Quality control inspections help ensure that your product is being manufactured according to your standards and expectations. Here's how to get started, how to avoid pitfalls, and how to get the most out of inspections.
The Basics of Quality Control (QC)
If you are planning on having a new product manufactured overseas, you may be concerned about whether your product looks the way you envisioned and does what you want it to. Quality control inspections ensure that they do and are oftentimes an important part of the goods production and importing process.
Before beginning, you should review several key points about quality control: how to get started, how to avoid pitfalls, and how to get the most out of inspections.
How to get started
First, be aware that though Asia can be a great place to purchase cheap products for resale in the US, you may encounter product functionality or aesthetic issues, or not even receive the product at all.
To avoid being scammed, try to find a supplier who has references, or use online services such as Alibaba, Global Sources, or Import Genius to help you discover manufacturers. You will want to establish a strong relationship with your supplier. The ideal situation would be to meet them in person, so that both you and your supplier can put a face to a name.
Setting up roadmaps with your suppliers – including timing, expectations, etc. – will be infinitely helpful in both managing and measuring progress. Be sure to look up what tests or certifications are required for your specific product, not only for safety and compliance on behalf of the general public but also to save yourself time and money when you try to import your products into the U.S. With Customs checking out shipments entering into the U.S., any issues that come up with your products may result in delays and potentially financial loss.
Many suppliers may also ask for payment upfront. However, we would advise that you negotiate a partial payment: a deposit upfront and the balance after quality inspection. This has the added benefit of incentivizing your supplier to produce a quality product, since the remainder of the payment is due only after you are satisfied.
Get the most out of inspections
Be detailed with your instructions. Being as nitpicky as possible with product specifications will ensure that the inspector checks for every little detail. Though they are experts, these inspectors may miss key product specifications that you are aware of (since you’re the one with the hand in the project from start to finish).
Sending your inspector a reference sample can help him understand exactly what you expect, but your product specs should also be written out in detailed form for the inspector to ensure that everything is on the dot.
Quality control in general is a good investment. It averages about $300 per inspector hour, and it’s worth sinking cash into making sure your products are good before they ship out to your door and surprise you with problems.
Bonus tip: if you are able to go audit the factory yourself and meet your supplier face-to-face, check out the bathroom that their employees use! Chances are if the employees aren’t getting the best treatment, neither will your products.