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What Are The Reasons of Variations in Product? Causes & Reasons

Last updated on Nov 18,2022 1.7K Views

When manufacturing a product, there can be a lot of variation from one unit to the next. It is due to the inherent nature of the product, as well as the manufacturing process. But, what are the reasons for variations in the product? In some cases, it can be due to outside factors such as weather or supply shortages. When it comes to product variation, there can be many reasons and causes. This is especially true when a company manufactures products in bulk. Businesses need to understand the various factors that can lead to product variation, so they can take steps to mitigate them.

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What is Product Variation?

Product variation is when two products that are supposed to be the same differ in some way. It can be defined as any difference in a product that deviates from the target specifications. This can include physical characteristics (like dimensions or color) to performance properties (like functionality or durability). 

Product variation can be a big problem for companies, leading to customer dissatisfaction and returns. It can happen during manufacturing, shipping, or even while the product is on store shelves. In other words, product variation is anything that makes a product different from what was intended.

Product variation is one of those things that can be incredibly frustrating for manufacturers that can have a significant impact on a company’s bottom line. If customers are unhappy with the product they receive, they may return it or never buy it from the company again. In addition, product variations can lead to increased manufacturing costs, as companies may have to produce different versions of the same product.

Key Elements of Product Variation

  • What are the reasons for variations in product
  • What are the benefits of product variation
  • What are the key elements of product variation
  • How to create a product variation

Product variation is essential for any business that wants to offer its customers a wide range of products. By providing different product variations, companies can cater to their customer’s diverse needs and preferences.

Want to learn more about product variation, what are the reasons for variation in the product, and how can it help your business? Check out our Advanced Certificate in Operations, Supply Chain, and Project Management, which has everything from practice-based learning to personalised career support. It’s a golden opportunity for beginners and professionals alike who want to carve out a career in product management.

What Are The Reasons For Variations In Product?

Several different factors can cause variations in the product; let’s get acquainted with some of the common ones.


Manufacturing Process

The most evident and commonly known cause of product variation is the manufacturing process. In any kind of production, there will always be some degree of variance from the ideal product. This is due to things like machines not working perfectly, human error or even the materials used not being precisely the same each time. All of these factors can lead to slight variations in the final product.

Key elements of variations in the manufacturing process:

  • Machines not working perfectly
  • Human error
  • The materials used not being precisely the same each time.

Raw Materials

The first and most common cause of product variations is using raw materials from different suppliers. It happens because suppliers often get their raw materials from various sources. Even when a company uses the same supplier, there can be variations in the raw materials. Different factors can cause variations in the raw materials, such as weather conditions and the time of year.

Key elements of variations due to the raw materials:

  • The type of raw materials
  • The supplier
  • The source of the raw materials
  • Weather conditions
  • Time of year

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Poor Product Design

One of the primary reasons behind product variation is poor product design. This usually happens when the designers do not clearly understand what the end-users want. They might also be working with outdated information or inaccurate data. It can lead to designing products that do not meet the users’ needs.

As your product begins to take shape, you’ll need to decide what kind of variations to offer. Do you want different colors? Different sizes? Different materials?

The options are endless, but it’s essential to consider what your customers will want and need. After all, customers will be the end users of your product! Variations due to product design will usually come down to two things:

  • Aesthetics: This is all about what looks good. Do you want your product to come in different colors? Do you want it to be made from other materials?
  • Functionality: This is all about what works well. Do you need different sizes to accommodate other users? Do you need additional materials to meet different needs?

Ineffective Operations

There are various reasons why variation can exist in the product, but ineffective operations are often the root cause. When processes are not well understood or controlled, variation is the result. For example, if a manufacturing process is poorly understood, it will produce parts that don’t meet the required tolerances. This results in rework, scrap, and increased costs.

Key elements of product variations due to ineffective operations:

  • Lack of process understanding
  • Poorly controlled processes
  • Rework
  • Scrap
  • Increased costs

Unprofessional Operators

One of the main reasons for variations in product quality is unprofessional operators. Unskilled workers often do not understand what they are doing and how it affects the product. Their lack of motivation and productivity can give rise to quality compromise. This can lead to poor quality products and inconsistency in the manufacturing process. These ways can combat this issue:

  • Make sure that your operators are adequately trained and have the necessary skills for the job.
  • Provide them with clear instructions and expectations.
  • Make sure they are motivated enough to do a good job.
  • Monitor their work closely and address any issues immediately.

