travel Tumbler: Pour boiling water into the tumbler and let it sit to ensure coating adherence.
- Headphones: Plug the headphones into a mobile device. Press the Play and Volume buttons to verify that the phone responds.
- Cordless Electric Mop: Turn the mop on and off to check responsiveness. Test the spraying and waxing functions.
- Cushion: Press down on the cushion to verify firmness. Pull the zipper to ensure that it moves smoothly.
- No-Tie Shoelaces: Push the ends of the shoelaces through the eyelets on a shoe. Verify that they fit snugly and stay in place.
What do these tests all have in common? They simulate the actual use of a product by the consumer. So how do you determine which functional tests should go on your checklist?
How to Choose the Right Functional Tests for Your Checklist
When putting together your inspection checklist, think about how the product will be used and what type of experience the consumer is expecting to have.
Imagine yourself in the consumer’s shoes and pull your product out of the box. What do you do with it? How are you going to use it on a regular basis? Think about similar products that you’ve used before — products that perhaps you weren’t thrilled with. What problems did you have?
With these questions in mind, you can come up with ideas for functional testing. Remember that your checklist is a living document that can be modified over time as issues arise and as you learn more about the consumer experience.
Also, remember that developing a QC checklist is important when you’re preparing for product inspections. If you’d like to learn more about how to prepare for a quality inspection, download the guide below.
Free Guide: How to Prepare for an Inspection
Are you thinking of hiring a third-party inspection company? If so, you need to be properly prepared. No one knows your product better than you do. So, make sure you give your service provider the information they need to ensure that your inspections are a success.
Download this free guide to successfully preparing for your product inspections.