An inspection is an acceptance test for quality control.
It is a procedure to check that the manufactured goods meet a specific standard.
Quality inspectors inspect the goods before, during, and after the manufacturing process.
They also supervise the packaging and loading of goods onto a shipping container.
All this is to ensure that you receive quality goods on time and with no damages.
With that in mind, quality inspections should be a top priority anytime you’re importing from China.
Note that there are nine major types of quality inspections in product quality control.
This article will tackle each type and show you how they can benefit your business.
Initial Production Check
Initial production check
Initial production check, known as pre-production inspection, is an initial quality control process.
It happens at the manufacturer’s premises before any production begins.
What does IPC check?
IPC checks all raw materials against your needs before production commences.
The inspectors check for the quality, weight variance, drawings (if any), etc.
The checks usually occur upon the manufacturer’s receipt of raw materials; before the beginning of operations.
If the inspector notices any errors during the IPC check, they will notify you.
Organize with the supplier to have the mistakes corrected before production begins.
Benefits of Initial Production Check
The initial production check, also known as pre-production inspection, offers many benefits to importers and manufacturers.
By performing an IPC, you:
Minimize Risks that may Disrupt your Supply Chain
The IPC aims to identify and eliminates quality risks before the manufacturing process.
This identification and elimination ensure the product will be in excellent condition when it leaves the factory.
It verifies that the production process designed meets the customer’s requirements.
In this way, delivery delays and quality issues are tackled even before they can occur.
Get an Opportunity to verify the Manufacturer’s Readiness
Through an initial production check, you can easily check and see if your manufacturer is ready for production or not.
Early procurement of raw materials, adequate workers, and a clean, well-equipped facility can show that a supplier is ready to begin production.
Measure your Manufacturer’s Capability
An IPC can help you determine whether the manufacturer can meet your needs and quality requirements.
If there are inadequate workers or poor production equipment in place, there is no need to continue your contract with the supplier.
This is because it is clear they won’t produce the quality of goods you want and within the specific deadline.
When and Why an Initial Production check is needed
You need an initial production check when:
Dealing with High-quality or Fragile Products
The inspector will test all components before the assembling process begins.
IPC checks the quality and functionality of hardware, semi-finished products, and materials products.
They make sure it’s in line with your approved sample (golden sample).
Sourcing Raw Materials from Different Suppliers
IPC will check 100% of the incoming parts and components.
The inspector ensures the raw material meets your product requirements.
He/she does the checks per your agreement with suppliers and contract manufacturers.
You Launch a New Product
To launch a new product means you launch a new process.
IPC is necessary for an initial production check.
This check verifies that the process is stable and that the new process setup is done correctly.
Inferior quality raw materials will affect the quality of the end-product.
Initial production inspection will point out any initial errors.
It is cheaper and less time-consuming to correct any errors and defects early.
Limits of Initial Production Check
Different suppliers may supply raw materials and components at other times.
Some suppliers might delay their parts’ delivery, forcing inspectors to stay on-site as they wait for all raw materials to arrive.
This waiting may delay the production process and also cost you more for the extra man-days.
The manufacturer may not reveal the sub-suppliers for fear of losing you to them.
It may then be challenging to control raw material.
An excellent way to deal with this is to agree with the manufacturer beforehand and include the agreement’s disclosure.
The deal gives you leeway to deal with sub-suppliers one on one.
Another limitation of IPC is that sometimes, the production process may take several weeks to complete.
In this case, the inspector may not see any finished products at all.
With this, it may difficult to verify the quality of goods by looking at videos and images of the process.
In some cases, the first products coming out of the production line may not reflect your quality requirements properly.
An initial production inspection may be beneficial in this case as you get to correct mistakes early in the process.
Something else to be aware of when conducting an IPC is some dishonest suppliers to look out for.
These suppliers will run a short production cycle just to get the inspector’s approval and make you happy.
Afterward, they subcontract the remainder of the production to another inferior factory or workshop.
You need to be careful when conducting IPC checks.
Also, perform follow-up checks to avoid such instances from disrupting your supply chain.
During Production Inspection (DUPRO)
During Production Inspection is also known as DUPRO or DPI.