Inadequate Testing

Many products are released without being put through proper testing. It can lead to a lot of variation in the quality of the product, which can be frustrating for customers. Testing is also essential to ensure that products are safe and meet all regulations. It can create a lot of waste if products are not adequately tested before release.

Key elements of product variations due to inadequate testing:

  • Unsafe products
  • Lack of customer satisfaction
  • Poor quality control
  • Wasted resources (time, money, materials)

Lack of Quality Control

A lack of quality control is the most common reason for product variation. This can be due to several factors, such as incorrect or inconsistent measurements, poor materials, or manufacturing defects.

If products are not made to the correct specifications, they will not meet customer expectations and will likely be returned or exchanged. It can cause a lot of hiccups for businesses, not to mention lost revenue.

Inconsistent measurements are often the result of human error, but they can also be caused by machine error. If measurements are not taken correctly or if machines are not calibrated properly, it can lead to product variation.

Hence, having good quality control measures in place is essential to ensure that products are made to the correct specifications. It includes having a well-trained workforce and investing in quality control equipment.

Key elements of product variations due to lack of quality control:

  • Incorrect or inconsistent measurements
  • Poor materials
  • Manufacturing defects
  • Lack of training for the workforce
  • Inadequate quality control equipment

Inferior Production Methods

You can cut corners when manufacturing a product in different ways, and this often results in inconsistency. It is challenging to produce a consistent product without an exemplary production method. If a company is not using suitable production methods, the product will likely vary in quality. It is one of the common reasons why products vary in quality.

It is essential to use the best production method to prevent variations in product quality. Many factors can affect production, such as the type of machinery used, the quality of raw materials, and the workers’ skills. In case any of these factors are not up to par, it will likely result in a poor-quality product. Using the best production methods available is essential to ensure a consistent product.

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How To Prevent Variations in the Product?

“Prevention is always better than cure”. The same applies to product variations. By taking some preventative steps, you can avoid product variations altogether. Now that you know what are the reasons for variation in the product, check out some tips on how to prevent variations in your product:

Use high-quality raw materials: This is one of the most critical factors in preventing product variations. By using high-quality raw materials, you can be sure that your product will meet the required standards.

Maintain strict quality control: Quality control is essential in preventing product variations. It becomes imperative to have a rigorous quality control process in place to catch any variations early on.

Use the latest technology: Technology is constantly evolving, which can be used to prevent product variations. The latest technology and advanced machinery can help you produce a product that is of consistent quality.

Ensure proficient product managers: Product managers play a pivotal role in product development and ensure no final product variations. By having proficient product managers, you can rest assured that your product will meet the required standards.

Educate your employees: Employees play a crucial role in preventing product variations. By educating them on the importance of quality control and the steps that need to be taken to avoid variations, you can ensure that they will be more vigilant in their work.

Are Variations in Product Good For Business?

Product variation can be a great way to boost your business. It can help you attract new customers and keep your existing ones returning for more.

Variations can also be a great way to test new products or ideas. By offering a few different options, you can see what works and doesn’t without committing to a full product launch.

A few things must be considered regarding product variation. First, make sure that the variations you offer are different. Offering multiple variations of the same product can confuse customers and make it harder for them to decide what to buy.

Second, keep your variations limited. An abundance of options can be overwhelming for customers and make it more difficult for them to get the best product for their demands.

Finally, make sure that your variations are priced appropriately. If an alternative is significantly more expensive than the others, customers may be less likely to choose it.

The Bottom Line

There’s no doubt in asserting that product variation is one of the most powerful tools in a marketer’s arsenal. By understanding common causes and reasons for product variation, you can create targeted marketing campaigns that focus on the areas closely related to your customers.

While you are well aware of the causes and reasons for product variation, your customers may not be. By educating them on these topics, you can build a stronger relationship and create a deeper level of trust.

There should be a strategic use of product variation to support your marketing goals. If used correctly, product variation can help you increase sales, improve customer satisfaction, and build a stronger brand.

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What Are The Reasons of Variations in Product? Causes & Reasons