Your Order is Manufactured in China, Do You Need to Have a 3rd Party Quality Control Inspection?
The simple answer is yes, for the following reasons.
- Check & confirm that all the components used on your order are the same as the sample you’ve approved.
- Check & test random samples from the assembly line to ensure product features & functions are correct.
- Check all labelling to ensure they are the same as in your approved sample.
- Check product packaging to ensure quality, product protection, text & markings are correct.
- Check carton quality, packing, seal and shipping marks.
- Check product certification including compliance to UKCA standards and other countries that you’ll be selling in.
- Check export documentation and import requirements for UK.
- Supervise container loading, if required.
What Types of Quality Control Inspections Can I Choose?
There are QC Inspections which are suited to different stages of the production process. You can choose as many as you feel are needed to ensure your shipment is correct before making the final payment to your supplier. They will include the following.
- PPI: Pre-Production Inspection
- DPI: During Production Inspection
- PSI: Pre-Shipment Inspection
- CLI: Container Loading Inspection
- RSS: Random Selection Selection
Other Inspections you should consider include the following.
- Lab Product Testing
- Supplier Evaluation/Audit
Although some QC Inspection companies will use slightly different terminology, the above covers the general inspections available. Some companies will also offer a Full Quality Control Inspection.
Before placing any orders with a supplier, I would strongly advise a Supplier Evaluation/Audit report, to check & verify their legal & owner details, factory status, product experience, product certification and ability to manufacture your product.
What Does Each Quality Control Inspection Cover & Which Inspection Should I Choose for My Shipment?
Choosing the Quality Control Inspection that best serves your purpose will depend on your product and what specific points you want checked to ensure they’re correct before paying the final balance and shipping your product. The following is a brief guide of what to expect from each QC inspection and this will vary slightly for different inspection companies.
PPI: Pre-Production Inspection
This will cover component checks before production starts and to check a pilot production (typically a few samples) to check production quality.
DPI: During Production Inspection
This will include assembly line checks, product specifications, manufacturing quality and random product tests including features and functions. This will also include packaging and packing details.
PSI: Pre-Shipment Inspection
As the name suggests, this is done when all the production is finished and approximately 80% – 100% of the products are finished. This inspection will include opening of random cartons and checking a few samples from each for quality of materials, workmanship and product specifications as well as function and feature testing. This inspection will also include carton packing, shipping marks, total quantities and shipping documents.
CLI: Container Loading Inspection
If you’re shipping by a full container then this inspection is relevant for your order. This will include a carton count being loaded, safely loading of the container, document check and evidence of the container seal. If you have multiple products, you can request the loading procedure for each model.
RSS: Random Selection Selection
This inspection is for those who want to see a video of working samples and test the products in the UK. Typically, the inspection company will randomly select samples and video a function test on each sample and send them to UK for further testing and inspection.
What's Included in a Quality Control Inspection Report?
A QC Inspection Report includes a comprehensive written report, together with photographic evidence and in some cases video evidence. Typically they should include the following.
- Date inspection took place.
- Location of inspection.
- QC inspector name.
- Time started/finished at the inspection location.
Full Report, which should contain the following.
- Order quantity.
- Quantity checked (This can be to an agreed AQL (Acceptable Quality Limit). Find out more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acceptable_quality_limit
- Photographic evidence of factory layout, your stock location & test area.
- photographic evidence of measurements & weights.
- Photographic evidence of fails.
- Quantity & list of fails.
- Quantity & list of passes.
- Potential remedies offered by the supplier on fails.
- Customer communication to discuss the report.
- Total time for inspection and report.
What's The Cost of a Quality Control Inspection?
Typically a Quality Control Inspection company will charge a ‘man day’ rate (8 hours) of between US$250 – US$350. This will include travel costs. In most cases one day will be sufficient for a QC inspection.
What QC Inspection Company Should I Choose?
Research is a must in choosing the QC inspection company that you feel comfortable with and points you should look out for include the following.
- QC experience in your product category.
- No outsourcing of inspectors.
- Communication in ‘perfect’ English.
- Ability to request specific tests.
- Videos of parts of the inspection.
- Discussion after you’ve received the QC report.
- Option for a retest to check remedies.
- Comprehensive report, photos and clear definitions.
What Do I Need to Prepare for a Quality Control Inspection?
Preparation is key for any report and you should provide the following.
- Your full order details.
- An approved sample.
- Specific tests required.
- Points to pay special attention to.
- Details required in the report.
Why Do I Need a Quality Control Inspection?
If you’re not in China to check your shipment, your solution will be to employ a 3rd party QC Inspection company to check the following.
- Components used on your order are correct.
- Product features & functions work correctly.
- Product workmanship is as you expect.
- Weight & dimensions checked.
- Labelling is correct.
- Product testing with strength tests.
- Point out defects found.
- Product packaging components are the correct quality, colours and packed correctly.
- Master carton quality, packing and properly sealed.
- Physical count of total products being shipped.
- Keeps your supplier on their toes!