DUPRO is a verification process during the production of goods and is conducted when production is 15%-20% complete.
The inspector will randomly pick and inspect the finished products.
He/she checks the product against the golden sample and your quality checklist.
If they pass the quality check, he/she accepts them into stock.
If he/she detects any defects or errors, he/she contacts you to intervene and have the mistakes corrected.
During Production Checklist
The DUPRO system ensures a high-quality level of product.
At the end of production, fewer products (if any) are rejected because of poor quality.
It creates cost savings and shorter production times for you.
Quality inspector picks random finished products for acceptance quality limit (AQL) check.
For instance, on shoes, he/she checks conformity to quality standards and strength of the raw materials and finished product.
The inspector inspects the color of the product, bond strength, laces, and closures, etc.
Requirements from your quality control checklist and his findings are matched to compare quality.
Phones and watches (electronics), He/she will check each component for quality and functionality.
The quality inspector checks the available rate. He/she inspects the camera, the touch screen, charging system, SIM reception, etc.
DUPRO monitors the activities of moving targets to record the speed of a moving target in time.
Monitoring will show if the production process is within the schedule or if there will be any delays.
Objectives of Performing a DUPRO
The purpose of the DUPRO inspection is to help the achievement of planned quality standards.
It comprises procedures aimed at inspecting work during production.
This inspection results in timely evaluations and decisions on immediate counteraction.
DUPRO can solve hidden problems in production, improve product quality, and cost control.
Monitoring makes mass production less expensive.
It eliminates mass errors and increases the quality of the product.
When you should Consider DUPRO
DUPRO can be beneficial in the following instances:
- In case you missed the Pre-production inspection; it is vital to have DUPRO
- When dealing with high-quality and sensitive products,e.g., phones, watches, dinnerware, etc.
- If you have a schedule and cannot afford delays
- When dealing with a manufacturer for the first time
- If you have mass/bulky production
- In the interest of protecting your brand quality and name
DUPRO helps detect errors and faults early.
Intervening (where necessary) to correct mistakes early saves you money and time; a stitch in time saves nine.
With DUPRO, there is a slight guarantee that you will end up with the right quality and quantity products and on time.
Limitations of DUPRO Inspection
Despite its many benefits, DUPRO comes with its share of limitations.
First, DUPRO inspectors do random sampling/checks during the inspection.
The sampling represents a certain quantity and not the whole batch.
Therefore, DUPRO does not guarantee that the rest of the production will be 100%error-free.
Daily Production Monitoring
Daily Production Monitoring means an on- the–scene inspection performed daily.
The inspector checks randomly picked goods against your quality checklist and the golden sample.
When to Consider Daily Production Monitoring
It would be best if you considered daily production monitoring when:
- Your goods are of chief value
- Producing fragile or hard-to produce goods
- You doubt the manufacturer’s abilities
- Working with a tight delivery schedule. So you need to keep the manufacturer on toes.
Daily production monitoring ensures all your specifications are in force.
Any defects the inspector identifies, the factory corrects early.
How long Daily Production Monitoring Lasts
The duration of production monitoring depends on the goods being produced.
The inspector is at the factory daily or almost every day to keep track until your order is complete.
Benefits of Daily Production Monitoring
Production monitoring provides many benefits.
One, you get daily reports on the quality of goods as well as the production schedule.
These reports, note, are often accompanied by videos and images, so you control the whole process.
Secondly, keeping an inspector on-site for daily monitoring eliminates quality inconsistencies.
The process monitoring ensures product quality specifications are met.
Other benefits of this form of quality control are that it prevents production and shipping delays.
It also helps you to understand the entire production cycle.
Limitations of Daily Production Monitoring
Having an inspector at the factory daily for production monitoring may be expensive.
Daily monitoring could add to the product cost eating at your profits.
It could also push you to revise product prices upwards, which might affect your sales.
Sample checking is an everyday activity in production and manufacturing.
This procedure involves picking a few products from the production line and inspecting them.
Sample checking is to ensure that they meet customer’s specifications.
In most cases, this helps to discover possible defects before mass production.
What happens During Sample Checking?
The inspector takes some products from a batch/lot and inspects for quality.
He/she does this before the production of the rest of the batch/lot.
