In this article we will go into all the different types of inspection services that exist and explain where they fit into the quality control process. We will go through two cases in which none of the mentioned inspection services were conducted and the consequences it had for the respective companies.
By the end of this article you should have enough knowledge about the different inspection services to be able to pick the right inspection service for your company.
Although we recommend that you read the entire article, we also understand that you might be on a tight schedule. We have therefore broken down the article into different sections so that you can easily navigate to the section that mostly interest you.
Estimated reading time: 5-7 mins
THE ARTICLE IS DIVIDED INTO THE FOLLOWING 7 SECTIONS:
0. Why conduct a product inspection?
1. Initial Production Check
2. During Production Inspection (DUPRO)
3. Daily Production Monitoring
4. Pre-Shipment Inspection (PSI)
5. Container Loading Check (CLC)
6. Amazon FBA Inspection
On-site product inspections are mainly focused on controlling for product damages, defects and testing the physical condition of the product. In addition, they ensure that the products are properly packed and protected for the dynamics it will face during shipment. Eventually, the aim is to ensure that the products comply with client’s standards in addition to international standards and regulations.
Product inspections can be conducted at any stage of the manufacturing process, depending on the buyer’s or supplier’s requirements. More about this in the later sections in which we describe the different product inspections.
The typical process goes as follows. The inspector receives inspection requirements which are provided by the client. A licensed product inspector visits the factory on behalf of the customer to ensure the manufacturing process and products meet the standards agreed upon before the goods leaves the factory.
After the product inspection a comprehensive report is created and sent to the customer. After the client has reviewed the report, we provide our suggestion on how/whether to proceed with the supplier. Finally, we ask for feedback on our process and how we can improve our process. We have visualised the process below.
For all non-food goods we follow the internationally recognised ANSI/ASQC Z1.4 (ISO 2859-1) statistical sampling procedure which specifies the number of units which must be inspected to statistically represent the overall quality of the entire batch. This is also commonly called Acceptable Quality Limit (AQL).
Products that do not satisfy the product’s intended use gets marked by the inspector. On-site quality control inspectors use ANSI/ASQ A3534-2-1993 standard checklists to mark the defective units according to their respective severity level.
Examples of Defects
Product inspections for non-conformity checks whether a manufactured product meets a customer’s provided specification requirements. Inspected units are marked according to their severity level.
Examples of Non Conformity
Guidelines from the WHO Food Code (Codex Alimentarius) is used when inspecting processed and perishable foods.
Takata was a company that supplied a car part that is critical to driver and passenger safety – the airbag. In the UK, the airbag is considered a secondary safety measure to the seatbelt but has become a common feature in every modern car. In USA, it’s a legal requirement. In 2013, it was reported that Takata airbags were unsafe and could be responsible for 100 accidents and thirteen deaths. The airbags were known to explode and cause debris to shoot around the car as a result of an accident. In some cases, the outcome of an accident was catastrophic, and the airbag became a direct cause of death. In 2014, 3.6 million cars got recalled. In 2014, Chrysler, BMW, Honda, Ford, Mazda, Toyota and Nissan announced they would recall over three million cars worldwide.
Financial Impact: Takata went bankrupt and were sold to Key Safety Systems for $1.6 billion (£1.3 billion). Honda estimated that the repairs would cost them around £4 billion back in 2017. However, there have been more cars recalled since then.
Samsung used to be the world’s largest maker of smartphones. In 2016, Samsung, was forced to discontinue the sales and recall the smartphones after some of them started bursting into flames. Within the first two months of its August 2016 launch, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission received 96 reports of overheating batteries and fires. This forced Samsung to recall 2.5 million of the devices, which were among the priciest smartphones on the market.
Financial Impact: Samsung was set back by several million dollars with an estimated total loss of $5.3 billion.
The results for both companies was that millions of products had to be repaired with several millions in cost, and several millions in lost profit. If the brands had invested a fraction of these financial costs in product inspection to control product quality, they would have avoided all of the hassle and avoided getting into a financial distress.
It’s better to be safe, than sorry and prevention is better than. That’s a mantra that all companies should abide by.
An initial product inspection is conducted in the initial phase of the production before 20% of the products has been produced. A third-party inspection will help to clarify whether the manufacturer will be able to deliver on the promise to produce a quality product using the correct materials and manufacturing process.
An important part of the Initial Production Check, is to inspect the first manufactured item at the factory. This is in essence the very last chance to inspect the final product before mass production. The initial check will help spot any defects so corrections can be made ahead of the mass production. The findings are then documented and sent to the client for assessment.
A DUPRO is an on-site Product Inspection conducted when 20-80% of the products have been manufactured and packed for shipping. Products are randomly selected from the entire batch for inspection. The aim of a DUPRO is to assess whether or not a factory is continuing to follow the client’s specifications, and if the products are still on schedule to be manufactured in a timely manner.
If an issue arises at such an early stage, it might still be possible to find a workaround to fix the defective products and to make necessary adjustments to the production line.
The inspector/-s will carry out on-site inspections at the factory daily. The aim is to strictly monitor production and to keep the factory accountable from the very start until the production has finished. This is especially beneficial for client’s working with a new factory as it helps to establish a professional working relationship. Daily inspections during product monitoring include investigating factory processes, enforcing specifications, and inspecting random units according to international standards for choosing the inspection sample size.
A pre-shipment inspection is conducted once 80%-100% of the products have been manufactured. This is the final step before the goods leave the factory. By following the ISO standard sampling procedures for a PSI, the inspector will systematically inspect a random subset of the entire product batch. This is the last opportunity to detect defective or damaged units and take corrective action before the products are shipped.
During the container loading check inspectors ensure the correct amount of different product variations are shipped and that they are properly loaded as It helps to mitigate risk of damage during transit.
The inspector controls the packaging to ensure that it complies with safety standards required by the destination country and ensure that coverings will prevent damage from soiling. To prevent dampness and reduce the risk of mold growth during transit and storage proper ventilation in the packaging is also checked.
An FBA inspection is a pre-shipment inspection tailored towards Amazon FBA sellers. An Amazon FBA seller is required to meet with dozens of requirements in addition to requirements of a regular pre-shipment inspection. Amazon has a huge list of requirements for all of their 2 million FBA sellers worldwide which all FBA sellers are required to meet.
In this article we have looked at the different product inspection services that exists in the sphere of quality control. We have showed how important it is to be precautious and the effect it could have to neglect quality control. Most of our clients usually conduct either a pre-shipment inspection or an Amazon FBA Inspection. A lot of clients also choose to make a combination of During Production Inspection, Pre-shipment inspection and a container loading supervision. Daily production monitoring is usually only required by larger corporations who produce millions of products yearly.
What’s most suitable in your case depends on your company’s needs and requirements. Inspection Bird provides all of the inspection services mentioned in this article. If you need help with picking a service or if you simply want to book an inspection, please feel free to contact us on [email protected].
If you have any questions about our inspection services, or if you need help with setting up an inspection at your factory, please do not hesitate to contact us on [email protected].
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