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Inside the Reliability Lab: Ensuring durability

The test is real inside Amway’s Reliability Lab. Designed to put products through extreme situations, the Reliability Lab pulls no punches with temperature changes, pressure, drop tests and shaking.

“Quality is how the product works the first time, and reliability is quality over time,” says Cathy Majestic, manager, Amway Reliability Services Center (RSC). “We break things for a living because failure is the best predictor of reliability.”

Reliability engineers conduct tests to prove what Majestic calls “the three Ps”: protection, prediction and partnership. “We deal with electromechanical parts, electrical boards, plastic parts and other components that determine reliability. We engage early in product development, to ensure greater reliability longer and through every revision.”

The reliability team uses high-tech, custom equipment to test durables, from cookware to complex electromagnetic systems like eSpring water treatment systems and Atmosphere air purifiers. “Premium products carry especially high performance claims,” adds Majestic. “Our testing helps validate those claims to ensure the best customer experience.”

Predicting reliability is a science. “Through statistical analysis, we predict future failure rates based on few failures early,” continues Majestic. “We repeatedly break, fix and retest until a product can’t be broken.”

Many reliability tests happen in the “Room of Doom,” where products endure extremes. “We test potentially stressful environmental scenarios in our lab. We even put boxes through their paces with shake, drop and compression tests, to ensure inner and outer protection. Products can’t travel the world to arrive damaged or broken.”

Supplier partnerships are key, too. The lab tests monthly samples, to monitor global supply chain integrity.

“Our expectations are higher than traditional manufacturers because we’re linked directly with end users – there’s no buffer like a retail store,” says Majestic. “It gives Amway the advantage of immediate feedback, to address problems quicker and more effectively.”