The cost of doing a sample check is much less than carrying out this function for the lot.
Suppliers can make custom samples or pick from the existing lots.
You (the customer) may need to pre-screen the suppliers’ samples before mass production.
Pre-screening ensures they meet your quality standards.
Every piece is inspected following a checking sheet tailored to the needs of each customer.
Benefits of Sample Checking
The benefits of sample checking are as follows:
- It tests the quality of a whole batch or a lot of products minimizing risk and defects
- The basic idea behind sample checks is to save time, effort, and mass production costs.
- Sample checking verifies the stability, performance, and quality of the product. Also, it ensures that products meet the standards of the original design.
- The process enables you to meet customer’s demands and expectations. Consumers of the products usually have higher expectations of the products they buy. They thus only want to purchase items that match their standards.
So, sample checks ensure consumers receive products they feel comfortable purchasing.
Limitations of Sample Checking
With few items taken from the batch as a sample, the outcome gives a general result of the pack.
It might miss on faulty products.
Pre-shipment inspection is the examination and testing of products before it is shipped.
It happens when products are 80- 100 percent complete.
Pre-shipment is the final inspection that checks any fault and errors in your products.
Procedures conducted in Pre-shipment Inspections
The inspector inspects random samples from the packed boxes.
And using your quality checklist, he/she will check if the final product meets your requirements.
He/she will review the packing boxes to ensure their condition to hold our cargo in place.
The process takes place as follows:
Step 1: Factory Visit
Pre-shipment inspections take place on-site at the manufacturer’s premise.
Meaning, the inspector has to visit the supplier’s premises in-person to perform the PSI.
If they find issues with the products, they may recommend further tests and measures to correct them in time for shipment.
Step 2: Quantity Check
The inspectors verify the quantity of products which has to be in line with what you ordered.
They will also check the type and quality of the packaging used.
Packaging must meet regulatory standards and ensure the safety of products during transportation.
Step 3: Random Sampling
The quality inspector uses ANSI/ASQC Z1.4 (ISO 2859-1) as a standard sampling procedure.
If the shipment contains an acceptable number of quality defects, then the shipment can proceed.
Otherwise, the shipment may be rejected for rework and shipping at a later date.
Step 4: Compliance Checks
For this, inspectors verify if products conform to the recommended quality and industry standards.
They will check the product dimensions, weight, labeling size, and color checks and compare them with your original specifications (golden sample).
The golden sample is often built in strict compliance with all regulatory standards.
Step 5: Workmanship Check
In this stage, the inspector focuses on the physical attributes of the product.
Depending on the level of classification (major, minor, or critical), any defects are then dealt with accordingly.
Step 6: Performance Tests
Here, the focus is mainly on performance and safety.
Products must meet all requirements on the above.
- Function tests for apparel and footwear where inspectors perform physical examinations on the products.
For garments, they check the buttons and zippers to test strength and functionality.
A test for fabric density and composition is also done to determine the use of specified material.
- Mechanical and Electrical Testing. These are tests done on mechanical and electrical products such as automotive and electronics.
Tests on automotive look establish the safety of moving parts to avoid potential injuries.
Here, the inspector checks for uneven and sharp edges and tightening of screws and hinges.
Once the pre-shipment inspection is complete, the inspector will prepare a detailed report with his findings.
He/she will then send them over to you to go through and decide the next steps of action.
Importance of Inspecting Products before Shipment
Firstly, correct samples are not always used during DUPRO inspection.
Pre-shipment inspection will catch the faults.
It is critical to correct errors and faults at this stage before cargo ships to you.
If you miss this stage, defective goods will find their way to the shipping container.
Secondly, you know the quality and quantity of products you will receive before they arrive.
It gives you peace of mind when there is a guarantee of quality products.
It will please your customers too.
A pre-shipment inspection is an essential tool.
It ensures the quality of goods before shipment.
The inspection avoids the return of goods when they have already left the manufacturers premises.
It also verifies that imported goods meet specific established standards and regulations.
You get a comprehensive report from the inspecting company detailing the production processes.
You also get photos and videos (where necessary) for the whole process.
Standards for Sampling Procedures in Pre-shipment Inspection
Inspectors follow a standard sampling procedure.
