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How Do Product Inspection Services Work in China?

2024-03-21
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There are many advantages of having your goods made in China, with the main one being reduced procurement costs. Importers are able to procure products for low costs and rule their domestic markets. With proper pricing strategies, they can attract more customers and significantly increase their revenues.

Even though products in China are available at unbeatable prices, the suppliers must make sure they meet all the quality requirements. With advanced logistics and infrastructure networks, shipping from China is much easier than the past.

However, it is natural for investors to worry because they are geographically far away from the production process. They may have heard about instances where importers received shipments with substandard or defective goods.

When getting products from China, it is vital to guarantee they meet your standards. Yet, checking quality from a distance is tough because of language and cultural differences. That is where product inspection services help. This article discusses what product inspection involves, its importance, and how to ensure quality when sourcing from China.

What is a product quality control inspection in China?

It is an examination of a product's quality determines whether it satisfies the requirements outlined in a specific contract. The buyer determines a product inspection's scope of work. A few buyers prefer to hire inspectors in China only for pre-shipment inspection, such as visual inspection of:

- Quantity

- Quality

- Packaging

- Marking.

Many other buyers prefer to do a much higher level of inspection. These buyers need to hire an inspection agency in China, which will visit the Chinese supplier’s factory location to inspect the products during the process of manufacturing and to take samples to perform detailed laboratory testing.

Why is product inspection so important?

Product inspection is essential to guarantee receiving top-quality goods meeting your requirements, preventing costly errors, and conforming to regulatory standards. It allows early detection of any problems before shipping, avoiding delays or extra expenses linked to returning or replacing products.

Why should you hire 3rd-party inspection services in China?

For the average business, waiting weeks for a shipment only to discover faults is too risky. In-country product inspection services shift responsibility to the factory for any issues, ensuring perfect quality. Third-party inspections offer numerous benefits, providing peace of mind and avoiding potential losses due to faulty products.

1. Get an accurate test report

Third-party inspectors at the factory offer more accurate reports compared to relying solely on the manufacturer. Their impartiality ensures precise information, which aids in making well-informed decisions.

By avoiding potential biases, third-party inspectors provide the most reliable assessment of product quality, boosting confidence in the decision-making process.

2. It is cheaper to hire a local inspector in China

The third-party inspector you choose will possess extensive qualifications and specialized training in quality control and assurance procedures. This reduces the possibility that problems will be missed or misinterpreted. Hiring a qualified professional might also result in a more efficient inspection.

3. Protects from catastrophic revenue losses because of production mistakes

Unintentional mistakes, such as accidental errors in manufacturing or packaging, represent many issues encountered. While these mistakes are honest and unintended, they can still lead to significant challenges for your company.

A few intentional mistakes, like to cut costs, suppliers use substandard materials, can lead to poor quality, a common issue in low-cost manufacturing countries. This unethical practice can compromise the quality of the product and negatively impact your business.

Implementing inspections helps keep your supplier honest and focused. Many companies overlook this practice, so by prioritizing inspections, you signal to your supplier the importance of quality and attention to detail. This can lead to increased accountability and improved performance from your supplier.

Engaging in third-party inspections can contribute to the likelihood of receiving accurate and high-quality products in the future. Suppliers who witness your commitment to these inspections will recognize the seriousness with which your company approaches quality control.

This can motivate them to prioritize extra care and thoroughness in ensuring the correctness and quality of your products.

What are the different types of China product inspections?

Various types of on-site quality inspections occur at different production stages, each with a unique focus. Inspecting at every stage can be expensive, but overlooking quality control at crucial points can lead to irreversible consequences.

1. Pre-production inspection

Pre-production inspection occurs when raw materials and components are prepared at the factory, but production has not commenced yet. In pre-production inspection the inspector will do the following pre-production inspection:

- Raw materials

- Components

- Accessories

- Semi-finished products

- Production equipment

- Workshop environment.

Benefits

Since it is the earliest inspection, pre-production inspection enables the detection of issues at the raw material stage, preventing them from worsening at the end. This inspection offers the following benefits:

- Verify that the quantity and quality of components and raw materials meet the requirements.

- Preventing delivery delays by production scheduling and material handovers.

- Steer clear of using the wrong equipment for production.

- Don't mix faulty items with shipments if the problematic area is unclear.

Limitations of pre-production inspection

- Pre-production inspection ensures the availability of raw materials and production capability, but it does not guarantee that the finished goods will be flawless.

- Some suppliers will outsource the production process and transfer raw materials to a different factory following pre-production inspection in order to increase earnings.

- The manufacturing facilities and surroundings of the subcontracted factory are typically poor compared to the inspector's visits, as you may expect.

2. During production inspection

During production inspection (DUPRO) typically occurs when production is 10 to 20% complete. Assessing the initial finished products enables early detection of potential issues with mass production. The inspector checks the following during production inspection:

- Verify if production is in progress

- Evaluate whether capacity matches delivery dates

- Do random sampling of finished products

- Check the packaging, labels, marking, etc.

