Performing diligent quality control is one of the most important steps of running a strong a China sourcing program. It is through a wide variety of different inspections (see our full list of available inspections) that you can ensure all three of the key performance requirements of a China purchase: price, quality, and delivery. For example, in our previous post we discussed the third requirement and how a Pre-shipment inspection (PSI) can help secure a complete and on-time delivery.

Furthermore, how well you prepare for your inspections can play a large part in how much utility you actually get from the inspection and how successful it ultimately is. Below are some tips I recommend that can help make sure that you or your contracted inspector are fully prepared before heading to your factory.

  1. Follow Up With Your Supplier

    Contact your supplier and their on-site quality department if they have one. Emphasize the key quality problems that you are concerned with and make sure that they are clear on your QC process requirements. The purpose of this is to make sure that you and your supplier are both on the same page and to save time for when you actually arrive.

  2. Background Check

    Look into similar products that the factory has made and check for quality problems so that you can get an idea of what you’re looking for when you arrive to inspect your order.

  3. Review Your Original Order Sheet

    Make sure you are completely familiar with what your original order, requirements, and specifications were by reviewing your original order sheet that was agreed to and signed by both parties. This will make it much easier to make your case against the supplier in the event that there are any quality issues. Make sure you review everything including materials to be used, packaging requirements, and delivery date.

  4. Collaborate with the Purchasing Manager

    Make sure that all arrangements and scheduling for the inspection are in order. Confirm all important dates related to the inspection to avoid any delays.

  5. Get Your Tools Ready

    Make sure that you have all the tools you will need for this inspection and that all are in good condition, reporting accurate data. It is important to note that not every inspection is the same and thus your tools will vary depending on the job. If you are using a 3rd party inspector, make sure that he/she understands all the technical requirements for the inspection and is equipped with the proper tools. If special measurement instruments are required for different parts of your product, you should make sure your inspector knows ahead of time which are needed and where these can be secured (e.g. which research institution or testing facility is equipped for that specific testing). Often times, several different specialized testing methods and tools will be needed for a single project.

The inspection process should be the one part of your China sourcing process that is fully in your control. In the words of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail,” a reality that anyone with experience in China purchasing can likely attest to. Make sure that you and your QC inspectors are fully prepared to avoid any delays that can ultimately be in your control.

How do you prepare for a QC inspection? What is the most important thing you have your inspector do before leaving for a factory?

  • Bob Zhang- CPG Quality Control Inspector