The procedure is accepted as a single criterion for Pre-Shipment Inspection (PSI).
The standards for sampling in PSI are:
The quality inspector does not test every item.
These standards guide them on the samples to pick to represent the whole shipment.
Random sampling saves you both time and money, especially if you have a shipping deadline.
There are three levels of inspection, Level I, Level II, and Level III. Level III is more intense, and its sample portions are more.
You should choose AQL level III for a PSI inspection for more quality risk, expensive or sensitive merchandise.
For example, if you are importing medical equipment and motor vehicle, level III is more intensive and thorough than Level I and Level II.
Select Level II is your cargo is general.
It is the commonly used quality inspection level.
Level I involve fewer samples, and it is at the lower end of the inspection scale.
It is suitable for low-risk products.
Acceptance Quality Limit Table (AQL Table)
This table defines the highest number of defects acceptable in a batch that is tolerable by a buyer.
AQL standard is most used by the pre-shipment inspectors to inspect consumer merchants.
You may adjust it to best suit your requirements.
Although it varies between factories, it unbiased and provides a balanced view.
The Pre-shipment Inspection Report
The pre-shipment inspection report is a quality control document.
An inspecting company provides this document to you before shipping the merchandise.
This report can be manual or automated.
It summarizes the quality of the merchandise.
Both major nonconformities are compared to specifications, and minor ones are compared to sample inspection.
A draft report is given to the manufacturer.
It has an overview of the defects found during quality control.
It is assumed that the manufacturer can cut down or correct these problems before shipment by this time.
The factory manager signs the draft report to show that He/she is aware of everything in it.
Note the draft report only offers a general overview of the processes.
On the other hand, the final report is detailed.
It includes photos that give you a clear understanding of the flaws and errors present.
The report also shows all order specification checks, complete tests, and each detail explained.
The quality inspector doesn’t leave the final report at the factory under any circumstance.
You may, however, make a prior request a day before the pre-inspection.
Once you receive the final report, use it to guide you in judging your cargo’s quality.
If you feel some corrective measures need to be done, liaise with the supplier to effect the changes.
A final product inspection report, note, will include details on the following:
- Safety of your products
- Quantity of your merchandise
- Products’ craft
- Product color and sizes
- Export packaging boxes and their complacency standards
- Safety of the packaging
- All other requirements from your checklist and destination country standard requirements
Limitations of Pre-shipment Inspection
Some limitations of pre-shipment inspection include:
Conflict of Interest
The inspecting company serves to represent your interest by default.
But if they have a conflict of interest with your supplier, you may end up not getting the services you paid for.
Lack of Responsibility
Faulty goods may find their way into the shipping container.
Your manufacturer may refuse responsibility and blame it on the quality inspector.
The company may also refuse to take responsibility.
This denial leaves you responsible for all the losses that come.
Communicate your expectations with the inspecting company.
Supply them with the golden sample and your quality checklist.
Make sure that the inspector is not operating under assumptions.
Failure to have your expectations spelled out may not get you the desired results.
If the inspection company does not take your needs seriously, the results will not be in your favor.
Sorting inspections examine physical objects from the point of view of attracting preferential attention to the good’s qualities.
As per the rules, the inspector should inspect each physical item in its entirety. Inspectors are given a set of criteria that they might use to judge the quality of goods.
During the manufacturing process, each product passes through two separate sorting processes by hand.
The first inspection covers the product’s general quality (including sizing and appearance), and the second measures each product against strict specifications.
An inspector will always be looking for potential hazards present during sorting.
Risks like product overlap, mismatches, broken parts, or missing instructions can lead to hefty fines or even criminal charges.
Sorting Inspectors ensure that the products you receive are free of any defects and damage.
We will sort various parts by size, shape, color, and complexity to reject defective products or products that do not pass your quality standards.
Standards used by Sorting Inspectors
Standards allow fair competition from companies while providing quality products to the consumer.
These standards are uniform, so that makes a company compete pretty with local and international markets.
The standards used by sorting inspectors include:
- ANSI/ASQ Z1.4-2003 (R2018): Sampling Procedures and Tables for Inspection by Attributes. This standard system is a good sampling for AQL.
