How to Accurately Define Defects
Minor May not be a problem for most users. The product most likely won’t be returned.
Major Not acceptable for most users in most circumstances. The end user may likely return the product.
Critical Could injure the user or even cause death in some instances.
Begin By Identifying Potential Defects
- Logos printed incorrectly or not in the right location
- Sewn seams misaligned or not stitched properly
- Product color shade is not accurate
- Product shape warping
- Flash from injection molding not properly removed
Organize Potential Outcomes into Categories
1. Material & Components
- a. Can the supplier provide any material certificate to ensure the raw material is according to your requirements?
- i. Ex: Stainless steel vs. Aluminum
- ii. Ex: Textiles may need a certain ratio of material; Polyester to Cotton
2. Assembly and Workmanship
- a. Include if your product needs to be assembled a particular way.
- i. Ex: Pockets assembled upside down; crooked stitching for textiles; components need to face a certain way.
3. Colors and finishing
- a. Include Pantone color number.
- b. Saying a color needs to be “Fire Truck Red” may not be enough, considering Fire Trucks in China are not all the same color. Instead, provide a color swatch for testing.
4. Weight and Dimensions
- a. Not every product is identical. Define dimensions along with tolerance levels.
- i. This is especially important for garment manufacturers, which require an extra level of precision.
5. Labeling, logo, tags, stickers
- a. Provide any labeling, logo, tags, and stickers on your product so that they can be checked against specifications.
- b. Location of the labels should be specified. Ideally thru photographs.
6. Packaging: retail packing, cartons, shipping marks
- a. Many importers disregard packaging, but how could they? Packaging protects goods during shipment and influence consumer perception of the goods.
- b. Don’t neglect packaging and labels. Be careful when planning to ship to distributors. Some impose labeling requirements.
- c. Amazon FBA centers are very particular with the packaging. Buyers who are shipping to Amazon are expected to be familiar with the most updated requirements from Amazon.
7. Product Testing
- a. This is the most neglected category. Many buyers assume inspectors carry equipment to carry these tests, which is rarely the case.
- b. It is the buyer’s responsibility to identify and ask the factory what tests will be conducted during inspection
- c. On-site tests are conducted on only a few samples. If the tests present the risk to damage the product, only a few are tested (example: a product drop test on three samples). If at least one sample breaks or stops functioning, the test is considered failed. However, it’s up to the buyer to decide whether it is a serious issue.
Explain Each Requirement Clearly
The Inspector’s Dilemma
As you create your notes, keep in mind, the more notes you include, the fewer the number units will be inspected. But also, the fewer your notes, the less the inspector will be able to grade according to your goals.
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