How to Avoid Quality Control Disasters: Don’t Make These Mistakes

by | Dec 15, 2017 | Quality Control

Quality control is important. When you’re working with manufacturers, there are an endless number of problems that can occur when you least expect them. That’s why you need to take the proper precautions to ensure everything goes smoothly.

In our years of experience, we’ve seen people do the right things… and the wrong things. In fact, we’ve seen total quality disasters that served as expensive lessons for the companies that experienced them.

What kinds of disasters? Let’s talk about some. 

4 Quality Control Disasters We’ve Seen and How You Can Avoid Them

Some of our customers had to learn things the hard way before they worked with us. Here are some situations customers found themselves in and the lessons you can take away from them.

#1 – Holiday Decoration Blunder: Why Approval Samples are so Important

When you’re manufacturing products in Asia, you should always have an approval sample, also known as a “golden sample.”

An approval sample is one that has been made perfectly to your specifications. And you can use it to verify that all future production units match it.

The customer in question had designed some hanging Christmas decorations that said, “Let it snow.” They had also designed some Mother’s Day items with the words “Mother’s Day” on them.

When they received their shipment, they were quite disappointed. The Christmas decorations had an unsightly misspelling. They said, “Leb it snow,” with a b instead of a t. And not only that, the Mother’s Day items they received were missing an apostrophe. They said, “Mothers Day.”

If they’d had an approval sample, the items could have been compared against it by the quality inspector. But without it, the inspector didn’t recognize that anything was wrong.

#2 – Jewelry Customer’s Nightmare: Why You Need to Specify Everything in Your Requirements

It’s important that you are very specific in your requirements for the factory. You should think about everything that goes into your product. And no detail, no matter how small, should be left out.

A jewelry customer of ours placed an order with a new factory they had begun to work with that included a number of different styles. The samples were received, reviewed and approved by the customer and used during the inspection, which passed.

About two months after shipment, the complaints began to roll in from the retail stores that the stones were all falling off in the store. Why was this happening? Because the factory had used a poor quality glue.

Since no glue type was specified in the requirements, the factory made their own choice and went with a lower price glue that was of much lower quality.

After determining the issue and with no fix available, all remaining items had to be removed from retail and the company lost over $10,000 dollars on this single order due to poor quality.

Make sure every detail is specified in your requirements and leave nothing out. 

#3 – Fire Pit Fiasco: Why You Need to Have Products Inspected Before Shipment

After your products are produced, you need to have them inspected at the factory. This will help you catch any issues before shipment, saving you time and money.

We had a customer who was making fire pits for a major retailer. The fire pit carton had four sides that needed to be stapled to ensure the box did not come apart. But the stapling was not done and they were shipped to the USA. Upon arrival in our customer’s distribution centers, the cartons were separating at the point where it had been specified they were to be stapled.

The company had to bring in teams of people to rework thousands of units. The rework cost them tens of thousands of dollars.

Always remember the importance of hiring a reputable third-party inspection company to inspect at the factory. When problems occur, you can deal with them much more easily.

#4 – Box of Doom: Why You Need to Think About Master Carton Packaging

Sometimes factories will try to use the lowest quality materials they can get away with. That includes the master cartons that your products go into for shipping.

We’ve noticed that customers don’t often think about specifying the quality of master cartons. And we’ve seen firsthand the disastrous results that occur.

When you put boxes upon boxes into a container, the weight of things on top can crush the things below them. This is how products get damaged.

We’ve seen far too many people have their products damaged as a result of poor quality corrugated master cartons. This is a basic specification that should not be overlooked, and you shouldn’t let it happen to you. Remember to always specify the quality of the boxes for your master cartons. 

Hopefully, You Won’t Make the Same Mistakes These Companies Did

As you can see from these examples, you need to be aware of the different types of issues that can occur with your product including instruction manuals, product packaging, master carton durability, and labeling and most importantly the product itself.

That means you should ideally always have an approval sample with specifications that detail for how your product is made and with what components and to what level of quality. It also means you need to have your products inspected before shipment to provide a high degree of confidence to ensure what you receive is what you ordered.

These lessons have cost many companies time and money. And, if you learn from their mistakes, you can put yourself into a better position.

If you need any more advice about quality control or are looking for a quality inspection company, contact us! We are happy to help discuss how to make sure you receive the quality you expect.

Price vs. Quality: What You Need to Know

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.

Thanks for reading! Do you have any questions about the article? Is there something else you’d like to add? Leave a comment below and we will get back to you.

Andy Church

Founder & CEO, Insight Quality Services


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