One of your products does not behave as intended and you need to do something about it. The product failure analysis service is well suited for you.
Our team will gather information and then conduct a structured investigation. We produce a report that takes you step-by-step through a logical and time-tested approach. We can do reviews of electrical and/or mechanical products in our testing lab. We can review samples in either China or India.
If you want to go to the end of that approach, we work with you to ‘close the loop’, meaning until countermeasures have been put in place, validated through testing, and shown to be effective over time.
Example of when a product failure analysis would be appropriate
- Some reviews indicate that the product stopped working way too early. You get some disparate information about the way it was used. You need to understand what happens, so you can learn and prevent that issue in the next version.
- A toy sometimes falls and small parts break. You got complaints from users. A baby might ingest one of the small parts and choke. You need to evaluate the risk of small parts breaking, before making a decision on whether to trigger a recall.
- Early user testing of prototypes led to embarrassing failures. You need help to replicate how those prototypes were used (through testing) and an analysis of what actually happened (the “physics of failure”).
Any company that needs to understand why its product does not function/react as expected, and wants to know how to minimize that risk (or, if possible, prevent that occurrence completely) in the future.
If a product is already on the market and some reliability/durability failures are a cause for concern (they may lead to many complaints, and/or they might lead to economic loss or to an unsafe situation), a careful analysis needs to be conducted.
It can also be used during a new product development after some prototypes are tested and exhibit a failure. When the cause is not simple and straightforward, following a structure analysis such as FRACAS is quite helpful.
We follow the “FRACAS” (Failure Reporting, Analysis, and Corrective Action Systems) approach, which was described in Standard MIL-STD 785b (“Reliability Program for Systems and Equipment Development and Production”) published by the US Department of Defense on 15 Sept. 1980.
Our analysis is organized into 7 sections:
- Gather information, including reviews of samples
- Document any information about the failure
- First analysis
- Deeper analysis (sometimes involves testing for reliability or safety)
- Containment, if needed
- Corrective action plan
- Corrective action implementation & follow up
The short answer is, yes if they have the capability for it and if the issue is not likely to have large commercial implications. However, many suppliers in China, India, or Vietnam, are ill-equipped or sometimes even unwilling to conduct a detailed analysis and document it.
Consider the following:
- Do they have engineers with the right experience for such an analysis? Will you even be in direct contact with their quality manager or their R&D manager? If it all goes through the filter or a salesperson, a lot will be “lost in translation”.
- Do they have a commercial interest in getting to a convenient conclusion? If, for example, they designed the product and the failure is indicative of a design issue, you might request compensation, and you might give them a lot of extra work (adjusting and re-validating the design). They might withhold crucial information or even fabricate false data.
If not, work with an outside party like Sofeast.
Sofeast takes great care in following a highly structured approach based on a template we have developed over the years.
For example, we don’t come out with simplistic explanations for what happened. We decompose the issue into an ‘Error’ which may lead to a “Failure” which may lead to a “Hazardous situation” which may lead to “Harm” or “Economic loss”. The “how it failed” needs to be understood as fully as possible, and that theory needs to be supported by facts and/or validated through testing.
Your dedicated project manager will be your focal point for communication and will feed back all information from our product engineers undertaking the analysis (and testing).
All dialogue and written materials are in English and the reports and plans provided are yours to keep.
What does it cost?
Product failure analysis review and analysis work charged at US$45 per hour. Any product testing required will be charged separately and you will be informed about that per project so you can OK it.