FACTORS THAT CAN INFLUENCE THE DECISION OF INSPECTION FREQUENCY IN MANUFACTURING

Manufacturing is one very sensitive area which importers need to have sufficient amount of knowledge to thrive in. There are a lot of intricacies involved especially when it comes to quality control. As such, manufacturers, sellers, importers and other key players in this field of endeavour ensure that products are of the best quality to satisfy customers far and wide. Hence, for importers to achieve a particular level of quality, they spend considerable amount of time, money and effort in making things done properly. Quality control procedures inevitably come at some cost. As a result of this, importers sometimes are in dilemma as to the right way to effectively ensure optimum quality control of their products.

Most times, when we spend a lot of time and effort on things, it is usually because we want to get something better from the resources we have expended. This is the case with importers, there is no clear-cut rule for deciding inspection frequency for manufacturing, especially if those goods are coming from other countries. Importers have different quality requirements which may affect inspection frequency, depending on their needs but we’ll give you some quality control techniques that will help you when deciding on inspection frequency. Consequently, we have put together five factors that can influence inspection frequency which will help you in your business. Additionally, understanding the quality control techniques highlighted will surely catapult you to new heights in your business.

WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR SUPPLIER?

This is an important question to ask when deciding on inspection frequency as an importer. Let us break it down. Relationship is built over time and as such you have to look at the history you have with your supplier to answer questions inspection frequency will pose. Your relationship with each supplier should influence how often you inspect at their facilities. Some of these suppliers might be for special jobs, others might be for simpler projects. Whatever the case may be, knowing and firmly establishing your relationship with your supplier will reduce any form of tension that poor inspection can cause. This particular question will lead us to other questions in a bid to ascertain your supplier’s capabilities and stand with you.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU HAD TIES WITH YOUR SUPPLIER?

The period of time you have worked with a particular supplier will tell you how much they can offer you. You get to know their flaws, successes and improvements; it is pretty standard for new suppliers not to understand the way you like things done. As a result of this, there might be some hiccups along the way except there is high inspection frequency early in the relationship which will eschew any constraint in the future.

On the other hand, suppliers who you have worked with for a longer period of time will fully understand your quality control procedures and other delicate details. However, no matter how long you have worked with a supplier do not eliminate outside inspection. Sometimes, suppliers may not be entirely trustworthy. Quality fade may occur when these suppliers replace specified materials or parts with cheaper ones. So, you still have to be on the lookout.

HOW WOULD YOU RATE YOUR SUPPLIER’S PREVIOUS INSPECTIONS?

By rating your supplier’s previous inspections, you can easily determine what needs to be done for improvement and examining the various high-points also. Previous inspection results are one of the most important factors to consider when determining inspection frequency. You can get to see the progress of your supplier clearly especially with a during production (DUPRO) inspection. It is easier to catch issues earlier upstream before they impact a wider quantity of the order. Determine the number and type of quality issues found during inspection. Also if there are any remedial actions, the supplier took to address quality issues such as product rework. Conclusively, ensure that the quality doesn’t drop – closely monitor the subsequent shipments.

ARE THERE ANY CHANGES WITH YOUR SUPPLIER’S SYSTEM?

Some importers sometimes overlook the obvious, since they are busy trying to make sure their products are in great shape. You have to see what has changed and what is changing in the suppliers system or management. Put differently, get to know the recent happenings and developments in the suppliers’ chain. Are there new workers? Find out if there are any new and inexperienced workers. This will help reduce the dilemma of quality fade. Are there changes in the production line? Ascertain whether there are new developments in the line of production. Also, if there are changes, compare how it is now to how it was before.

Let’s move on to the next factor you need to consider when deciding on inspection frequency in manufacturing.

WHAT IS THE VALUE OF YOUR PRODUCT?

The value of your product is an important factor to consider at any point. But for this purpose, we will relate it to manufacturing. A cost-benefit analysis can help you weigh the cost of inspection, or forgoing inspection against your product price point. The cost of product returns and reworks is much more than cost of an inspection at your supplier’s facility and any subsequent corrective actions before shipping. Therefore, it is imperative to conduct the inspection before shipping so that the factory can monitor the defects while it is still cheaper to do so.

Inspection costs are sometimes known as Appraisal Cost. These costs differ from one product to another. Some products do not need DUPRO as they just need pre-shipment inspection to make sure things are in order. It will therefore be pointless spending money on  high quality control procedures for low-grade products. On the contrary, products like headphones, cameras will need series of inspection as quality issues can cause huge damage to the sale of the products. In essence, knowing the value of your product will help you in deciding what quality control techniques to adopt and the frequency of inspection it needs.

HOW COMPLICATED IS YOUR PRODUCT?

