Thursday, September 17, 2015

Understanding Test Types: What kind do you need?

by Dale Arter

Competitive price points and quality materials aren't enough to achieve product superiority in the marketplace. Today's consumers expect products that perform as promised, right out of the box and throughout the product's life cycle.  This makes it easy to see why product (or performance) testing is one of the most important types of research a company will conduct.
Not only do consumers have high expectations, but consumer trends are often changing, which is just one reason why ongoing performance testing should be considered as part of an important marketing and placement strategy for any manufacturer.

Performance testing is the best way to give your product that competitive edge. Manufacturers use a third party agency for performance testing to ensure objectivity and provide evidence of their claims and code compliance from an impartial, expert source.

When researching product testing, you will find that there are several types of testing to choose from. But - how do you know which type of testing you need? Exploratory? Assessment? Validation? Certification? Comparison? Start by asking yourself: what is the purpose for testing your product? Do you need to determine code compliance? Are you looking to gain an edge over a competitor? Do you need to find ways to reduce costs? Are you looking to improve product performance? Once you have figured out what your testing goal is, you are half way there!

Below is a list of four basic types of product, or performance, testing that are used to evaluate products.

Comparative

Comparative testing compares your product to another, either a competitor — to highlight your products advantages — or against a previous version of your product to ensure your product is changing for the better.

Benchmark

Benchmark testing tests your product initially, as a ‘benchmark’ of where it started. Other tests performed at a later date are then compared to track the products’ changes and improvements.

Quality Assurance

QA testing performs tests on small lots during production runs to ensure your product continues to meet specific codes or standards. Often part of a Quality Assurance Program, this continuous testing provides reassurance that your product maintains its level of quality and/or code compliance.

Prototype

Prototype testing evaluates an innovative product to see if it will perform as expected. This allows time for various issues to be ‘designed out’ of the product, ensuring fewer returns and more satisfied customers.

NTA is a third party provider of independent product and material performance testing, and we offer the specific technology, IAS accredited testing programs, extensive experience and detailed analysis of the results you need to give your product credibility with both consumers and regulatory agencies. Contact us for more information on product performance testing.

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