With the 2010 Whirlwind RoughRider® on track to reach more than 20,000 riders next year, the process for ensuring that each chair is of the highest quality becomes an even greater challenge. Unlike Whirlwind’s first 25 years, it is no longer cost-competitive for one person to hand-make every RoughRider from start to finish. Now, as we expand into mass production, Whirlwind and our partners must streamline the production process to create experts in the manufacture of specific wheelchair parts and collaborate to make a great product. Whirlwind’s development of complex quality control systems is emblematic of our transition from a traditional nonprofit to a social enterprise capable of delivering unique, top quality products to tens of thousands of riders in need all over the world.
Whirlwind is working with our overseas manufacturing facilities, ensuring that design specifications, change processes, and production methods yield the highest quality product possible. To achieve this, the Whirlwind tech team has developed formal processes for controlling quality, managing design changes, and effectively tracking customer complaints to continually improve the RoughRider. International standards guide Whirlwind and our producer-partners to create and implement QC systems effective in managing high-volume, industrial manufacturing applications around the world.