Starting Third Party Inspection
If you are importing goods for the first time, then knowing where to start can be tricky. The situation can be even worse when you have been importing without conducting a product inspection by a third-party inspection company.
Like most buyers, you might be wondering what to tell your supplier about your new decision. Well, you need to understand how important performing quality control using third party professional services is to your business regardless of the supplier’s reaction.
Quality control inspection is an essential process of import that any shipment should go through. Inspecting your products doesn’t mean that you don’t trust your supplier. Mistakes happen, and some errors on the products can go unnoticed by the factory employees. that’s why using a third party company to do the inspection helps you to get an independent opinion.
There is also a high risk when dealing with a new supplier, and some companies subcontract to lower-grade factories which is why you should use a third-party inspection agency.
So, what steps should you follow when starting? Here are 4 efficient steps that have helped some buyers to start quality control.
1. Develop Your Expectations, Create Quality Control Checklist
When importing products, you need to have some protocols. Don’t just pick a sample, negotiate a price, and leave it to the supplier to deliver. While this can work for standard items with fewer quality requirements or safety constraints, it might not work for made-to-order items.
Before buying, make sure you get perfect samples; exactly what you get after the production. Even after sending the supplier your specifications, confirm that they accept them and will deliver as required. The inspector will also use the checkpoints when performing the inspection.
Related: What is a Quality Control Checklist?
2. Perform Early Inspection
Many importers rely on the Final random inspection only.
While it’s a good way of checking that everything is in place and the quality is good, it might not be quite effective for all shipments. For starters, finding errors on the finished goods means slows the delivery and mounts pressure on the supplier. When mistakes are found on the goods, it means you start dealing with re-production, order or air freight cancellations, and penalties.
Instead, you should try sending the inspectors to the factory when the production is on-going.
It helps in detecting and correcting mistakes early, which is beneficial to you and the company. You can state how important the inspection is to the factory when discussing with them your intentions of using a product inspection agency.
Benefits of During-Production Inspection include:
- It ensures that production happens in the right factory; has all the resources needed
- Allows for pickup of samples randomly for testing
- Helps you avoid delays in shipment since mistakes are corrected immediately upon discovery
- Enables you to plan hence avoiding cancellations or penalties
However, you need to understand that most Chinese suppliers might not welcome the idea. They see QC inspectors as annoying, especially if they have worked with you in the past without an inspection company. They hardly admit the importance of inspection.
3. Quality Inspections Is Not an Option, It’s a Process
The signals you give to your supplier matters a lot. Right from the start, get things straight by letting the supplier know that the products have to pass through inspection.
Considering how QC control impacts your business, it’s not something to choose whether or not to perform. The harm that a small mistake made in production can do when it arrives at your customer unnoticed can be damaging.
Here are some of the things that you should do:
- Indicate clearly on your P/Os that quality inspection is required before shipment
- Ask for a passed inspection report from your chosen QC provider if you pay using a letter of credit.
- Request for additional samples for use by the inspector when developing a new product
- Keep records of the final inspection date and not just the shipment date
Many importers, thousands, use these standards, and they can help you to smoothen the process.
However, you still have the option of skipping the inspection if you are dealing with a reliable supplier. But, keep in mind that it’s you to make that decision. So, your supplier shouldn’t steal that right from you. Let them perceive the inspectors as extensions of your company.
It is also important that you choose the inspector wisely. Pick professionals who respect the sellers as it ensures that they work smoothly.
4. Don’t Be Too Soft or Hard on The Supplier
Keeping your supplier on toes in delivering quality goods doesn’t mean that you play tough. You also don’t want to be too soft on matters of quality to avoid your standards being compromised.
So, what is the best approach? You must find the right balance between the two to ensure everything is done correctly.
When you issue your specification to the sellers, they have no choice other than to comply with the requirements.
Failure to comply means they incur a re-inspection fee or get charged penalties. Charge-backs result from late and unplanned chances or breach of quality requirements. How it happens is that the inspector will charge you the inspection cost then you will re-invoice everything to your supplier. However, charge-backs mostly work well for large buyers who are established and powerful enough to apply the penalties on sellers.
If you are a small-medium sized importer, then you should not depend on final inspection. Unlike the big companies, you don’t have the power to apply charge-backs.
Performing early inspection can help you to detect mistakes on time and come up with solutions.
Besides, it relieves tension to the factory, ensuring that they produce quality goods. After ensuring the production is perfect, performing the final inspection becomes easy with fewer chances of finding mistakes.
Author: AQI Service as a professional quality control service company in China specialized in providing a complete range of quality inspection and testing certification services in China & Asia for global importers, buyers, retailers, and sellers.
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