5 Types of Quality Inspections All Importers Should Know

by | Jun 14, 2019 | Pre-Shipment Inspections, Product Inspections, Quality Control

For many importers sourcing products in low-cost countries, third-party inspections are an important part of their quality control efforts. 

Inspections allow you to get an eye on what’s happening at the factory when you can’t be there in person. They are also conducted following industry-standard practices like AQL to help ensure that you get a statistically accurate picture of your shipment.

Woman with CalipersThey can help you uncover things like non-standard materials and deviations from specifications. And they put pressure on your suppliers to manufacture products exactly to your quality specifications.

Many importers don’t realize that there is more than just one type of inspection.

They know they can conduct a pre-shipment inspection (or Final Random Inspection) once production of their order is complete. But they don’t know that there are four other types of inspections that they can use as tools in their quality control toolbox.

Depending on your industry, the types of products you sell, and the risks associated with your specific suppliers, it may be appropriate to consider a mix of these 5 inspection types over the course of your relationship with a supplier.

So what are the 5 inspection types?

Today we’re providing a summary of each one so that you can get a high-level understanding of what gets checked, when and where they are conducted, and why you might consider them.

You can follow each link for more details. 

#1: Pre-Production Inspections (PPI)

What: Check the quality of raw materials, a prototype, or factory readiness.

When: Once the factory has received raw materials and before production starts.

Where: On-site at the factory.

Why: You are working with a new supplier, are concerned that an existing supplier may be substituting cheaper materials, or you have critical delivery dates. 

#2: During Production Inspections (DUPRO)

What: Check completed products, including visual check, dimensions, packaging, labeling, functional testing, barcode verification, drop tests, other checks specific to your product. 

When: Once at least 20% of production has been completed. 

Where: On-site at the factory. 

Why: You are producing large quantities in continuous production and cannot afford delays. 

#3: Pre-Shipment Inspections (PSI)

What: Check completed products, including visual check, dimensions, packaging, labeling, functional testing, barcode verification, drop tests, and other checks specific to your product.

When: Once 100% of your products are produced and they are at least 80% packed.

Where: On-site at the factory.

Why: You want to verify the quality of your order before it ships so that you don’t pay for defective or unsafe products. 

#4: Loading Inspections (LI)

What: Check completed products, including visual check, dimensions, packaging, labeling, functional testing, barcode verification, drop tests, and other checks specific to your product.

When: Once your goods are ready to be loaded onto the container.

Where: At the site of container loading.

Why: You want to verify exactly what is going into the container or ensure that suppliers are following specified loading plans. 

#5 Sort Inspections (SI)

What: Separate out defective units from non-defective units and get an exact count of each.

When: Once an issue has been discovered with products that are already produced and you need to sort the good from the bad.

Where: At the factory, a distribution center, or wherever your products are.

Why: You want to separate out defective units, get an exact count of acceptable units, and proceed with only the acceptable products.

Use All the Tools Available to You

As an importer, you have to manage quality control in a way that is most appropriate for your industry, product type, and individual situation. 

That means considering a mix of different inspection types so that you can be sure to cover all your bases. 

By understanding all the tools available to you through third-party inspection companies, you can come up with a plan that is effective at ensuring the quality of your products. 

4 Common Misconceptions About Product Inspection Services

4 Common Misconceptions About Product Inspection Services

Sometimes we get clients that think we can fix all their manufacturing problems. And it’s true we do a lot to identify and prevent – ensuring future problems are kept to a bare minimum. But, quality service providers do not insert quality into your product.

In this white paper, you’ll learn how inspection services really work and how to get the most out of your relationship with an inspection company. 

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