A Comprehensive Guide to Quality Inspection Costs

Quality Inspection Cost in China

If you are planning to import goods from China, then mastering how quality inspection works is important. When it comes to quality inspection, there seems to be some dissatisfaction in certain factors. One of the major issues where importers and QC companies seem to disagree is on Quality Inspection Cost (Check AQI All-inclusive prices).

Usually, there are two types of buyers, each with different views on the cost of services:

  • Type 1: Agree that the pricing is fair
  • Type 2: Not comfortable with the cost

A Comprehensive Guide to Quality Inspection Cost and quality control in ChinaAt first Type 1 consists of importers who believe that the prices are reasonable.  These buyers are quick to say yes when they hear that inspection costs $299 per day of work. What makes them quick to accept the charges?

Most of them come from countries whose quality inspection companies charge high fees. They also take into consideration the amount that it would have cost them to fly to China and oversee the whole process, which is higher. As a result, they prefer using quality inspection companies in China.

Contrary, Type 2 buyers think that the charges are exaggerated. Most of them will just directly compare the inspection cost to what English-speaking employees earn in China (around 6,000RMB) then divide it by 30 days.

While the margins can be deceiving, they don’t take into account the main cost that the company incurs in setting up a network through, supervisory, training, internal control, overhead costs. Product inspection companies also spend on client communication, travel expenses to factories, social security, taxes, and more.

Buyers from the first category are also ready to pay an additional fee if that’s what it takes for higher reliability and better service.

Most of the buyers in this category are buyers from medium to big companies who want to get everything right. They allow companies like AQI Service to survive by understanding and appreciating their contribution. However, this doesn’t mean that they want to pay extra. The buyers want to ensure that the fees are within limits in the market. Besides, they focus on speed, reliability, and convenience but not getting the “best deals.”

Another difference with buyers from category 2 is that they are after deals that favour them (reduce their expenses). These buyers will only pay the market price for quality inspection cost when it’s the only option. They are risk-takers who can compromise quality for something cheap. But, do you think this is rational? Well, not always. Paying the inspection companies well ensures that they will do their job and get it right.

How Much is an Inspection and What Does the Process Involve?

 You might be wondering what makes up the ‘man.day’ which translates to $299 for 1 man-day work which is the all-inclusive price for most random inspections.

Here are the inspector’s activities that 1 man-day includes:

  • Studying information provided by the client and the inspection checklist – between 15-30 min
  • Traveling to the factory – takes 1-3 hrs on average
  • Meeting with the manufacture representative and going to the warehouse – about 15 mins
  • Arrange the inspection room, workers, introduce the inspection process and needs to representative and workers how they should cooperate with inspector – about 15 mins
  • Confirming the shipment quantity, performing proper AQL sampling, moving products from sampling site to the inspection area, 30-45 mins. Check out the details of the sampling inspection process.
  • Conduct inspection on the outer and inner packing, the samples, unit packing (if required) – takes up to 4 hrs for lots of visuals, and reliablilty tests.
  • Wait for the lunch break to be over. The factory doesn’t allow inspectors to work on their own without their representatives. – 90 mins
  • Putting down the notes and then explain the results to the factory officials – 15 mins
  • Travel back home from the factory – takes an average of 1-3 hrs again
  • Drafting the report that includes photos and clear comments – 2 hrs on average

Overall, the job takes about 12 hrs, and it is more than just visual checks like what most buyers think.

The following extra travel expenses might apply depending on the distance covers:

Here are some examples:

  • Not more than 60k – covered in the price
  • 120 km – an additional $50 fee will be apply
  • 400km – an additional man-day fee at half the inspection price will be apply, and an additional $100 might be apply

NB: The costs such as transportation can change depending on the transport options available.

It is also worth noting that a day might not be enough for performing a thorough inspection in certain instances. Working 5-6 hrs means that the eyes can get tired, and some issues might not be visible. Adding more hrs is an efficient way to ensure everything is perfectly done.

What If You Are on A Small Budget?

When on a tight budget say your order is worth $500, paying for $299 might not be logic. But here is the good news, there are alternatives that you can use:

Here are some of them:

  • Ask for samples taken from the production of your supplier.
  • Request the supplier to send you many photos. You can also use a live video via Wechat to look at many photos.
  • Try to work with a wholesaler or China sourcing agent because buying directly from China might cost you more, which is not effective when trying to minimise risks.

What Does Quality Control Inspection Involve?