Benefits

During production, an inspection provides the first chance to inspect a finished product. It should occur as soon as production stabilizes to assess the manufacturer's actual production performance.

- Irreversible issues can be avoided by doing an early inspection of the completed product as it comes off the production line.

- Check to see if the manufacturer can produce the quality that the consumer requires.

- Check to see if the manufacturer complies with the demands of the client.

Should issues arise during the pre-production inspection, the inspector can address them during the in-production inspection.

Limitations of during production inspection

- DUPRO has clear limits. However, it is helpful for proactive supply chain management.

- There are frequently few completed goods when manufacturing line inspections are carried out. Furthermore, the in-production inspection fault rate is not indicative of the final delivery level because of the small sample size.

- Furthermore, compared to mechanical products, handmade goods are more likely to experience manufacturing problems in the future yet, as DUPRO only lasts for a single day, error-free manufacture cannot be guaranteed.

Hence, for critical orders with tight deadlines and zero margin for error, buyers may dispatch their quality control agent to monitor production at the factory over the long term.

3. Production monitoring

Production monitoring entails having a quality inspector from the buyer or a third-party quality control service present at the factory to supervise the production process, typically for several days or weeks. The product inspection services will perform the following checks during production monitoring:

- Verify whether the production schedule is on track.

- Verify whether the specifications of your finished product conform to the customer’s requirements.

- On-site testing is performed on the finished product to know its performance.

- Constantly observes processing procedures to make sure of proper operation.

Benefits

The constant supervision of production monitoring has resulted in a significant reduction in possible production issues.

- Production monitoring may prevent shipping delays.

- Production monitoring helps the factory to recognise and correct problems immediately after they occur.

Limitations of production monitoring

- While production monitoring is useful to assure quality assurance, it is also expensive.

- Inspectors need to be present on-site to perform their inspection duties, and the entire production process may usually last for days or months.

It may cost a buyer quite a significant amount of money to hire third-party product inspection services for constant production monitoring.

4. Pre-shipment inspection

Pre-shipment inspection involves a comprehensive series of product quality checks conducted by the inspector on-site before the goods are dispatched from the factory's warehouse.

Typically, this inspection takes place when the goods are fully produced at least 80% packed. In this pre-shipment inspection, the following manual checks will be performed by the quality inspector:

- Quantity of products produced

- Product appearance

- Product workmanship

- Product performance and functionality

- Product size and weight

- Packaging and marking of products

- Packing method

- Accessories for products.

Benefits

This popular type of inspection, during the pre-shipment stage, has the following benefits for buyers:

- Offers buyers the best quality control results and cost ratio.

- Verifies whether the goods are 100% manufactured.

- Verifies the product specifications and the performance of the entire lot.

- Avoid any delays in shipment due to product problems.

- Avoid making final payments for any faulty goods.

Limitations of pre-shipment inspection

While pre-shipment inspection remains the most common type of inspection in China, it still has limitations and may not address all issues effectively.

Pre-shipment inspection and container loading typically do not occur on the same day. It is common practice to schedule the container loading date about one week after the pre-shipment inspection. This allows the factory sufficient time to address any issues identified during the inspection before loading the container.

However, a challenge arises here. The pre-shipment inspector cannot confirm what the supplier ultimately loads into the container, whether all quantities are loaded, or if the loading method ensures safe transport.

Container loading supervision services are the perfect solution to such problems.

5. Container loading supervision

Container loading supervision is a quality control service performed by an inspector at the factory site. Its purpose is to ensure that the correct goods are fully and correctly loaded into the appropriate container.

While container loading supervision includes an examination of the product, its primary focus is on ensuring proper loading. Let us delve into what the inspector will specifically inspect during a container loading inspection:

- Check the container condition to avoid any leaks and odour.

- Check the container’s number and seal number to ensure it is the right container.

- Random sampling on packed products to make sure that they are the correct products.

- Ensure the carton is not damaged and is strong enough.

- Ensure that mixed goods are properly loaded in the sequence as needed by the customer.

- Prevent damage to packaging or cargo caused by improper loading.

Limitations of container loading supervision

Some foreign buyers opt to personally supervise container loading at Chinese factories. However, for businesses with multiple shipments, frequent travel to China is not practical. In such cases, relying on a third-party container loading monitoring service in China ensures continued operation and peace of mind.

However, loading supervision becomes ineffective if factory employees and workers disregard the inspector's guidelines. This is because the inspector oversees the process but does not directly load the goods themselves.

As the importer and buyer, it is crucial to emphasize to your supplier the importance of proper loading in advance. Formally inform your supplier that the inspector of product inspection will act as your representative in China.

Conclusion

Conducting product inspections is vitally important when sourcing products from China. Engaging the services of a professional inspection service can significantly contribute to ensuring that your products align with your standards while mitigating costly mistakes.

Numerous professional product inspection services in China specialize in delivering quality inspection services to Amazon sellers and overseas companies. It is advisable to reach out to these services to explore how they can assist in safeguarding the quality of your products and preventing expensive errors.

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