In the Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s Quality Assurance testing facility, it is not uncommon to see a flicker of light through the blinds or to experience the faint smell of burning plastic seeping up from under the closed doors.
Although the unsuspecting may assume there is an emergency, it’s business as usual at the Exchange as inspectors are ensuring product quality and safety standards.
Military shoppers expect the products they purchase to meet high standards for safety and quality. The Exchange takes steps beyond federal regulations to ensure customers can be confident that the diamond engagement ring is genuine, the baby’s crib is secure and kids’ toys are safe.
The Exchange is on the customer’s side when it comes to product quality and 19 associates with trained eyes make up the QA team including two Gemology Institute of America alum who ensure the value, authenticity and quality of the Exchange’s jewelry selection. While QA inspections are primarily visual, many products are also checked for functionality to examine if products are fit for sale and use.
The Exchange also conducts product testing or evaluations based on customer complaints and concerns. Select samples are also tested from outside labs to ensure the consistency and integrity of vendor or manufacturer’s test results.
“There is nothing more important than ensuring all of the products we carry are safe for our Soldiers, Airmen and families,” said the Exchange’s Deputy Director Maj. Gen. Joseph Ward. “Whether it’s a car seat for children, pieces of tactical gear or a household cleaning product, Exchange inspectors carefully test merchandise before it goes on our store shelves. As we say in the Air Force, ‘test before flight!'”
From the lab at the Exchange’s headquarters to its distribution centers, a team of inspectors, veterinarians and gemologists bring safe and reliable products to every member of the military family.