8 Steps for Effective Quality Inspections When Sourcing from India
Quality inspection is a process and action to inspect the products manufactured by the manufacturer in accordance with the customer’s purchasing requirements, specifications, approved samples, and stated policies & protocols.
Or in other words, product quality inspection is a procedure that involves checking various attributes of a product and testing it to ensure that it meets pre-specified standards. The factory’s quality control team, a buyer, or a third-party inspection company can conduct this inspection.
When you make consumer products to sell on Amazon or other e-commerce websites, you need to ensure that they are well-made. If people buy your product and it breaks easily or doesn’t work as expected, they’re likely to return it and give you a bad review. In such cases, product quality inspections are an essential tool.
Especially if your manufacturer is in India or overseas, you need to rely on quality inspections or a 3rd party inspection company to ensure that your supplier is delivering products that meet all your expectations and requirements.
Here are some steps you can take to maximise inspections when sourcing from India:
1. Inform supplier of inspections in PO
It’s important for manufacturers to be aware of the inspection process while procuring raw materials or during production to work effectively.
Therefore, you should inform the supplier that an inspection will be done while raising a PO (Purchase Order).
2. Give detailed product specifications
Not only do you need to define which items should be inspected but also what should be checked in the product. This is because each product serves a unique purpose, and so the inspection criteria is different as well.
So you need to prepare all the required detailed specifications about the product and to clearly communicate them to the manufacturer well in advance at the initial stages before production starts.
This helps both the manufacturer and quality inspector understand requirements and build quality into the product right from the beginning.
3. Create benchmarks for product inspection
One of the most important things you need to do is to create a benchmark for product inspection. You will need to get a sample in a perfectly working condition from the manufacturer and approve it. This sample will be treated as a benchmark or standard. It is known as a “golden sample” and there are various other names used by different buyer segments.
This sample will help you align your quality expectations with your manufacturer. It also tells you that all possible product revisions are complete, and the product is ready for mass production.
You will need to send a golden sample to your manufacturer because they will use it as a physical point of reference. Make sure to approve the sample after thoroughly reviewing it. Your entire product line depends on this sample.
4. Establish AQL criteria
Once you know what should be tested, you must define the standards that quality engineers will use to test against.
Defective products are usually categorized into 3 buckets:
- Critical defects
- Major defects
- Minor defects
If you purchase general consumer goods, you can probably accept a certain percentage of defective goods.
You will define acceptable levels of variance for each element as well as anything that should automatically result in a failure. Documenting quality standards is important to ensure inspections are consistent.
5. Design an inspection process
Using a system to communicate to quality engineers exactly what you want to be inspected, ensures no matter who is conducting the inspections, you will get consistent results.
Workflows and work instructions walk the inspector through the inspection and prompt them to capture results effectively.
6. Create a procedure for handling defects
What happens when an item fails inspection? How many failures can you have per lot before the inspection fails? You should set up guidelines that define what to do with the failed item as well as the associated lot. This could be further inspection of the lot, trigger a return to the vendor, or a quarantine and release strategy.
7. Be ready to modify
Make a note of all situations in which you might want to modify your existing quality standards. For example:
- Changing a component or material in your product
- Manufacturer’s failure to meet your quality targets
- Cut down time going back and forth with inspection
- Modify the level of acceptable defects
It is important to continuously modify your quality plan to suit changing requirements.
8. Ask for detailed reports
Last and a critical aspect of the product inspection process is reporting.
As a buyer, you are entitled to receive a detailed written report from the third-party quality inspector or company.
The report should describe the issues or defects found during the inspection. Usually, the report will deem your product as Pass / Conformed or Fail / Not Conformed or Hold / Pending. The report will also provide many photos of the products and tests that have been performed.
Sometimes, you may receive an initial report after completion of the inspection on the same day, and a final detailed one after the review within 24 working hours after the inspection has been done.
After reviewing the report provided by the quality inspector, and depending on the result, you need to convey corrective action to the manufacturer and resolve issues, if there are any.
Good quality management is essential to the health of your business, and a well-written quality plan can help you achieve your desired results.
When you are sourcing overseas it’s important to choose an efficient quality control partner or 3rd party inspection company, who will play a vital role in procuring the best quality product.
This article is written by Jyothi K from RSJ Inspection.
RSJ is India Sourcing Network’s recommended agency for QC and inspections.
They provide inspection, factory audit, document verification and such value-added services.