The market for high-quality outdoor gear is strong. The industry has grown steadily since 2018 and is expected to grow another 2.1% in 2023 alone. But with opportunity comes competition; brands that want to win need to understand their customers better than anybody else.

According to a recent survey by Deloitte, product quality is the most important factor for consumers when making a purchase. This means that outdoor brands need to raise the bar on product quality if they want to stand out from the crowd.

In this article, we will explore some of the challenges outdoor brands face in maintaining product quality and list some ways to overcome those challenges: 

A Brief History Of Quality Control CTA

Why is maintaining product quality challenging for outdoor brands?

One of the biggest reasons that product quality is a challenge for outdoor brands is due to the wide range of product categories they cover. For example, a retailer such as REI can sell everything from clothing to camping equipment and even bicycle parts. 

Outdoor brands find it challenging to locate manufacturing partners who have experience with such a wide range of product types. Also, the increasing pressure to meet sustainability goals has further narrowed the pool of viable manufacturing partners.

How can brands overcome these challenges?

Here are some of the ways you and your quality control team can work together to improve product quality:

Speed up the industrialization process of each produced piece

  • Technical control, sample validation
Get additional help during peak season
  • Dedicated technicians with outdoor experience working exclusively for the brand for a determined period
Qualify your suppliers & evaluate their performances
  • Technical audits
  • Social audits
  • Environmental audits

supplier factory audit

Test your products performance, functionality and safety
  • Aging, durability, coated fabric resistance, UV protection, water repellency / waterproof
  • Color migration, breathability, feather & down thermal properties
  • Any tailor made tests to confirm a particular functionality or for a new technology
  • Ensure safety throughout production stages, including development
Monitor closely your production quality
  • Fabric & raw materials inspection
  • Special final inspection
Evaluate and improve the environmental impact of your products & processes
  • Higg Index FEM 3.0 verification & training (SAC69 approved)
  • Environmental & chemical assessments & solutions
  • Green claims verification & development
  • Recycling verification services
  • Social audit
In order to cover these gaps in expertise, brands and retailers can consider working with a third-party quality control partner. These companies have specific expertise across different industries and can identify defects in different materials and product types.

It’s Time To Raise the Bar

The outdoor industry is unique because you are selling more than a product, you are selling a lifestyle. And if your product quality isn’t top notch, what does that say about your brand?

Working with a third party quality control partner can provide you with an easier quality control experience with one quality control partner covering all your product categories. If you are looking to improve your quality control processes... then AQF is here to help. Our inspectors are experienced with all kinds of quality control needs, from supplier verification to product inspection even to lab testing.

Contact us today to learn more about our expertise or sign up for AQF Online to book your next service.

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