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How to do a Remote Quality Check before shipping from China?

JS Sourcing Staff Jun 15, 2023 Reading length : 7 min
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In the last decade, exports from China and neighboring countries account for around 40% of all the goods traded worldwide. That is, around 40% of products bought from overseas buyers, are loaded in Asian seaports. With such a sheer volume of goods, there must at least be a portion of products with bear defects, or are non compliant. How do international buyers protect themselves against receiving a batch of bad made in China goods? The answer is simple : by conduct a Remote Quality Check in China, before shipping.

WHAT IS REMOTE QUALITY CONTROL? 

Quality control (QC) is a process that ensures quality standards are met in the production of goods and services. Remote quality control is the same, but done remotely. It is an important part of the quality assurance strategy that both Chinese suppliers and Buyers set up to minimize risks.

A quality inspection in China is defined by a quality checklist / quality plan that quality engineers follow during the inspection. During a quality check at a factory, a quality inspector selects samples based on sample plans.

The action of inspecting goods in China consists in verifying that packaging, dimensions, characteristics, and performance of the product all conform with the Purchase Order, and relevant safety standards. Following a QC check, an Inspection Report is published with all findings and photographic evidence. The inspection report is sent to the Buyer for review.

WHY A QUALITY CHECK BEFORE SHIPPING IS NEEDED?   

Because quality defects are common when buying from China, or any other part of the world really. Defective products can lead to costly returns or even product recalls if not addressed before they are placed on the market.

A quality check in China before shipping, even of a small sample of products, can help identify defects in the manufacturing batch. This only prevents from shipping bad made in China products that will be weigh on the ROI of the whole purchasing project.

Additionally, bad quality directly impacts a brand image. This is why retail chains, famous brands and renowned wholesalers buying from China all have implemented quality assurance strategies and deploy Quality Inspections in China one way or another.

HOW TO INSPECT MADE IN CHINA GOODS REMOTELY?   

The math is simple. As long as a Buyer does not have its sourcing bureau, or buying office in China, and benefits from its own Quality Inspectors, it has to send its own people to China for every shipment. Taking into account the cost of shipping a QC engineer to China for only a few days, the best alternative is to check the goods remotely. There are 2 ways :

GOODS INSPECTION BY VIDEOCALL WITH SUPPLIER’S

I personally know buyers using this method. They have been using their supplier’s resources for a long time, and usually request their contact at the factory to arrange for a videocall when the production is complete.

The issue with live inspections with the Supplier’s is that it is usually done with your sales representative. These people are good at what they do, it is easy to communicate for them, but they are not versed in Quality Control, and most likely do not know how to spot defects.

REMOTE INSPECTION WITH A CHINA INSPECTION COMPANY

Booking an inspection with a Leading China inspection company allows to dispatch a remote inspector at the factory, and have the goods being checked by a quality specialist. Quality inspection services usually incurr fees, but less than the cost of dispatching one’s own engineer (i.e paying for the flight to China and back, the hotel, food etc…).

The greatest advantages when a business gets China inspection services is that all the inspection results are displayed in the Inspection Report. Unlike the Chinese sales representative, Quality Engineers inspect goods daily. They work as per an inspection procedure, seldom make mistakes and report on the conclusions in a diligent and comprehensive manner.

A STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO REMOTE QUALITY CONTROL?   

Remote inspections are like any other business activity. It needs to be planned before it is implemented. Because time during the inspection is of the essence, everything should be done so to ensure that the inspector or the Sales Representative is clear about your requirements, and the inspection scopes. Here are the key steps to virtual inspections in China.

Step 1 – Make an inspection checklist

Step 2 – Choose a sampling plan and AQL values

Step 3 – Set up a date and time with your Chinese vendor

Step 4 – Make yourself available during the remote inspection

Step 5 – Just before the end of the QC Check, verify that no quality scope was left

Step 6 – Write an inspection report and process inspection pictures

Step 7 – Decide if goods should be shipped, sorted or reworked

As you can see, a virtual quality control is an efficient and cost-effective tool to minimize risks when buying from China. VQC usually happens when manufacturing of your order is almost over and at least 30% of products are packed. The inspection checklist is a key document that will allow you and the inspector at the factory to communicate clearly about quality control scopes and deliverables. With remote inspection, buyers from all corners of the world can deploy quality control even if they are not in the factory.

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