When you’re an Amazon FBA seller, it’s important to get good quality products from your suppliers.
Sell low-quality items and Amazon might cancel your listings or even remove your listing privileges altogether. Too many sub-5-star reviews might cause shoppers to skip your product, leaving your sales in a slump.
If you want to avoid these situations, it’s important to take steps to ensure quality control. In our years of experience in the quality industry, one thing we’ve seen is that pre-shipment inspections can end up being a real lifesaver.
Pre-Shipment Inspections: What They Are and How They Work
If you’re serious about the quality of your products, pre-shipment inspections can help you achieve the quality levels you’re looking for. To do the inspection, an inspector will go to your factory in China once your order is about 80% completed.
The inspector checks a specified number of products, based on a standard called AQL (Acceptable Quality Limits). If your shipment is small (less than 1,000 units) it may be a good idea to inspect the entire shipment.
What does the inspector look for?
That depends on the details of your quality inspection checklist. A quality inspection checklist has all the different items for them to check. Your inspection company can help you to create this document.
The items on your checklist will vary depending on the specifics of your product.
For example, if you’re making coffee pots, you may want to check that the lid closes properly and that there are no scratches. You should also make sure that there is no dirt inside.
These are general items, but there are specific things that you need to check for when selling on Amazon.
3 Important Checks That Will Help Ensure Amazon Compliance
Amazon is very picky about what they will and will not accept. So, you need to be sure that you comply with their standards. Otherwise, they will not accept your shipment.
Have your inspector check for these specific things.
#1 – Labeling
Your label needs to have a white background, be clearly readable, and contain accurate product information. It should also be easily scannable. It needs a unique barcode and there should be no other barcodes showing on the packaging.
#2 – Packaging
Your packaging needs to be suitable to prevent breakage and leakage. It needs to prevent dirt from getting inside. It needs to survive the trip overseas and the trip to your customers. The package may be handled roughly, so carton drop tests are important.
#3 – Quantity Per Carton
It’s important that the outer cartons do not have mixed SKUs. You also need to have the same quantity of products per carton. For example, if your shipment contains 1,000 pieces, you could have 10 outer cartons with 100 pieces each inside.
Hiring an inspection services company to check all these things costs money.
Is it worth it? Are inspections really that important?
Why Product Inspections are So Important for FBA Sellers
You might think you can get away with not doing an inspection on your shipment.
Sure, you could turn out to be right. But, at the same time, you’re taking a risk that could end up costing you a whole lot of time and money.
In a recent article, we talked about the cost of pre-shipment inspections and whether they’re worth it. We brought up the concept of COPQ (Cost of Poor Quality). While inspections have a cost associated with them, there are also costs associated with things going wrong.
It is a lot cheaper to deal with quality problems while your goods are still at the factory. Once they’re shipped to your country, dealing with issues becomes more expensive.
How much would it cost to hire someone to rework your products in the US? How much time would you lose? What if they couldn’t be reworked and you had to have the factory start over again?
These are not questions you want to have to think about. Doing pre-shipment inspections can help alleviate some of these concerns.
Pre-Shipment Inspections Help You Manage Quality Control for Amazon FBA
Remember that hiring a third-party inspection services company can help you manage the quality of your products.
They’ll send an inspector to the factory for pre-shipment inspections once production is almost completed. To meet Amazon requirements, they should pay careful attention to the labeling, packaging, and carton quantities.
Inspections cost money, but they can help you avert risk, potentially saving you time and money in the long run.
And if you’re importing products, you have to strike the right balance between price and quality. To learn more about how to do this, we recommend reading the following white paper.
How Important is Quality, Really?
When you’re making products to sell in the marketplace, you have to consider the tradeoffs between price and quality. Sometimes, producing better quality products can lead to paying a higher price for manufacturing.
Download our free white paper, Price vs. Quality, to learn how to produce great quality while keeping your costs low.