In understanding the frequency of inspection for your product, you have to check how complex your product is. Suppliers sometimes make mistakes because of the complexity of some products. Thus, there is need for pre-shipment inspection to ensure quality of those products before it is too late. The number of components embedded in your product can pose some quality issues if not inspected properly. One essential quality control technique is to make sure that these complex products are properly inspected, confirm raw materials or components for your product before production actually starts.

It will be devastating having to disengage products bit by bit to get to the root of the quality issue. Furthermore, the cost of doing so may be outrageous. So, verify the components being used and carefully inspect how things are done to avoid any complications later.

HOW DO CONSUMERS USE YOUR PRODUCT?

We have dwelled a lot on the suppliers, let’s shift our focus on another major stakeholder in  manufacturing – the consumer. If the consumer is not happy or satisfied, then all the quality control procedures are null and void as they determine the success of your product. Your products application can have tremendous impact on how much inspection you need to conduct. Riskier product types like in the aeronautics and medical fields need delicacy and proficiency in their inspection frequency. Certain product risk factors warrant diligence in inspection frequency, as there could be major fatalities if they become defective. You have to consider the following when dealing with delicate products:

  • The regulations that your product must meet.
  • The consequences of noncompliance.
  • Dangers the products pose during regular use.
  • The problems that could arise as a result of their defects.

You might need to conduct frequent inspection when importing products for major fields of endeavor to ensure quality and safety that meets up to international standards. 

HOW DO YOUR CONSUMERS DEAL WITH QUALITY ISSUES?

This is very significant in inspection frequency in manufacturing. The standard you have given your product is carefully perceived and digested by the consumers. They in turn have either high or low expectations from that product based on the way you have presented it to them. It is therefore your mission that your product meets up with the expectations of the consumer to stay in business. Hence, the need to properly grasp these quality control techniques that will Influence inspection frequency. The following are ways through which your consumers can affect the inspection frequency of your products.

CONSUMERS FEEDBACK

A communication feedback is very important. Without it, you have not communicated effectively. Also, in manufacturing the consumers feedback is so important that without it, the manufacturers don’t know how to make things better. Ultimately, through surveys you can learn the type of quality your consumers expect from your products. Consider increasing inspection frequency if there are a lot of complaints centering on quality.

STANDARDS SET BY RETAILERS

As earlier emphasized, there are some  key players in the manufacturing game. These players can single-handedly influence systems. One of those players is the retailer. This player can decide to set some quality control requirements for goods that the suppliers must meet before they accept a shipment. Once you have identified the retailers standards, plan effectively to avoid any delays whatsoever.

STANDARDS SET BY ECOMMERCE PLATFORMS

Online e-commerce platforms set regular targets for quality that sellers have to meet to protect their customers from defective products. You cannot blame them. Therefore, for a bid to reach a wider audience, these ecommerce platforms will influence the inspection frequency of your products. You have to tailor your quality control procedures to suit their standards in order to get ahead. Order defect target is a popular quality target that these platforms use to regulate the rate of defective products on their channel. Your account may be suspended if you fail to meet up with their less than 1% rate.

SOME COMMON QUESTIONS

These questions are very significant in this line of endeavour as importers, sellers and others look for answers to burning questions to evade any manufacturing dilemma. Some of these important questions will be properly treated below.

WHY ARE SUPPLIER SELF-INSPECTIONS GETTING POPULAR IN CHINA?

Factory top managers have realized that saving money today and getting heavy charge-backs after two months is not good business. Sometimes, it could be as bad as losing a customer.

They sometimes decide to share their own reports with customers, as an attempt to avoid being inspected. Since welcoming an inspector, unpacking and repacking takes a lot of time and sometimes it works.  Self-inspections are getting more popular in China as it has become a management tool that keeps production honest and shipping a sub-standard batch requires multiple sign-offs.

HOW MUCH DOES A QUALITY INSPECTION COST IN CHINA?

Quality inspection costs 200-300 USD per day of work. The exact costs are quoted on a case-by-case basis. This depends on the transportation options available.

HOW TO REDUCE FREQUENCY OF QUALITY INSPECTIONS?

This question has caused some form of dilemma in recent times, but some quality control techniques are very apt in answering this difficult question. You can reduce the frequency of quality inspections by doing the following:

  • Reducing the inspection severity (i.e. checking a smaller number of samples by choosing the “reduced severity”).
  • Skipping some lots randomly, and letting the supplier self-inspect their quality most of the time.

CONCLUSION

In a very sensitive area such as manufacturing, you have to be very vigilant and diligent in making sure your product strains and maintains the level of quality that speaks well for your business. The quality control techniques are embedded in those important questions. Understanding the need to ask these questions and following the procedures will go a long way in making you an extraordinary importer. Remember not to rush! it’s your business, no one can force you to do anything. In retrospect, ask the right questions and make the right moves.

Leave a Reply

how can we help you?

Contact us at the Consulting WP office nearest to you or submit a business inquiry online.

see our gallery

Looking for a First-Class Business Plan Consultant?