Quality Control and Inspections in China: A Complete Guide

Quality Control and Inspections in China

It is paramount to inspect and practice quality control if sourcing or manufacturing products in China. This article elaborates on why this is significant, what it involves, and how to get it done correctly.

In 2022, Chinese manufacturing output represented 30 percent of the total global output, outstripping the United States’ 26.8 percent. As the largest manufacturing nation in the world, it’s very likely that many manufacturers, traders, and importers will have dealings with Chinese sources. Consequently, it is of the utmost importance to ensure that their goods meet specifications and adhere to any established quality standards, something that quality control and inspection makes possible.

In this guide, we will discuss the following: why quality inspection is essential, who can assist with quality inspection services in China, the various types of quality inspections available in China, the costs associated with quality inspection, items to include on a quality control checklist, what should be included in a quality control report, and tips for choosing a reliable third-party QC company in China. Additionally, our article on the best practices for efficient communication with your Chinese supplier should be referenced as well.

To successfully ensure that required quality standards are met by Chinese manufacturers or suppliers, quality control and inspections must be conducted. Quality Assurance (QA) is the process of setting and upholding quality standards during production, in order to minimize defects and ensure consistency. QA includes a number of steps, such as training, documentation, changes control, audits, and investigation. Quality Control (QC) occurs post-production and before shipping, including inspection of batches, sampling, defect identification, validation, and laboratory testing. This procedure guarantees that the final product complies with defined standards.

Why good quality is essential

Guaranteeing production of superior goods – Implementing a blend of Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) measures will yield a favorable effect on the quality of your items and the ability to maintain specified requirements.

Limiting variations during manufacturing – Variances may emerge when crafting the items. After discerning the sources of these inconsistencies, additional tests and checks can be added to the QA processes in order to minimize them.

Minimizing financial losses – Performing QC evaluations will decrease the amount of defective products received, thus resulting in fewer loss-causing items.

Maintaining/increasing profit margins – Performing QC also reduces the probability of receiving inadequate pieces which must be sold at a discounted price.

Leading to consumer retention – By establishing a target consumer group based on the anticipated quality of the items, you have the ability to sustain those customers and make them faithful to you.

Amplifying consumer satisfaction – Allowing the customer to be sure that you are meeting their expected standards of quality and any certification/accreditations you offer them will make them contented and more likely to keep returning for future business. There is a direct correlation between satisfying them with quality and them staying loyal to you.

Who can help you with Quality Inspection services in China?

A more cost-effective way to ensure quality is to have the manufacturer do an in-house review and submit a report. However, it is important to remember that manufacturers are often more focused on protecting their business interests rather than assuring product quality. The in-house QC team might be experienced and devoted to quality control, but they are not always on your side; they prioritize efficiency in the building and delivery of goods, which often comes at the expense of quality.

A great alternative is to find a trading or sourcing partner. Not only will they help source products from Chinese manufacturers, but they will also help inspect them. Such entities are incentivized to give an impartial assessment of quality as they receive commission, and would want to keep your business in the long-term. Furthermore, due to their connections in trade, they have built relationships with many manufacturers that you can leverage for your advantage.

An alternative solution to guarantee the quality of your goods is to engage a reliable third-party inspection service in China. Having a neutral, unbiased point of view, their objective assessment can guarantee that your requirements are met. However, it is advised to collaborate with them in specifying and verifying the procedure of their work. An alternative to this is to employ your own team for inspections, but the costs for training, accommodation, and travelling can add up quickly. 

Types of quality inspections

A Pre-Production Inspection (PPI) is conducted in order to inspect and validate all components and raw materials by the quality inspector or third-party inspection companies. 

Subsequently, a During Production Check (DUPRO) is conducted once 50% of the goods have been manufactured. This process involves quality inspectors visiting the factory to determine any potential issues with the product and then comparing randomly chosen units against product specifications determined by the customer or relevant inspection bodies. 

Finally, a Final Random Inspection (FRI)/Pre-shipment Inspection (PSI) is carried out once production is completed and at least 80% of the goods are packed and ready to be shipped. This on-site inspection involves checking the products against any specified requirements and confirming that there are no major or minor defects present.

Cost of a quality inspection

The fee for employing a third-party QC inspection agency in China lies between $150 and $250 per day, this price point applicable if the site of inspection is within 50 kilometers from the inspector’s office. When it is more distant, the fee will accordingly elevate. Several variables come into play in dictating the cost of inspection in China, such as the quality assurance specialist’s proficiency, the distance to the site of inspection, and the range of tests being performed. 

Quality control firms are often stationed in the likes of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen, so if the location of the factory is further out in a rural area, extra charges are likely to incur to cover the additional time and travel expenses. The fee for the service may differ depending on the depth of the checks that are to be completed.

Things to include in your QC checklist

Before commencing production or finalizing your order, it is necessary to present the supplier with a Quality Control checklist. This checklist should clearly display the product demands, as well as the quality benchmarks that the supplier must abide by and tangible assessment criteria. 

Listed below are the necessary elements to incorporate into the Quality Control checklist:

  • Product Attributes: Such as materials, weight, and height.
  • Packaging and Labeling: This is a major compliance necessity in many fields and some items need to be checked and endorsed by approved labs.
  • Visual Inspection or Onsite Tests and Checks: Ensure the supplier is aware of this practice as part of the checklist.
  • Defect Classification: Quality Control Inspections are split into three main categories – minor, major, and critical. Be sure to present a confirmed sample, like a product, photo or video, to the inspector.
  • Functional Testing: For imported devices, draft directions to test the item’s capability and purpose.
  • Specific Tests: Particular samples are delivered to the lab to decide the product’s quality, relying on the importer’s directives, with commodities such as chemicals and drugs.
  • Carton Drop Test: Performed to ascertain the packing and transportation protection, prior to the goods being moved.

Devin Haney

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