Close your eyes, think about it for three seconds, and answer this question:
Which of the following is most likely to stop a bullet?
Captain America’s shield,
Neo from The Matrix played by Keanu Reeves?
You might have wondered if I’ve watched too much sci-fi movies. Let’s look at a true story then, actually not a very unfamiliar one: according to a local news story in South Africa, on August 30, a man from Cape Town, the second largest city in the country, said his Huawei smartphone saved his life.
According to 41-year-old Siraaj Abrahams, a father of five children who runs an IT and automotive business, was attacked and a bullet that could have penetrated his chest hit his Huawei P8 Lite instead. After being shot, Abrahams passed out without knowing his Huawei smartphone had saved his life. But when he saw the hole left by the bullet in his jacket and his broken Huawei smartphone he realized what had happened.
This is not the first time a smartphone has blocked a bullet. Huawei P7 did so to save his owner in a tropical forest in Guatemala last year; A researcher from Milllward Brown used the Media Pad as a shield and it saved his life from a gunshot fire exchange in Garissa, Kenya while conducting a field work research. And there’re similar news about iPhones and Samsung smartphones as well. Some people are curious that maybe in addition to cracking walnuts, today’s smartphones are also strong enough to be bulletproof.
How such a “super-power” smartphone has been forged?
In reality today, it’s still of luck for smartphones to block bullets. But indeed, the world’s top smartphone makers such as Huawei, not just have continuously perfected their hardware and software, but also gone a long way to refine their manufacturing and quality control processes to pursue the best quality of smartphones.
Take the brand featured in this news, Huawei, for example. As one of the top three global smartphone makers that had shipped over 100 million smartphones to more than 170 countries and regions last year alone, the company spares no efforts in order to forge top quality smartphones, and the way they do it could sometimies go to extremes. Huawei strictly enforces the QMS system from prototype design, R&D, raw material procurement, manufacturing to testing, and uses automated and smart manufacturing to ensure product quality. The world-class standards that Huawei has adopted are even higher than the mandatory standards in Europe or in the US.
For quality inspection, Huawei has a top-notched reliability test laboratory in the industry. Comprehensive tests conducted on Huawei handsets sometimes seem extreme. For themechanical reliability check, a sample must withstand thousands of rounds of drum tests, 500 rounds of twist tests, a 70kg hardware stress test and 2,000 rounds of software stress tests. For environmental reliability, the sample undergoes a72-hour solar radiation test, 48 hours of hot and cold shift tests, eight hours of salt spray tests, damp heat test, vibration test and other wear-resistance tests. For lifecycle reliability check, the sample undergoes 800,000 touch screen taps, 200,000 key touches, 5,000 headphone plug endurance tests and 10,000 USB interface plug endurance tests. All these test standards are above the industry benchmarks, with requirements for the drum, heat, touch screen and RF specification tests far exceeding the industry norms.
Huawei also conducts tests on headphone jacks, charging ports and SIM card slots, which are not usually tested by industry peers. In addition, Huawei’s products also go through a series of rigorous network tests before going on sales, including overseas roaming and SAR laboratory tests (to ensure they are 4G ready). Passing these comprehensive tests, Huawei’s products meet the network requirements from top global carriers such as AT&T in the US. In terms of quality management systems, Huawei’s products meet the world’s most rigid standards such as those applied in the US, Europe and Japan. And all products passing through the human radiation safety laboratory testing fully comply with the US FCC certification.
With such exacting quality control, it is hardly surprising to read some of the thrilling stories involving Huawei smartphones. In Myanmar, for example, a Huawei smartphone’s excellent network signal saved a business tycoon’s life after his plane crashed into an icy lake in the north of the country. A group of six passengers tried to call for help using their cellphones, but none of them could get through except for the businessman with a Huawei smartphone. They were rescued after being stranded for more than three days. This incident made Huawei a household name in Myanmar.
Zero tolerance towards defective products
“Quality is the integrity and lifeline of Huawei,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s Consumer Business Group. “Huawei employs the ‘craftsmen’s spirit’ to measure its products and ensure zero defects”.
To resolve an issue with a camera defect resulting from a fall that could only occur once in 3,000 times, Huawei invested millions of yuan to fix it. To deal with a small defect in a popular smartphone, Huawei shut down the whole production line for its Honor models, which led to a delivery delay for more than 100,000 devices.
Huawei became a top topic on social when it destroyed 12,845 Honor smartphones on May 28, 2015. Previously, Huawei had destroyed 4,462 devices, and the combined 17,307 devices destroyed were valued at more than 20 million yuan. Huawei’s actions were in response to a rare tire fire during transportation. Despite the fact that the defect rate was only 1.4%, Huawei decided to destroy all the smartphones involved in the accident to make sure there would not be any potential problems for consumers one year after purchase.
On top of the internal quality control, Huawei has been working closely with vendors to ensure the quality along the whole supply chain. Only in this way can Huawei provide high quality devices to consumers and clients. For example, the quality of glue used on the focusing motor of the phone camera can affect the responsiveness and speed of autofocus. To provide the best experience to consumers, Huawei need to manage not only the lens supplier but also the motor and glue supplier.
Huawei has a clear goal: “Huawei strives to be the quality benchmark of the industry. If the quality of our products falls below the industry benchmark, we need to try our best to catch up. We need to improve by 30% each year; once we become the industry benchmark, we will still keep improving by 20% every year.”
Thanks to its zero tolerance towards defective products and continued pursuit of innovation and quality, Huawei has won its global success and reputation. In the telecommunication equipment market, Huawei is already the world leading information and communication solutions provider. In the smartphone market, according to figures from market research and user experience research consultancy GFK, Huawei’s global market share has stayed in the top three, while taking the lead in the Chinese market and maintaining one of the top three spots in many developed countries in Western Europe. More than 60% of Huawei’s revenue comes from the overseas market as its products are shipped to over 170 countries and regions.
Richard Yu thinks the principle of building market trust in quality is something Huawei must stick to, as it not only brings commercial successes, but also lays the foundation for the brand’s value.
In 2014, Huawei became the first company from the Chinese mainland to enter the Interbrand “Top 100” most valuable global brands list with the No.94 ranking. In October 2015, Huawei’s ranking moved up to No.88. In 2016, Huawei made into the list of top 100 most valuable brands by Brand Z with a brand value of 18.65 billion US dollars. Its ranking moved up to No.50 from No.70 in 2015.