Lab Product Testing Report & Do I Need It?
This will depend on your product to ensure it complies with UKCA standards as well as other countries you’ll be selling your goods in. You should verify the manufacturer’s report and ensure it complies with the latest standards.
The responsibility is on you, the importer to ensure your product is safe and compliant. An independent Lab Test Report by an internationally recognised testing house will ensure this is the case.
Why It's Important to Have a Quality Control Inspection if You're an Amazon Seller?
As an Amazon seller, you can’t afford any poor feedback or loss which may occur from product defects which you can prevent before your order has been shipped. Quality control are a vital step in the process of your Amazon selling strategy.
Controlling your supply chain is vital to ensure the minimum of returns from your customers that will affect your feedback. Once your order is shipped, it’s too late to fix anything that is wrong. Ensuring it meets with all the technical specifications, correct labelling & barcodes is vital to ensure there are no rejections or delays in the Amazon warehouse and from your Amazon customers.
Points to ensure are correct include the following.
- Technical specifications are fully met.
- Labelling & barcode are correct and meet the selling requirements in the countries you’re selling in.
- Product packaging & packing to arrive at the Amazon warehouse undamaged.
- Cosmetic issues to prevent negative feedback from Amazon customers who’ve bought your products.
- Missing parts which will incurr your in additional fees and negative feedback.
- Suitable carton packaging for shipping to your Amazon customer.
- Drop test to ensure no breakages during shipping & delivery.
Pros & Cons of a 3rd Part Quality Control Inspection
- Check & verify your full order exists.
- Check & verify that your products are as your approved sample & labeled correctly.
- Check & verify the quantity of products is correct.
- Inspect & verify product quality & features.
- Inspect &verify product packaging, text and compliance icons.
- Check & verify your full shipment is correct before you pay the final payment.
- A supplier will take more care if they know you’ll be carrying out a 3rd party Quality Control Inspection.
What happens If The QC Inspector Finds Product Faults During The Inspection?
Generally, faulty products will be noted, photographed and documented in the report with the level of importance to the product, typically, a minor or major fault. The faults will also be pointed out to the factory and their solution comments noted. It is up to the customer to agree with the supplier whether to accept the solution.
What am I Going To Do with The Quality Control Report?
The Quality Control report will identify the problems found with the products tested. Generally, there will be an agreed quantity between you and the QC inspection company as to how many products are tested, and this is typically 5% – 8% of the total products. There should also be an agreement between you and your supplier for an ‘acceptable’ level of defect rate and this is typically 1%.
After receiving the report, you’ll be in a better position to know how to proceed and possibly negotiate with your supplier.
What if My Supplier Does Not Accept a 3rd Party Quality Control Inspection?
If your supplier does not accept a 3rd party QC inspection, I would advise not working with that supplier.
Do I have to inform my supplier in advance?
Yes and it’s important to get the date of the inspection correct so the stage of production is optimal to carry out the inspection you choose. It’s also advisable to request a member of staff to accompany you to all the locations your order is being prepared and stored and a reasonable testing area.
10 Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why do I need a 3rd party quality control inspection?
Simply put, to ensure that the shipment you receive has been tested to agreed standards and you’re not relying on your supplier’s confirmation.
2. What is the approximate cost of a QC inspection?
This will depend on the size of your order and the tests you want carried out. Generally the cost is calculated per ‘man day’ (8 hours) and will vary between US$250 – US$350 including travel cost. In most cases, one day will be sufficient.
3. What do I need to prepare for the QC inspection?
You will need the Pro forma invoice as well as (ideally) a confirmed sample that the inspector can rely on when testing. Advising the inspector of specific tests you require is beneficial.
4. What if I’m not happy with the amount of defects found in the report?
The report is to identify faults within the products tested and you should use the report to either accept the shipment or negotiate with your supplier as to remedies for the problems found. The inspector will suggest a ‘Pass’ or ‘Fail’, based on the products tested.
5. What type of QC inspection should I have as a minimum?
This will depend on your order value and the relationship with your supplier. I would always suggest a pre-shipment inspection for all orders. If your order value is over US$10,000 then I would also advise a pre-production inspection.
6. What if the supplier does not agree with the report?
Within the report there will be photographic evidence of any faults found as well as inspector comments. It’s very hard to argue with a photo that shows the defect.
7. How far in advance should I book a 3rd Party QC inspection?
It’s always best to prepare well in advance, however the inspection date should be agreed with the supplier and inspection company to ensure the goods to be inspected are ready and available for testing.
8. How long after the inspection will I get the report?
Typically this will be within 24 hours of the inspection taking place, not including weekends.
9. Can I include specific tests to be carried out during testing and be included in the report?
Yes, and this is advisable as you’ll know the areas where there may be weaknesses within the product.
10. I’m an Amazon seller, how can a QC inspection help me?
If you’re an Amazon seller, you must ensure that your product, technical information, packing, packaging, labelling & barcodes are all correct. QC inspections ensure that’s the case on the products tested.