I'd read before that Apple's supplier (Foxconn) was having trouble assembling iPhone 5s to Apple's standards… but this article contains some shocking stats: “Apple Returns Millions of Defective iPhone 5 Smartphones.”
Millions… 5 to 8 million defective phones returned. Foxconn has only been able to achieve an 80% quality rating… suggesting 2 in 10 have some sort of problem. What were Apple's expectations? Shockingly low.
The agreement between Apple and its outsourced manufacturer allegedly states that a 90 percent quality rate is required (meaning only 1 out of 10 iPhones are allowed to be broken).
I'm pretty shocked that Apple expected (or allowed) a 10% defect rate.
The bad working conditions at Foxconn have been well documented (including this previous blog post of mine).
This goes to show there are multiple definitions of quality, including:
Fitness for use: Does the product, as designed, meet the customer's needs?
Lack of defects: Not having physical problems or electrical problems
This is a VERY high defect rate for manufacturing. That's hardly a six sigma quality level.
Having to take back the defective product add costs and hurts profit margins for Foxconn.
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