What is Quality Assurance & Why It Means You Never Have to Worry
Merriam-Webster defines quality assurance as “a program for the systematic monitoring and evaluation of the various aspects of a project, service, or facility to ensure that standards of quality are being met.”
That’s a whole lot of nice-sounding words but at the end of the day what does Quality Assurance mean for a pet owner wandering through a retail store looking for a new collar and leash set?
In the case of Coastal Pet’s products and brands, it means everything comes with a 60-day guarantee – specifically because of the company’s strict Quality Assurance procedures.
It means that leashes and snaps won’t break at the tightest tug from your dog. It means that brightly colored collars won’t bleed into your pup’s fur and harnesses won’t fade after a week of your dog hanging outside on sunny days.
We reached out to Dianna Cornett, Quality Assurance Testing Coordinator at Coastal Pet, to find out more about what Quality Assurance is, how Coastal Pet approaches it, and why it means you’ll never have to worry about being disappointed in any Coastal Pet product you buy.
Q. What does quality control actually mean?
A. We are controlling the Quality of our product so that they meet or exceed Coastal’s standard of 7x the recommended weight of the pet.
For example, if a pet should weigh 15 pounds, a 3/8”-wide piece of webbing [an insider term for fabric] used for a product must pass a tensile (strength) test of no less than 105 pounds. Or for a dog that should weigh 50 pounds, a 3/4”-wide piece of webbing must pass a tensile test of no less than 350 pounds.
A real-world scenario for why such a requirement would be a dog pulling against its leash. A leash designed to be used on a dog that weighs 15 pounds should also hold up if it’s used on a dog that weighs 100 pounds. Dogs have a pulling strength that is higher than their weight.
Q. Why is quality important to Coastal Pet?
A. Our mission is to design and deliver quality products you can trust for the pets you love.
Q. What do you do as a quality control expert at Coastal Pet?
A. As the Quality Assurance Testing Coordinator, I ensure the following tests are done for all incoming POs (purchase orders): Tensile (strength); Salt Spray (corrosion); UV (fading due to sunlight); Static Wet (color transfer); and Crock Testing (color transfer from rubbing). We also do Visual Inspections (correct hardware assembly and packaging) on Finished Goods.
Q. What is a typical quality control test for fabric, polyester, or nylon products (like a dog collar, harness or leash)?
A. For fabric, polyester, and nylon products, we’ll do a UV test to see how the material fades when exposed to sunlight; a Static Wet test to see if the coloring transfers when the material gets wet; and a Crock Test to see if the color transfers if the material is rubbed, like a collar rubbing against a dog’s neck. We’ll also do a visual inspection to ensure that products have the correct hardware assembly and that the packaging is correct.
Leather endures the same tests as our polyester and nylon, as well.
Q. What is a typical week like for you as the quality assurance testing coordinator?
A. The best part of my job is I don’t have a typical week. I have days where I do nothing but test all day and then I have days where there is nothing to test. The most important part of my job is to keep all the testing equipment running and to get the test results sent out ASAP in order to keep manufacturing working. When manufacturing is forced to slow down, our customers don’t get the products they ordered in a timely fashion!
Containers arrive at Coastal daily at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., and noon. What’s in the containers determines what’s next for me. All hardware is tensile tested, which must be completed within eight hours of receiving it. It’s also tested for corrosion, which requires a 20-hour salt spray test.
If the container has finished goods, they are visually inspected to ensure everything is correct before being moved along.
Samples of all webbing (fabric) that arrives undergoes a Q-sun test for four days at 20 hours each day and a Static Wet test of 13 hours, to ensure products made from that material don’t fade or transfer color.
In the case of consumer complaints, we ask that the customer return the product. I then work with the Product Development team and together we determine if there was an issue with the product or if the product was not used as intended.
Q. Are only new products quality controlled or do existing products occasionally get sent for quality testing?
A. We only send new products out to have third-party testing if it is a vendor requirement. Our existing hardware is tested and inspected on all new product orders as they arrive. The hardware is put on hold until it passes testing. After confirmation that the hardware passed, only then is it taken to the manufacturing floor to be used on products.
Q. Is Coastal Products’ robust quality control process the reason the company is able to offer one of the best performance guarantees in the industry?
A. Yes! We hold our vendors to the 7x the weight of the pet criteria, while others only require 5x the weight of the pet. Of course, all of our testing contributes to our guarantee but we emphasize Tensile testing because the salt spray, UV and Static Wet tests don’t protect pets from getting hurt. But if an item fails tensile testing, pets can get seriously injured, get loose and hit by a car, or even bite someone.