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The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection : An Interview with Philips
By Andrew Tan
Category : Interviews
Published by Jimmy Tang on Friday, 6th August, 2004

The Quality Issue

HWZ : So besides the B and P series, the other LCD models do not go through manual checking?

Aspden : They do go through manual checking too, but some are let through when they meet a certain percentage of bright dots and dark dots; there's a whole quality document on how many and how far apart these dots can be. So as long as it passes that standard, it becomes an S panel. The ISO document sets the minimum standards, and then Philips sets another pixel policy above those standards, and on top of that, we create a premium B and P series where unsurpassed quality is offered.

HWZ : How does Philips keep close tabs on LCD quality control?

Aspden : Philips is very strict on quality control, especially since we're a European-based company. Firstly we have to conform to all the European regulations and standards like MPR2 (Swedish standards for static field and E-field emissions), and TCO (Tjänstemännens Centralorganisation). If you have dealt with any European company you'll know that they are very strict on occupational safety and hazards. So we always closely monitor on a regular basis our DOA (Dead on Arrival) statistics and return rates. And we monitor the reasons why our products are returned, particularly for LCD monitors. For CRTs, it's so low that it doesn’t even reach on a scale; the figure is something like 0.01%. We examine the trends too: Is it going up, especially when we're launching new products, phasing in and out products? We've got strict processes in terms of raising a CCF (Customer Complain Form). Every single complaint is logged into a system called the Management Quality Handling System, any country, providing you have the authority to do so, can look at what the issue is, where it's at, who is owning that problem, and what is the expected time to close out the issue. Is it something that requires a re-look at the specifications at the factory? Is it a factory quality handling issue? We monitor all this and we have set targets about the return rates, because every return cost us too in more ways than one.

HWZ : How important are the different demographics to Philips' production and marketing strategy?

Aspden : We do a lot of worldwide market research for our product ranging strategy, and we design and develop products based on that research. After that, we provide a global range of products to each of the regions, and then it's up to the countries to determine which products from that range they want to carry. For example, Malaysia carries a much-reduced range compared to Singapore, as Malaysia is not a place that sells a lot of high end LCDs, so it would be inappropriate for them to carry 19-inch and 20-inch LCDs. In terms of ranging that's how we address the different markets. Another example is China. They have some very unique requirements and we develop products specifically for them. We specifically created a dirty matte blue-colored monitor meant for China's market and it's been one of our volume sellers since, and it's still selling well. And I've tried to bring it to other countries and their markets but nobody liked the color. We do open up those products for the rest of the Asia Pacific region and the rest of the world, but sometimes we find that only China want to take it and nobody else does.

Philips launched over 10 new 5th generation LCD monitors in Kunming. The 230W5BS (shown above) is a 23-inch 16ms TCO '03 certified WUXGA LCD monitor.

Some of the new LCD monitors launched in Kunming. Seen in the picture above are two of the models, 170B5CB (left) and 190S5CB-H (right).

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