Your Golden Sample: Follow This Golden Rule For Successful Manufacturing
The Golden Rule for Mass Production: Never Manufacture without a Golden Sample.
Well, that’s certainly easy enough to remember, but what exactly is this lofty-sounding manufacturing term? The “golden sample” is just what its name implies.
The golden sample is the perfected product, the first sample which will provide the template or “gold standard” against which all future mass-produced versions will be measured for quality control. In the product lifecycle, the golden sample is arguably the most important piece of the manufacturing process. It ensures that the manufacturer can supply what the customer has ordered reliably and consistently.
The golden sample is the culmination of all of the previous stages of product development, from the original idea, to design, to working prototypes and final product approval by you, the customer. While it may take a series of attempts and revisions to achieve the golden sample, time and expense invested here can avoid catastrophic downstream failure later on when the mass manufacturing process commences.
Once the golden sample has been approved, any flaw in it will be replicated in volume, so intense scrutiny and the highest quality standards need to be applied. Since the golden sample will be used as the measuring stick to evaluate the quality of all the products to follow, any poor quality here can be exacerbated by the inevitable manufacturing “tolerances”, or minor deviations from the golden sample, that occur in mass production processes.
The golden sample is the epitome of the best practice of “getting it right the first time.” Once you’re sure that you have it right, it’s time to ensure that your manufacturer can replicate that success reliably. You may have your perfect prototype in hand but you don’t have a golden sample yet. Only the manufacturer can produce that.
The Golden Sample and Your Manufacturing Partner
In the “idea” phase of your product’s life-cycle, you had a vision of your ideal product and the scope of its impact on the consumers who will use it. You have specific expectations concerning the ergonomic appeal, physical appearance, marketability, and other characteristics which guided the design and development of the working prototypes. After “debugging”, revising, and perfecting the prototype you can set the bar for your manufacturer.
The true definition of the golden sample is the first ideal batch produced by the manufacturer. When your manufacturing partner can produce the product which meets your exacting standards you can feel confident that all parties involved are on the same page. This also gives you the opportunity to review the quality capabilities of your manufacturer. That’s vital information you’ll need when it comes to negotiating the target price for your production run.
It’s not the time for compromise, as this manufactured golden sample will be the quality control reference for all production runs to follow. It is the time to iron out product details and establish permissible tolerances. Once the golden sample has been approved both customer and manufacturer can stay in harmony with future pre-shipment product quality reviews based on that established agreed upon standard.
Omitting the Golden Sample is Asking For Trouble
Imagine a shipping container full of the first batch of the new product you’ve been counting on is unmarketable because one or more critical details have been overlooked or modified without authorization by the manufacturer. Just imagine being stuck with thousands of American flags with 14 stripes, billfolds that won’t fit in pockets, logos with misspellings and the wrong brand colors, or your elegant leather purse design reduced to a gaudy Naugahyde knock-off.
These are the types of issues you could face if you overlook the importance of the master template, the golden sample. Now you’re stuck with a shipment of expensive scrap as well as a very complex legal problem.
These simple examples illustrate the need for the golden sample for even the simplest products, but none benefit from the golden sample more than complex products such as new IoT applications and innovative smart devices. The marketability of innovative products relies on performance claims and the golden sample is insurance that your manufacturer has the ability to produce that performance.
This is especially true if you’re using a manufacturer in China. While China’s quality control has shown a steady improvement over the years, many importers still think of the region as “the Wild West” of manufacturing. The golden sample can’t resolve every manufacturing issue when you’re ordering products sight unseen from overseas, but it is the most effective tool you have to prevent quality issues.
That said you’ll still need to conduct your due diligence on any manufacturing partner before you buy. As a China-based industry-leader in technology NOA Labs is uniquely positioned to help you navigate through the manufacturing and product development challenges you will face.
Given a free hand, with no golden sample template provided beforehand, a manufacturer may feel free to make substitutions in parts and take liberties with lower quality materials which bring his production costs down while producing enormous volumes which are from the product you have in mind. The golden sample, or master sample, avoids any misunderstandings which can occur later between you and your manufacturer. It helps prevent “fade”, the all too common drop in manufacturing quality that can occur over time when a customer assumes that good past performance on the initial production run guarantees future performance by the manufacturer.
Nothing can torpedo an otherwise vigorous startup faster than this type of mass production disaster. Even the simplest mass-produced products benefit from the golden sample process if only to verify physical dimensions, material quality, and color. With more complex products, for which you have made certain claims concerning function and performance, the golden sample is even more vital.
Golden Sample Handling
The golden samples will be the subject of pre-shipping inspections, quality control evaluation, and the basis for third-party testing. It’s important to keep a record of the golden samples used for these purposes and to use best business practices for their distribution to prevent tampering.
Authorized golden samples should be signed, dated, and sealed, especially when the manufacturer has provided a series of samples for your review and approval. If you’re using testing and inspection by third-parties they should be briefed on your company’s standard procedures for secure handling and distribution of your authorized golden samples.
About NOA Labs
NOA Labs is a German-owned company located in Shenzhen, China, the new Silicon Valley of the tech world. We are uniquely qualified to provide the turnkey solution for navigating the life-cycle of your new product from your original idea all the way through to sales and distribution including:
Your product idea and market analysis
Physical product graphics, app, web, and cloud-based design
Mechanical engineering and electronic/app development
Mockups and Working Prototypes
Crowdfunding plans and execution
Mass production including tooling, testing, and quality control
Online sales and setup for the global market
Fulfillment- Individual product and batch shipping and tracking to your customers and distributor
At NOA we’ve been helping startups and entrepreneurs from the US, Canada, and Europe for over 5 years now. We have a team of 50 bright young engineers and experts standing by to assist you with hardware product development, crowdfunding for new innovations, and of course mass-production and manufacturing. When you’re ready to convert your innovative ideas to profitable reality we’re ready to put our expertise to work for you today, so don’t hesitate to contact us.