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How to Address Product Defects Found During QC Inspection?

What can you do when you find product defects during QC inspection? Do you ask your supplier to rework the affected goods? Is corrective action going to delay shipping the order? What other options do you have for addressing quality issues?

If you’re like most importers, you’ve probably asked yourself some or all of these questions at one time or another. That’s because defects are an unavoidable part of mass production. Even if you’re cautious about limiting quality defects in your order, chances are pre-shipment inspection will still reveal some in the finished goods. And the question of how best to address unacceptable quality issues is nearly universal among importers.

Maybe you’re concerned about balancing the benefits of fixing defects with the risk of damaging the product in the process. Or maybe you’re in a rush to ship an order and just want to know how to prevent defects found this time from recurring in future orders. Whatever your concerns, there are a number of ways to address quality defects now and in the future.

1. Corrective action through product rework

If product defects identified in QC inspection are correctable, one of the most common actions importers take is to ask their supplier to rework or repair the defective goods. By having factory workers remedy any unacceptable defects in your products, you can limit the number of unsellable units. Product rework is most suitable for defects that workers can easily fix in a short amount of time following product inspection.

For example, perhaps the wrong barcodes were printed on retail packaging. In this case, it’s relatively easy for the factory to print out a new sticker and apply it over wrong one. Another example is excess glue on the sole of a shoe. Sometimes factory workers can wipe away the residue with little risk of damaging the product.

Rework is often appropriate for these sorts of defects that require minimal time and effort for the factory to fix. It improves the quality of the order to an acceptable level for you and your customers, typically without causing more quality problems, increasing your costs or delaying shipment.

2. Re-inspection for reworked products

Importers choosing to have defective products reworked or replaced will typically request a re-inspection of the products after rework is completed, sometimes at the supplier’s expense. Re-inspection helps confirm that the factory has actually taken corrective action and the reworked products now meet your quality standards.

3. Product destruction for unsellable goods

For serious defects that render your goods unsellable and can’t be corrected, you may have to resort to destroying the defective goods. You’ll definitely want to consider all of your options before resorting to product destruction, but sometimes it’s a necessary step to take. Usually importers decide to destroy defective goods when they’re concerned about: protecting their brand from substandard, counterfeit goods, or preventing competitors and resellers from buying and selling their inventory.

4. Updating your QC checklist to prevent recurrence of product defects

You can generally address product defects almost immediately after they’re found during QC inspection. But you can also use inspection results to prevent recurrence of the same types of defects in the future. You should always update your QC checklist and product specifications following every inspection with any new and relevant information, such as: 

New or updated inspection criteria, especially newly known quality defects to report, adjustments to product dimensions, changes to product components or materials required.

Conclusion

Every importer wants to receive an order of perfect goods at their warehouse. But when you discover unacceptable product defects during QC inspection, it’s up to you to take action to address them and prevent their recurrence. And how you choose to address defects will depend on the type of defects found, your product type and your customers’ expectations.