How to check the production status in a factory

One of the purposes of QC inspections is to check the production status. You want to confirm product quality, but also make sure the manufacturer is not behind schedule.

If you–or an inspector you appointed–come after the whole production is completed, all you need to check is whether the whole quantity is fully completed and whether all is packed. This is important because an inspection is much more reliable when the whole order is ready.

However, sending an inspector after everything is finished might be too late. And you might find out at the last moment that your shipment will be 3 weeks late, even though the supplier told you it was on time!

The solution is to proceed with inspections during production. In addition to checking product conformity and quality, the following points can be checked:

Is the factory aware of the client’s specifications?

  • Check if the factory has full technical specifications from the client.
  • Check if the factory has a reference sample approved by the client.
  • Check if there is any open issue not clarified between the factory and the client.

Capacity allotted and key milestones

  • Check how many lines are working on these products.
  • Check how many workers per line, and total number of workers on these products.
  • Check the date of arrival of materials / components.
  • Check the date of beginning of bulk production.
  • Check the total production quantity per day.
  • Check factory-estimated date of total quantity completion.
  • Check factory-estimated date of shipment.
  • Check factory-estimated shipment quantity.

In some cases, it is better to prepare a table that shows the quantity of products in each stage (stored inputs / past the 1st process / past the 2nd process / packed). It can be detailed reference by reference, color by color, etc.

In China and other parts of developing Asia, few suppliers take the time to track their production schedule. They often prefer not to promise anything, and to avoid being held accountable to delays.


  1. says

    There are some great points in here, Renaud. One things importers need to understand is that QC is an ONGOING process from when you first inquire…it starts at the first contact. Unless you controlled properly from the start, visiting when everything is finished, can be just one big wave of bad news hitting you at once.

    There’s little things buyers can do to track the production schedule and then they’ll know keys stages before the order gets beyond the “point-of-no-return”.

  2. Renaud Anjoran says

    You are right, there is a point of no return. Sophisticated buyers are often frightened to get past this point.