The Observer Tools Quality Process

We strive to deliver the best quality tools to each and every customer. Our Quality Process is based on years of experience with some of the most well-known and respected professional brands in the world. The goal of this overview is to give you a peak at what we mean when we say professional-grade quality. This information is typically hidden either because it's a company secret or, worse, because they don't want customers to know how bad their quality really is. We're sharing our 4-Step Quality Process so our customers better understand all the work that has gone into delivering professional-grade tools.

1. Quality Specs & Test Plan

The Quality Specification is built based on the Marketing Specification. What this means is that the quality team looks at all the product’s features and benefits and translates that into the technical characteristics that the product must satisfy.

From this specification, the Qualification Program (or Test Plan) is established. This is the most important quality document for any professional-grade product. In short, it contains the product safety review, list of documents to create/obtain throughout the project, various quality initiatives to be taken, certifications the product must comply with, tests to be performed during the different phases of the project, test instructions, laboratories where testing will be carried out, and number of samples required for each step.         

2. Manufacturing Process Audit (MPA)

All that's been done in Step 1 is to ensure that the samples we receive are compliant, but we need to ensure that all future products will be compliant as well. The MPA is to measure the supplier's manufacturing capability (Cp, Cpk) to deliver over 99% of compliant products now and in the future.  

Prior to the MPA, we may conduct a Supplier Quality Audit (SQA) to check the supplier's quality process (FMEA, root-cause analysis, test protocol, etc.).

3. Testing & Compliance

After the MPA, we move to what we call “first article inspection”, which is the Testing & Compliance step.  In this step, we test the “Safety, Functioning, Performance and Compliance”, complete the test reports, certify the products with the appropriate laboratories and conduct field tests. When everything has met the Quality Specifications, we place the first order. 

At the end of this step, we prepare the continuous quality assurance documents needed for Step 4 – Vendor Control Report (VCR) to be completed before shipment, Incoming Quality Control (IQC) to be completed upon receipt of goods and for certain projects, a Supplier Quality Contract (SQC).

4. Continuous Quality Assurance

The first batch of products are inspected by the supplier according to the VCR and once we’ve reviewed the completed VCR and three “golden samples”, we release the delivery to be shipped to us. When we receive the first batch, we inspect the shipment based on the IQC and golden samples and if products are out of compliance, the supplier must provide a corrective action plan and then test and implement any required changes.  In some cases, we also have a Supplier Quality Contract (SQC), that summarizes the completed tests and the supplier agrees to maintain the same level of resistance, performance and safety on these products. 

The products are then audited after 6 and then 12 months to review the after-sales returns, any customer claims/feedback and ensure all corrective actions are tested and implemented.

“Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.” -- Henry Ford