Continuous improvement in the area of blood component production has brought an increased emphasis on process control hand in hand with the creation of processes that provide a greater degree of standardization of the products. This work has included the systematic characterization of products produced using routine high throughput systems to understand which elements of the production process give rise either to non-conforming products or to high levels of variation in products. Such information leads to an opportunity to rethink our general approach to the assessment of component quality. Much of the recent progress in blood component production, including new developments in automation, has raised expectations of parallel opportunities to improve product quality through improved technology. The areas where we still lack a good understanding of the factors contributing to overall component quality are excellent targets for future research effort.