When it comes to establishing quality control in product design, one of the oldest and most common resources is the ISO 9000. The International Organization for Standardization 9000 is a family of criteria designed to help 160 countries develop basic, universal benchmarks for quality, safety, and efficiency in manufacturing. By establishing these principles, inventors and manufacturers can improve the end-user experience and reduce the risk of expensive recalls, while ensuring they create better overall products at the start. Following these ideals is a simple way to maximize quality control in product design right from the start of a project.
Principles of ISO 9000 Quality Control in Product Design
The ISO dates back to the late 1940s when a group of delegates met in London to discuss a growing problem—different quality standards for hundreds of countries and companies, with many redundant policies. However, it wouldn’t be until 1987 that they produced their first quality management protocols with the 9000 family. These included seven principles that are applicable in the product design process.
- Customer focus
- Effective decisions
- Relationship management
#1: Customer focus
Customer focus is about understanding the needs of the market and seeking out problems to solve. In product development, it’s about considering how the customer will use the item, if it will be practical for their needs and expectations, and if it will provide value which justifies its cost.
This principle is about establishing a mindset where all parties involved in a project align towards one singular purpose. In product design, it’s about having one individual guide the concept while others consider ways to achieve that vision.
Any individuals involved in the creating of the concept must understand their role and enthusiastically embrace it to ensure success. When a product design plan is strong, it’s easy to get individuals excited about it.
A big part of product design is the creation of a process that makes mass production a possibility. This also includes tooling needed to establish a manufacturing program.
The desired result is a streamlined, efficient series of steps that anyone can follow to create the item.
No design will ever be 100% flawless, but it’s important to seek out ways to better it. This is done by treating improvement as an ongoing cycle of designing, testing, and evaluating products.
#6: Evidence-based decision making
There may be many ways to go to improve a product, but this part of the process ensures usage of the best possible methods to enhance the design, the customer experience, and the manufacturing process.
#7: Relationship management
It’s important to cultivate connections with engineers, raw material providers, retailers, and other manufacturing partners to maintain quality through all parts of product design and creation.
Using a Partner’s Existing Standards in Quality Control
When partnering with someone to create a product, entrepreneurs need to seek out companies that have their own quality standards in place. Firms that follow Lean, continuous process improvement, or Six Sigma all use agile methods of product development where a product design is a cyclical process. It’s created, tested, designed, and redesigned in perpetuity. These processes are enhancements to ISO standards that take product design above and beyond.
By partnering with a firm with its own quality standards in place, entrepreneurs can ensure they’re creating products that meet stringent, standardized guidelines that are easy to follow and can work in every other part of their business. They also gain the benefits of using that company’s connections with suppliers for obtaining high-quality raw materials and establishing manufacturing processes when the product is ready for the mass market.
Strong quality control in product design sets a project up for success by creating the blueprint that will guide all future production. By using the ISO 9000 family to guide those quality principles, entrepreneurs already have a standardized program in place. Working with a partner who follows Lean principles and other continuous process improvement programs can all but guarantee the creation of a high-quality project that will provide the best possible customer experience.
PRL’s engineers have dozens of manufacturing options available to help you solve any challenge facing your product: CNC machining, custom tooling, 3D printing, thermoplastic molding, reverse engineering, and more. No matter what stage your product is currently at, we can create it and optimize it for manufacturing.