- ISO 2859-1:1999: acceptance sampling system for inspection by attributes. ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization.
Metal detection inspection is a quality assurance check.
The inspection is carried out to detect traces of metal and needles accidentally left in garments.
Why Invest in a Metal Detection Inspection
Metal detection inspection as a quality check will prevent:
- Customer injuries that result from broken needles and metals left in garments
- Lawsuits for your company. Injured customers may decide to take legal action against you. Such cases can be too costly, leading to financial losses.
- Your brand name being negatively affected due to poor publicity resulting from the lawsuits.
- Damages to other machines that come into contact garments containing the broken metals/needles. Repairing such machines may cost your company time and money.
Container Loading Inspection
Container loading supervision
Container loading inspection (CLS) is the inspection of merchandise unto the shipping container.
It happens at the manufacturer’s premises.
What happens in a Container Loading Inspection?
During container loading inspection, the inspector notes when the loading container arrives at the manufacturer’s site.
The weather condition on the loading day is also recorded.
In this inspection, random checks on your goods for quality, quantity, labeling, proper packaging, etc., are performed.
The inspector checks the export packaging boxes to ensure they are new and do not have folds.
He/she also checks the packaging boxes are for moisture and debris that may harm the goods.
Container loading supervision also includes external and internal inspection of the shipping container.
For this, inspections check for;
- Nails and other protruding metals
The shipping container should be free of the above elements.
It should also be clean and airy.
After checking the container’s condition, the CLS inspector then supervises the cargo’s loading into the container.
He/she counterchecks that all boxes make it to the container and then seals it to prevent interference and theft of your goods.
A report detailing the process is then sent to you by the CLS Company.
Benefits of Container Loading Inspection
CLS inspection protects you from receiving inferior quality goods.
It also offers the following additional benefits:
- Correct packaging material is used for packaging. Proper packaging ensures your merchandise gets to you safely.
- The quantity in your sales agreement is what is delivered to you.
- You get your goods on time.
- It saves you time and money
- You get peace of mind because you are assured of receiving the correct order safely.
- CLS helps you protect your brand name by ensuring you receive goods that represent your brand.
- Your clients are happy to receive quality products.
Limitations of CLS
Sometimes the factory/supplier may be uncooperative in unpacking the random boxes for quality checks or loading the container.
Lack of cooperation may cause unnecessary delays in the process, which may affect the shipping time.
Also, it may be necessary to include in the agreement who handles damages that occur during container loading.
If not well stipulated, both the supplier, the quality inspector may refuse to take responsibility.
This may leave you bearing substantial financial losses.
Container Unloading Inspection
Container unloading inspection is the supervision of cargo being offloaded from the shipping container.
Container offloading happens when the container gets to its final destination.
What happens in a Container Unloading Inspection?
A professional inspector does supervision the container.
He/she is responsible for ensuring that the goods being removed from the container are in good condition and not damaged.
He/she will also check to ensure that all the correct product information has been filled out and the paperwork is complete.
The individual doing the supervision is expected to document each item being offloaded at every moment.
Inspectors search for lost and damaged items by checking labels against shipments.
They may also inspect boxes and bundles to ensure that the contents match the paperwork inside.
Why invest in a Container Unloading Inspection
A certified inspector can help to countercheck your goods during unloading.
They will verify if the goods packed at the manufacturer’s premises are the same that you receive in quality and quantity.
The container unloading inspector will oversee the safe offloading of the merchandise from the container to your warehouse.
If there are any damages, they are noted, and you can follow up with your insurance company or the person responsible for the damages.
You get a detailed report of all the unloaded cargo and pictures to show the whole process. You can know the quantities offloaded and their state.
In case of any differences between what was loaded from the supplier, you can immediately intervene to recover your lost cargo.
Different types of inspection will help you monitor your manufacturing process and ensure that all quality control metrics are met.
Inspectors are vital to quality control and will happily tell you when something is wrong.
Lack of product inspections may result in producing a lot of items with flaws in them.
The result could be wasted money or a lot of frustration in the long run.
At BanSar, we will help you handle all quality control inspections through our reliable partners.
Talk to us now for all your quality inspection needs in China.