For a while, Advanced Component Testing (ACT) has been hearing from some of our customers about their paying for component testing only to realize, after the fact, that the testing failed to meet their actual requirements. As one of a handful of trusted test labs for some of the most discerning organizations, recently recertified to ISO 17025, ACT would like to offer you insight into the problem and a few tips on how to avoid finding yourself in this precarious situation.
The Problem: You request a quote for electrical testing and receive one from a test house that appears to meet your specifications. Unfortunately you don’t realize that the testing quoted does not rise to the level of your requirements—and may even have little value as an electrical test, such as inappropriate use of go/no-go results.
The Consequences: Once you realize that the electrical testing was inadequate you will most likely need to resume the process to secure proper testing. Of course, in the meantime you might miss key in-house and customer deadlines. Not to mention the wasted money spent on the subpar testing. But that’s only if you catch it, otherwise the part could end up in a product or system and could cause premature and even catastrophic failure.
Possible Warning Signs:
- Lab neglects to ask for specifics on an RFQ that uses general terms.
- Temptingly low estimate, especially as compared to prices quoted by other labs.
- Quote uses different or vague terminology to describe tests, as compared to the RFQ.
- Footnotes and other fine print that might indicate an inferior level of testing.
How to Avoid Falling Prey
- Submit RFQs with detailed language spelling out testing needs including flow-down requirements, where applicable.
- Ask your lead project engineer or quality manager to review quotes to verify that the testing quoted will actually satisfy all requirements.
The most reputable of test labs—those that deserve your trust—asks questions to ensure that all test requirements are fully and correctly defined before submitting a quote. They may even make suggestions to better ensure that your testing goals and flow-down requirements will be fully met by the proposed testing. They may not always be cheaper in the short term but, in the long run, using such a lab will pay dividends.