In China, it can be difficult to find suppliers who pay as close attention to quality as you do. Often as a new client of a supplier, the quality of your first order (or first few) is satisfactory. But as orders and money come through regularly, suppliers become lax with their quality control. You can imagine how costly it is when quality issues occur with your orders. Read about the ways to prepare before a quality control inspection. For those of you buying directly from the factory, here are three general tips to help you prevent quality control issues with inspections prior to final shipment.

1. Fully Understand your Products Quality Requirements:
Don’t rely on the factory to advise you on what is important for quality. Have a complete understanding of your product and the quality needs, especially for the market you intend to import to. Have a document made for the quality criteria so that you can have an inspection done according to your requirements.

2. Perform Third Party Inspection:
Though your factory will have its internal quality control, it is important and often necessary to perform third party inspections. As you may know, there are countless companies that can help you perform authorized inspections on all kinds of products. Look for a company with a track record and experience with your item. These companies should have the necessary equipment and trained professionals to ensure quality standards for your products. If you are working through an agent, they may also be able to conduct a third party inspection or find a reliable company to subcontract to. There are many different kinds of inspection servicesavailable.

 

Typical Quality Control Inspections1

3. Conduct Testing and Use Laboratories for Certification:
Depending on your product and the requirements of the country you are importing into, you may need to conduct testing on your product and get certification. There are several companies that can certify your product or factory. Two well known companies are listed below.

  • The SGS Group is a leading verification, testing and certification company. They operate a network of more than 1,350 offices and laboratories around the world. In China they operate under SGS-CSTC Standards Technical Services Co., Ltd., which is a joint venture between SGS Group and China Standard Technology Development Corp., under the State Administration of Quality Technical Supervision.
  • China Certification & Inspection Group (CCIC) is an independent third party certification organization dedicated to providing verification, certification and testing services, with accreditation by General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China (AQSIQ), Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People’s Republic of China (CNCA), and China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment (CNAS).

There are many laboratories that can help you inspect goods in detail prior to shipment. However, this method is typically contingent upon suppliers physically sending samples to the laboratory for quality inspections. At the laboratory, they can conduct very detailed testing, for example material composition, reactivity to chemicals, flame resistance, etc. The disadvantage of using laboratories is that suppliers can choose to only submit high quality samples for inspection, which would not help identify any quality issues with the final delivered product. So laboratories are a great complement to the third party inspection, but not a replacement.

A complete quality control process is very detailed and complex. With a good understanding of your products needs, your options for third party inspections and certification you are on your way to a good start.

1 By Al Jazeera English (Quality control) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons