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China Quality Inspection
A little more than 2 weeks ago I came back from my Europe “vacation” which was not really a vacation but more work because I was constantly on some calls or working on other stuff.
It was quiet around me but I was not sleeping but rather working on many projects. Some of them I wanted to share today. Before that I also wanted to share why you always need inspections in China. Regardless what suppliers or other people tell you. Trust me, I’ve been in this business for nearly 17 years (as of 2021) and I’ve had my fair share of problems even WITH inspections.
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So when I got home to Asia I had an inspection on my 7th re-order of the French Press case study product I did a year ago.
I’ve always preached how important inspections are and I do them every time. Even with suppliers I work with for a long time.
It really doesn’t matter how well you know your supplier and how often they plead not to do inspections. You hear something along this line: “don’t worry my friend – always good quality, no need to inspect”. Have you heard that phrase? I’ve heard it a million times and I ALWAYS do inspections anyway.
So this was an inspection with my “famous” French Press and before I received the report the supplier told me many times that we don’t need an inspection… Even on the day before I received the report the supplier messaged me (because he was obviously in the factory during the inspection) that I should release the shipment, there are just a few scratches, nothing to worry about and I should go ahead and send him the payment….
Never trust your supplier. I am not talking about the sales representative of the factory and I also don’t mean this in a negative way. I am talking about the factory workers, the QA manager on duty and down the hierarchy. They might have a bad day or the factory manager decides to rush an order (remember many factories are being closed right now so I attribute these issues to that).
Have an inspection, evaluate the problems and release shipments if these are minor mistakes. I often release shipments even if the inspection is “fail” when there are minor issues. However in critical cases, demand re-work & re-inspections until its fixed. Otherwise the supplier doesn’t see his money. Another good point to never pay more than 30% downpayment.
To see what I mean when I say critical issues here are some images from the inspection:
And there were many other issues. So what do you do in these kind of situations? First of all you need to have an agreement in place when you place the order. I usually have three terms that I include in my contract and 95% of suppliers will agree to that:
Re-inspection and re-work at suppliers cost if the inspection has major and critical issues
Replace returned units from customers higher than 6-8% (depends on product). This usually means those 6-8% are free units on my next order.
Penalty fees for late delivery. Say 10 days after agreed delivery date 0.5% of total order value. 15 days – 0.75% and so on.
Most suppliers will agree to these terms. The point is you negotiate this when you place the order and before you transfer any money. These things happen can happen to all of us and you always need to have a safety net (inspection).
So what happened in my case? The supplier asked me if it would be ok to send pictures only without a re-inspection… no way. How would I know if he just takes photos of items that were in perfect condition anyway and not re-work?
So I asked them to acknowledge our agreement of paying for re-work and re-inspection in case of serious issues. And that’s what happened. The supplier has since re-worked everything and the re-inspection was a few days ago, this time with very minor issues and I released the shipment.
The moral of the story here is really to have a safety net and don’t let the supplier talk you into easy solutions (for him). Because your business will suffer in the end. Granted this was the first time the supplier screwed up but that just makes my point. You never know what is going on on the day of production and it might not even be your sales representative fault. HAVE INSPECTIONS they start from 300$. Personally I recommend QIMA. I’ve been with them since 2014 and I am very happy with their online booking system and the quality of their reports. I’ve also had an issue once with an inspection and without any questions asked they helped to solve the issue.
Europe trip report
So having that out of the way and without further ado I also wanted to share some moments of my 7800 kilometer trip (4800 miles) in Europe 🙂
So that was that, my 6 weeks in Europe. A lot more moments that I wanted to share but I don’t want to bore you 🙂
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post!