Getting You Product Inspections Right First Time (1of 2)

Andy Church insights on Product Inspections Services

  • There are product inspections at some stage in the process
  • Some Sellers skip inspections all together and just go with samples at pre-order – which Danny says is Nuts

Three Types of Product Inspections

  • Top of Production
    • At the beginning of a production run
    • If issues are found the factory has a chance to fix them before the main production run
    • i.e. A coffee mug handle is not the right size to what you specify
    • Done at first 10-205 production (500 units produced a day, inspection done at start of the first day’s run)
  • Due-pro
    • A during production inspection
  • Pre-Shipment (or Final Random inspection)
    • AQL – the Inspector will select a sampling of the order to inspect
    • Not practical to inspect 100% of the order so use an AQL sample inspection
    • Most people are do this inspection – it is the most common
  • For ecommerce quantity runs a top or due-pro may not be that feasible
  • You want to make sure that before shipping, what you receive is as good as the first sample
  • Danny advises to get a few samples up front to check quality

Factory Pre-Inspection

  • Doing a pre-inspection at the factory
  • Get 3-4 pre-samples and keep two, send one back to the factory as an inspection reference and send the 4th to your inspection factory
  • Don’t go less than two approval factories
  • Beware a ‘golden sample’ where they make a special sample for you that is not representative of the production run
  • You want to make sure you get more than one to confirm that the factory can reproduce the high quality that you want in more than one sample
  • Make sure the factory is who they say they are and it’s not someone else making this for you and not them – they are a go-between
  • Make your vetting good and low risk level
  • Ensure sure they are licensed

Psychological Pressure

  • If there is an inspection coming it makes the factory take more care
  • Quality spend is important

High Risk – Educate yourself

  • New products with regulatory requirements
  • If you know and trust the supplier and it’s a re-order item
  • You may change your risk profile
  • Spend your money to maximise your quality and minimise your exposure to risk
  • A buyer buying a product they don’t know everything about – what are the common defects/complaints, ask the factory and read the reviews
  • An inspection service provider is a resource for items to look at for the factory visit but they won’t know the product inside and out
  • It’s a combination of the inspection provider, factory and Buyer that will put a quality inspection ‘checklist’ together to cover everything
  • Rely on the factory for common defects when making this product
  • Nobody has a crystal ball
  • Plastic Moulded products has ‘gate marks’ – a common error to watch for on plastics
  • Product specific defects that only the factory is aware of


  • Notify the factory that you will be having an inspection
  • How do you keep friendly in the negotiation but make it clear the inspections needs to be done
  • Setting the tone that products will pass with no problems
  • Quality begins with the buy
  • Reserve the right to have the goods inspected before your goods are shipped / paid for
  • Hold them to the quality of the goods you buy
  • Important that up-front the factory knows you’re getting an inspection
  • Whether you actually do the inspection or not

What is a defect?

  • Work with the factory up-front to agree what a defect is up-front
  • Most people pay 30% and then 70% at Port
  • Some people pay 5% and the rest when landed in LA, etc
  • Working with a new factory risk should be managed

Part 2 coming soon…

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