How to Choose Vendor Partners for Optimal Product Design

Enterprises continually attempt to find the balance between two opposing forces: speed to market and product quality. Customers have little patience for out-of-stocks, late orders, or new product release delays. At the same time, there is no tolerance for defective or faulty products. Furthermore, there always seems to be a competitor that can deliver quality products faster. One way enterprises can solve this dilemma is to turn to vendor partners for help.

Partnering with a vendor that can provide you with pre-built elements of your products can allow you to increase speed to market and quality. For example, manufacturers may partner with contract sub-assembly services or supply other building blocks of their products. Similarly, software companies may use open-source components or partners to provide value-added software to users, so the development team doesn’t have to start from square one on each project.

The strategy is sound – operations have a head-start on delivering products more quickly and ensuring product design quality – if the enterprise chooses the right vendor partner. 

What Is Product Design Quality?

Any company that builds products for customers performs quality assurance/quality control inspections, but that’s only one aspect of quality. Leading companies also optimize product design quality, which evaluates products based on how well they:

  • Addresses customers’ needs
  • Functions as intended
  • Meets compliance and industry standards

Your engineers go to great lengths to optimize product design quality. However, if your business partners with a vendor to provide components of your product, you need to do more than trust the vendor to deliver them as promised. You need the assurance of verification and validation testing, preferably as early as possible in your project to prevent production delays and waste.

  • Verification testing confirms that a product meets specifications.
  • Validation testing confirms that the product meets its intended use.

Why Is Validation and Verification Important Before Building an Embedded System?

The embedded design process requires making key decisions that will impact product quality. Choosing components for your product early in the process is vital to producing a quality product and preventing rework and waste. Building an embedded system first and performing testing on the finished product introduces an unacceptable level of risk. It’s best to ensure that any components you include in technical specifications for the product are accompanied by proof of validation and verification testing from your vendor partner.

Ensure you communicate all requirements for the embedded computing products you plan to manufacture to your vendor partner so they can ensure their testing is tailored to the industry in which your products will be used, specific use cases, and environmental conditions. Your vendor partner should also have expertise in complying with regulations that pertain to your product or industry.

How Can You Select The Right Vendor to Ensure Quality Embedded Systems?

Although you may be convinced that you’ve found the right vendor for embedded computing products, don’t commit until you’ve thoroughly vetted the vendors’ verification and validation testing program. For example, ADLINK rigorously tests our embedded computing products to ensure flawless performance in the field. We are committed to in-depth validation and verification testing as part of our research and development processes to ensure products are “robust, reliable, and ready,” and to keep our commitment to quality, we established five labs:

1 High-speed simulation lab

We use a sophisticated software suite for pre- and post-route layout high-speed signal simulation, ensuring that PCI express, USB, DDR, and more buses will work correctly within the design. The lab allows identifying issues during the design phase before routing PCB traces and manufacturing PCB and board assemblies.

2 High-speed verification lab

This lab, equipped with high-end signal oscilloscopes and BERT, measures and tests board interfaces against specifications using probe/fixture attachments, test procedures, and patterns. This testing confirms the reliable operation of devices meet the requirements of the specifications.

3 Environmental lab

Products undergo tests in four general categories to ensure products can withstand harsh environments and keep performing reliably:

  • Dynamics: shock, vibration and drop
  • Climate: temperature and humidity
  • Electric: power
  • EMC: Emission/Immunity

Advanced testing can also include highly accelerated life test (HALT) within dedicated test chambers.

Test chambers
Highly accelerated life test (HALT) within a test chamber

4 Mechanical lab

The mechanical lab is equipped for airflow and air impedance testing for a system or blade and water ingress for IP rating. It also allows us to measure force measurement for heat sink designs and board warping. The lab is also equipped for color and luminance tests for CMOS imaging devices and LCD screens.

Mechanical shock test
Wind turbine testing

5 RF lab

We use our RF lab to verify the quality and function of wireless communication interfaces. It includes instrumentation to measure 3G/LTE, Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth, and GPS.

Radio frequency (RF) testing

Choose a Partner Committed to Excellence

Your embedded products vendor partner should demonstrate a commitment to the best possible product design quality and continued investment in validation and verification testing equipment, resources and training to keep up with the speed of change of technology.

Additionally, look for a vendor partner that will work with you to ensure product design quality for innovative or custom embedded computing systems.

Contact us to learn more about ADLINK products and our validation and verification testing processes.

Henri Parmentier
Henri Parmentier

Senior manager EPM-Modules Product Center at ADLINK Technology


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