Let’s say you are importing goods from a Chinese supplier. When they send you samples, you notice some errors and the quality doesn’t meet your expectations. This can make you nervous, bust since you want to avoid the huge costs of traveling to China and doing the inspection, you hire an third party inspection company like AQI Service.

The minimum that the agency can do is to perform a Final Random Inspection (FRI), a few days before the shipping is done. It is the right time to confirm the numbers and check that perfect sampling is done from the whole batch then inspect those samples. The inspector will give you the findings indicating if the requirements and quality are met. If not, the reports will show you where the mistakes were found.

Related service: Pre-shipment Inspection and FBA Inspection

How Can You Set Up or Arrange Inspection in China &Asia?

Do you want to organise for quality inspection before your products are shipped from China & Asia? Here are some of the information that you need to provide to the inspection company.

  • Seller contact information including the factory address (if you don’t have then the agency will ask the supplier)
  • Description of the product. You can attach short videos and photos.
  • Description of the packing & packaging
  • Quantity breakdown (include the various colours, sizes, and models as required)
  • Quality standards that you expect, what you can or can’t accept.
  • Provide physical samples where possible

Related: Book Inspection from Third party Inspection

How to Reduce Cost in Your Quality Control?

Many importers rely on inspection companies to conduct the checks before shipment. While it is the cheapest means as compared to travelling to China and doing the inspection, the charges at about $300 per day work can accumulate to huge sums. If you are an importer then you might be thinking about the ways you can use to reduce the cost in quality control.

A Comprehensive Guide to Quality Inspection Cost and quality control in asia

Here are some of the good and bad ways that people use to cut the expenses:

3 Bad Ideas

  • Ignore inspection of orders less than a certain value, i.e. $20,000
  • Trying to minimise by paying the least time possible even against professional advice
  • Hiring cheap QC inspectors

While these might seem like quick solutions, you will realise that they can be costly. It also means that you are solving a problem but not from the source. The major source of issues that needs to be solved is an unreliable supplier. You will always find cheap QC inspectors, but it doesn’t mean that their services are great.

3 Good Ideas for Lowering Quality Inspection Cost (Buyer’s Side)

  • Come up with a detailed specification about the product and packaging
  • Don’t authorize production until the samples approved by your quality control team
  • Avoid making any payments before the products approved

4 Good Ideas to For Lowering Quality Inspection Cost (Suppliers Side)

  • Restrict yourself to working with few suppliers
  • Undertake serious audit every new factory before approving it
  • Offer training to your supplier’s middle managers and technicians on your requirements
  • Train some of their internal quality control employees how to inspect and audit their work regularly

When it comes to product inspection, prevention is the best approach. By applying some of these ideas such as training your supplier’s employees, you will be able to reduce risks and hence the overall inspection cost. However, this doesn’t mean that you compromise quality by going for bad ideas. Make use of the good practices that don’t expose your business to any harm.

What is AQL 2.5? 

AQL 2.5 is a term that hundreds of buyers and sellers encounter. It is part of the purchase orders from buyers to Chinese manufacturers. What does AQL 2.5 mean? While a common term, buyers and suppliers have a different understanding of this term. However, they both agree that it’s a tool used to measure the quality of products during inspection before shipping. This is true, but to clear the confusion among suppliers, sellers and third-party inspection, let’s look at its meaning.

Why AQL 2.5?

In trade business, AQL stands for Acceptance Quality Limit. is defined as “quality level that’s worst tolerance in standard ISO 2859-1. it’s a statistical tool to inspect a particular sample size for a given lot and set maximum number of acceptable defects.

The AQL 2.5 represents the ratio or percentage that is considered acceptable. Therefore, AQL 2.5 means that if defects found in the products, the buyer can accept up to 2.5% of the total quantity only.

Acceptance Quality Limit and Defects Classification

In Quality control inspections, defects are categorized into three groups; critical, minor, and major. Where the buyer has only indicated AQL 2.5, it means that the buyer accepts all the three types of defects in the products at 2.5 of the quantity ordered. However, considering how harmful products with critical defects can be to the users, it’s risky for the importer to include it in 2.5%. It is advisable to always mention the acceptable quality limit for each of the defect type.

So the standards indicate 0, 2.5, and 4.0 to be the quality limits for critical, major and minor defects, respectively.  Without these details, a quality control company and the supplier can consider that the buyer requires no limits on the major or critical defects and the limits are only for major defects.

so buyers should provide clear instructions or inspection checklist about their acceptable quality limits. because just mentioning AQL standard with no details is not enough because it creates room for misunderstandings

Additionally, the buyer should describe the AQL sample size if it’s different from the available standard ones used by the inspection company.

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