The Four Major Types of Quality Inspections in Asia

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Owning and operating a sourcing company in China, I get to speak with a lot of people importing and manufacturing. It amazes me how often importers neglect to utilize China Quality Control services during their production.

While I always recommend that all DIY importers should have their products inspected by some form of quality third party inspector at least once while their goods are still in the factory, it can be confusing at times to determine when an inspection should take place.
We’ve created this guide that will go over the four most basic forms of inspections. We’ll explain the benefits of each type, tips to make the most of each inspection, and how to be sure you’re fully prepared for the inspection to begin.

How to decide when to do an inspection

A few hundred dollars spent on inspections can be one of the greatest investments you can make when importing from China; saving you weeks of delays from potential quality and product rework. Knowing when and how to use them can, on the other hand, be somewhat of a challenge. Luckily, these guidelines will make your selection much easier.
In general, there are four main types of quality inspection services to choose from:
  • Pre-Production Inspection (PPI)
  • During Production Check (DUPRO)
  • Container Loading Check (CLC)
  • Pre-shipment Inspection (PSI)

Pre-Production Inspection

Pre-Production Inspections (PPI), also known as Initial Pre-Production checks (IPC), are usually carried out before the production starts. For this inspection, components and materials are inspected and validated to make sure they match your requirements.
When to Make a Pre-Production Inspection
Suppliers will often over promise and under-deliver on important factors that can take a toll on your price, quality, and lead-time. In general, it is best for buyers to have an inspecting agent visit their factory to check their product’s components and materials. This can catch potential quality-related issues early and prevent them from causing delays later on during mass production.
What are the Advantages of a Pre-Production Inspection?
In general, Pre-Production Inspections (PPI’s) help ensure your production is off to a great start, and help maintain it throughout the manufacturing cycle. They also work great as a trial phase, making sure your sample components and materials match your product specifications.
Even better, send your samples along with a comprehensive SPEC Sheet (more can be found in our other article, How To Use A Product Specification Sheet To Improve Your Product’s Quality) for an even better assessment.
Other Benefits:
What are the Drawbacks?
How to Make the Most of your Pre-Production Inspection

Provide a SPEC Sheet: Are your product requirements clear and organized? – Provide a SPEC Sheet (more can be found in our other article, What to do before the order is placed to reduce risk of quality problems).

 

Plan Before Moving Forward: Make sure you have added all your product specifications BEFORE production starts. No one wants to deal with a buyer that makes changes mid-way through production!

 

Have a Plan B: Make sure corrective actions are included, planned and understood between you and your supplier.

It’s best to provide your inspection agents with a physical sample to be referred throughout the first production run. An on hand sample can ensure your materials, texture, color, size, weight, and other features match your finished goods

In-Process or During Production (DUPRO) Inspection

In-Process or During Production Inspections (DUPRO), takes place when 10 ~ 50% of your goods are completed and packed. Inspectors can be sent to the factory to identify problems as they occur while your products are being manufactured; units are selected randomly from the production line and compared to your product specifications. Potential delays caused by production errors and quality defects can be caught early, and reworked on site.

When to perform a DUPRO Inspection
Early inspection of your products, especially during the early manufacturing cycle is the most efficient way to prevent last minute quality delays.
What are the Advantages of DUPRO?
Other Benefits:
The Disadvantages:
How to Make the Most of your DUPRO
A good thorough DUPRO inspection should include the following things:

Container Loading Check

A container loading check, also known as (CLC) takes place once production is complete and your goods have been packed and loaded into containers, ready for transport. Your specifications, labeling, barcodes, and packing materials are all checked to match your requirements.
When to Make a Container Loading Check
Normally, CLSs take place in the factory when goods are loaded into containers for shipment. Quantity is accounted and checked during this stage. This can be a good option if packaging is essential to you.
What are the Advantages of a Container Loading Check?
Other benefits:
What are the Drawbacks?
How to Make the Most of your Container Loading Check
If you send inspectors only after production is completed, it is simply too late to replaced or re-work defective goods. I suggest you conduct inspections while your product is in production, that way defects can be caught early. This will save you time and money.

Pre-Shipment Inspection?

Pre-shipment inspections (PSI) also known as the Final Random Inspection (FRI) occur when 100% production is completed, and 80% of the goods have been packaged.
When to Make a Pre-Shipment Inspection
Ideally, Pre-Shipment Inspections should take place in the factory, before your goods are transported (when your goods still have the chance of being repaired). This way it makes it harder for your supplier to hide defective goods.
Buyers should perform Pre-Shipment Inspections at least 2 days before their shipment date. It’s best to build yourself some breathing room (~2 weeks) in the event goods fail inspection and require reworking.
What are the Advantages of a Pre-Shipment Inspection?
PSIs make sure your goods are packed, marked, palletized, documented, and checked before being loaded and transported. And most importantly, ensure you are being sent what your factory promised to deliver.
I highly recommend providing your inspection agents with a Product Specifications Sheet. It can be used as a quality checklist and ensure requirements are followed.
Other benefits:
What are the Drawbacks?
How to Make the Most of your Pre-Shipment Inspection
Buyers are always pushing their suppliers to ship out their goods in a rush, and often, these expectations get pushed onto the inspectors as well. Do yourself and your inspection agents the favor and build in adequate time for your inspections.
Here are some of the consequences of rushed orders:
There you have it! Hopefully the concept of inspection services is a bit more clear. What I can’t stress enough is the importance of doing inspections on each and every production out of China! We have seen some absolute disasters when people want to save a few dollars and skip or skimp on inspection services. In fact, we’ve seen a business lose over $250,000 just because they didn’t inspect their production and had no recourse for action.
They had to file bankruptcy. Don’t chance it. We offer extremely cost-effective inspections services and would be happy to talk with you about how we can help you ensure your production is done right, and defect free.

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