December 6, 2006
Product testing is quality assurance in the context of research and development. This measure is conducted to determine the acceptability, safety and efficacy of products. It is imperative, but unfortunately, the most tedious and expensive part of the whole research and development process. But then again, it is important.
Then why is it very important? To start with, product testing ensures that the product is acceptable to the one who shall use it. It must be generally within the preferences of the target market, otherwise, the product will not sell at all. This early, product and market developer must determine the parameters and criteria that the product must satisfy for it to pass the test.
Another consideration in product testing, especially for products which will provide certain benefits, is efficacy. The product must be able to deliver to its promised benefits. Otherwise, you lose consumer satisfaction, ergo, their loyalty and continued sales. Besides, especially for branded products, a product that can live to its promises establishes strong brand equity in the market.
Safety is another aspect of a product that must be predetermined before deployment in the market. This is especially true for health and wellness products, foods and household products. You do not want to put the user’s life at risk with your products, do you?
Results of the tests are also, to a certain extent, important in filing and getting patents for your invention. Knowing the superiority of your products over the competitors’ places you on a stronger and more stable plane for which you can use as a strong competitive advantage.
Another very important reason why product testing is important is the regulatory consequences of new products. Especially when dealing with regulatory departments of the Government, the results of the tests will be valid enough to receive licenses to operate and sell.
Thus, product testing shall include the following:
- Protocol development. This is a part of the whole product testing where criteria, parameters, and procedures are developed to generate the desired information regarding the products. Luckily, the Internet provides a huge collection of sample protocols for you to use as guidelines. For more technical protocols, government regulatory departments can provide good sources. Other seconday sources of information may include books and magazines. This is also the part when questionnaires are developed.
- Protocol implementation and management. As soon as the protocol is developed, implementation and management are very important in making sure that the data generated are conclusive or provide answers to questions and hypotheses. Several laboratory equipment can help in making the tests more objective. However, equipment should be managed equally as to its operation and calibration.
- Data Evaluation. Statistical analyses are often used to evaluate series of data. It is an important tool to establish relationship among the variables.
- Report Generation. A good report provides a very strong, traceable and credible source of information and can be used as supporting documents for regulatory and other sales and marketing, and product research and development requirements.
What I have written here is just the tip of the iceberg. Luckily, most companies now are relying on third party service providers, especially for tests that would require very expensive laboratory equipment. Government agencies and other private institutions and persons are already existing there to provide you the product tests that you will need.