Not all testing is created equal. We have all seen the results of poorly performed tests – not only do they result in a waste of money, but also a waste of time – and when testing is delaying a product to market, the costs can be huge. Even with that in mind, it can sometimes be difficult to justify using an outside lab for testing. Today we offer the top six reasons to use an outside lab versus building capabilities in house.
ISO Certification Credentials
With any testing or analysis that is done on any product, if it is performed inside an accredited lab, the results carry a greater level of credibility. As with ISO 9000 certification of production environments, ISO 17025 certification is the verification of lab capabilities and quality management system. This quality control system ensures the accurate and repeat performance for all tests. For a look inside Lectromec’s lab, see here.
Use of labs external by your organization provides the independent verification necessary to get your product noticed in the market. Take for example product specification sheets. Detailed product specification sheets often include a wide range of information. For those that have reviewed hundreds of them, occasionally claims are found that are too good to be true. If this “too good to be true” claim is only verified by the company, then the claim is often received with skepticism. However, if that information is verified by a well-known and respected third-party, then the product specification sheet carries more value with the prospective client.
Knowledge in Testing
Product qualification testing is not something that is needed every day. Many manufacturers will perform performance tests at the initial qualification, and then potentially periodically during requalification. If it is not necessary as part of the quality control process, then the tests, which can be costly, are not performed. For those organizations that do not have constant product testing to the specific test method, the test performance knowledge is progressively lost due to the long duration between testing cycles.
By selecting an outside lab for these tests, you are going to an organization that regularly performs these tests. Since the lab performs these tests for multiple manufacturers, there is a high level of certainty that the test is performed correctly and in alignment with industry expectations. Test data is useless if not gathered correctly.
Avoid Capital Investments
As identified above, if the test is executed infrequently, then the equipment use will also be limited. Lectromec has seen facilities with test equipment idle greater than 99% of the time. Then when the equipment is needed, the equipment needs to be examined, potentially fixed, then calibrated and verified to ensure original performance conformity. Then after this spin up period, the testing can finally be performed.
By going with an outside lab such as Lectromec, you can avoid this capital investment and overall waste of time necessary to keep the equipment up and running.
Avoid Knowledge Loss
The frequency of testing has a significant impact on test performance. Even in Lectromec’s lab where testing is regularly performed, ramp up is necessary for infrequently performed tests. Consider your own organization and some of the product qualification tests; When was the last time that certain tests were performed? Is the person who performed the test still with the organization?
Avoid this issue by getting your tests performed at a lab with staff is regularly cross trained on the equipment and test procedures.
It could be argued that if you have the capital equipment and the available labor, then performing the test internally is a sunk cost. The problem is that by doing the test, your personnel is being diverted from the one thing that makes them the most productive. Furthermore, because Lectromec specializes in this area and has a streamlined process for performance, Lectromec is likely the cheaper option than to perform it internally.
Assessing your Needs
It is unlikely that all six of the reasons presented here apply to your organization’s needs. However, if at least two reasons resonate, contact Lectromec. We will be happy to review your needs and provide you with a quote for your one-time or ongoing test needs.
We look forward to working with you on your next product qualification/assessment.