Quality Control (QC)

Quality is one of the most important factors for a product’s long-term development. Still, often an importer does not have the opportunity to meet the supplier personally and be assured of the product’s quality, or, in the worst-case scenario, quality control is ignored completely. When paying for a product and its delivery without being certain of its quality, the buyer risks incurring financial losses, losing the planned profits, missing the due date.

The main flaws in quality and reasons for delays are often not connected to a supplier’s inability to manufacture the product according to specifications, but to bad communication, language barriers and various misunderstandings.

To avoid such a situation, it is important, especially in China, to perform quality control – to communicate actively with the manufacturer, to follow the manufacturing process and, if necessary, to put pressure on the manufacturer.

Quality control is performed:

  • Following the demands/specifications of the customer;
  • Randomly selecting samples for testing;
  • By documenting all product parameters and comparing those to the standard;
  • By completing audit questionnaires;
  • Through photography;
  • By verifying company data and evaluating its honesty for further partnership.

Forms of quality control:

A factory audit occurs in the factory before the order is placed. The goal of the factory audit is to evaluate whether the information provided by the manufacturer corresponds to reality, and to perform a more in-depth study of the factory.

A factory audit consists of:

  • Evaluation of technological possibilities;
  • Manufacturing capacity checks;
  • Photographing the manufacturing building and equipment;
  • Inspection and check of main documents and certificates;
  • Evaluation of quality systems;
  • Evaluation of manufacturing management.

Advantages of a factory audit

Before opening any discussions and before revealing any product specifics, the customer can be assured about the factory’s capability to fulfill the order, thus reducing the risk of losing time and money.

Quality control before the start of production (Pre-production inspection (PPI)) occurs following the initial factory audit and before the start of production.

Advantages of quality control before the start of production

The customer can be assured whether the manufacturer has correctly interpreted all order details and products specifications, and can also be assured whether the manufacturer is ready to fill the order in the allotted time. If any problems are revealed during the audit, the customer can prepare alternative solutions.

Quality control before the start of production includes:

  • Prototype and production material checks;
  • The manufacturer’s interpretation of product specifications is tested;
  • Manufacturing plan checks;
  • Production line checks;
  • Checks for main production process participants.

Quality Control of first samples (First article inspection) occurs directly following the start of production.

Advantages of a first article inspection

The opportunity to react quickly, if the manufacturer has wrongly interpreted product specifications and has started manufacturing an incomplete product. The first article inspection allows one to correct possible misunderstandings and to avoid as many time and financial losses as possible.

A first article inspection consists of:

  • Prototype and material status and quantity checks;
  • First article removal and comparison;
  • Production plan and schedule checks;
  • Factory checks.

A Production process inspection (During production inspection) occurs when 20% – 80% of the product has been manufactured.

Advantages of a production process inspection

A production process inspection allows one to ‘keep an eye on things’ and to follow the process and its results closely. If production rates do not correspond to those required to meet the customer’s schedule, the manufacturer is encouraged to speed up production and corrections are put in place.

The production process inspection includes:

  • Product external inspection;
  • Size and weight checks;
  • Function checks;
  • Accessory, logo and packaging checks;
  • Production material and incomplete product checks;
  • Production plan and schedule checks.

A pre-shipment inspection occurs when the production process is nearly finished or already finished. The inspection can occur in the factory as well as at the location of the logistics company.

Advantages of a pre-shipment inspection

In case the order has been completed inaccurately, the customer has the opportunity to refuse the final payment to the manufacturer, and to make complaints to the manufacturer before accepting the order.

A pre-shipment inspection includes:

  • Product appearance checks;
  • Quantity checks;
  • Functionality and safety checks;
  • Logo checks;
  • Packaging checks.

Container loading supervision occurs before the cargo is sent, as it is being loaded.

Advantages of container loading supervision

Sometimes the cargo must travel several weeks or even months to reach its final destination, which is why it is important to ensure that the packaging is suitable, that the number of units is correct, that the cargo has been loaded safely and that all other procedures occur according to the order. The container loading supervision allows the customer to be certain that, following several weeks of waiting for the cargo, the product in the container will be received according to the client’s order and desires.

A container loading supervision includes:

  • Product quantity checks;
  • Supervision of the loading procedure;
  • Packaging checks – corresponding to client/standard requirements;
  • Size and other specification comparison;
  • Certificate and other necessary document checks;
  • Container evaluation – size, units, marking.