Frost & Sullivan today announced that it will present its 2003 Product Quality Leadership Award to A.O. Smith Water Products Company (WPC) for its exceptionally comprehensive package of quality products and comprehensive customer support in the water heating equipment industry.
The Product Quality Leadership Award is bestowed upon the company that has the lowest defect percentage per batch of units produced and exhibits a comprehensive, global determination to maintain high quality in all product and marketing functions. After extensive research, Frost & Sullivan chose Ashland City, TN, U.S.-based A.O. Smith WPC for the award for its high product quality and excellent after-sales support to its residential and commercial customers.
At A.O. Smith WPC, apart from inspection by factory personnel, every assembly-line product is checked for possible defects such as scratches, pinhole leaks discovered during pressure testing, faulty elements, and burners, Frost & Sullivan reported. A.O. Smith WPC also keeps plumbers, contractors, and specifying engineers, as well as its own technicians and service agents at the cutting edge of product knowledge by training more than 500 people in classrooms annually and over 2,000 others in the field, Frost & Sullivan said.
Another factor in awarding the water heater company was its after-sales support infrastructure, which includes multiple call centers to answer questions at any level of technical complexity and a state-of-the-art training facility for contractors and service agents.
However, with a low rate of first 90-day failure, this support is seldom required, Frost & Sullivan said. The water heating products also include patented components as well as self-cleaning capabilities. One model can even be programmed to create hot water in quantities necessary to meet anticipated demand using historic data.
"Some months the company has achieved zero defects per million parts according to outbound quality audits of products leaving the factories -- an incredible feat of human diligence and production equipment capabilities. The errors reported usually in the 300 parts-per-million range, for a defect rate of 0.0003," notes Jerry Davis, industry analyst for Frost & Sullivan. "It’s a commitment to engineering high product quality as demonstrated by several innovative water heaters that closely integrate themselves into consumers’ lives."
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