How K&B Brands Handle Product Quality Control

Published: April 19, 2024

In today’s turmoil of supply chain issues and increased product lead times, it is especially important to adhere to the most stringent of policies when it comes to product quality control. Not having appropriate and accurate measures in place can have an extremely adverse effect on a brand’s reputation.

We spoke with four kitchen and bath companies to dig a little deeper into how they address product quality control. As design professionals, you can use these insights to make more informed product selections.

Above photo: Forza’s assembly workers adhere to a quality management system to maintain its stringent product standards. Each offering receives four mandatory tests. Photo credit: Forza

Forza Kitchen Appliances

The 65-year-old brand’s manufacturing operations are dictated by a quality management system to maintain its strict standards. According to Marco Guerzoni, Forza’s director of marketing and product development, each product undergoes four mandatory tests: two aesthetic inspections on the assembly line to assess part alignment and detect defects and two safety assessments regarding the gas system’s load and leakage, as well as electrical circuit safety.

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“Moreover, our suppliers are subjected to a rigorous vendor rating system based on cost, quality delivered and punctuality,” said Guerzoni. “Our quality commitment is further reinforced by our IAO 9001:2015 certification and adherence to lean manufacturing principles since 2008.”

Emtek Kitchen & Bath Hardware

This brand’s offerings undergo rigorous material inspections, and finishes are examined for scratch resistance, plating adhesion, tone compliance and random UV/salt spray resistance. According to Octavio Zuniga, Emtek’s quality engineer, if any issues are detected, the non-conforming materials are quarantined for the material review board, and they can be replated, machined or scrapped.

Emtek actively tests its materials to ensure the highest-quality materials are used during assembly, and more advanced equipment is being evaluated to obtain testing results faster,” added Zuniga. “We are constantly improving the relationships among all suppliers and customers to better understand and identify areas of improvement.”


Emtek’s products undergo thorough inspections, and finishes are tested for a variety of criteria. Photo credit: Emtek

Rev-A-Shelf Storage Accessories

This company’s quality control efforts begin with continuous training, 5S methodology (a workplace organization system) and reinforcing continuous improvement processes. According to Bruce Fowler, Rev-A-Shelf’s senior quality manager, all the brand’s vendors are required to work with strict PPM thresholds and maintain design integrity through specific requirements. All products are measured, inspected and tested through a first-piece process and incoming inspection control plans.

“Because 98% of our products have some kind of mechanical element, they must withstand constant everyday use in the home,” added Fowler. “Everything is tested to Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association standards so we can ensure all our products will stand up to our limited lifetime warranty.”

Watermark Designs Plumbing Fittings

Quality control for this brand starts with purchasing high-quality brass materials, ensuring mechanical strength and a smooth feel to the handles. According to Audrey Chen, Watermark Designs’ product manager, incoming materials are inspected using a standard acceptable quality limit process, which conducts random samples to ensure specification conformance and detect defects. All products are pressure tested using air and water, and if any defective products are shipped to the end user, the brand will replace them.

“Watermark has a continuous improvement team that meets monthly to review product quality concerns and suggestions for improvement,” explained Chen. “Already in 2024, we are working on new color measurement instrumentation to reduce color variation in plating and spray lines.”

By Chelsie Butler, KBB Executive Editor

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