In my last article, I described the difficulty of explaining to certain clients that it is impossible to inspect all shipments in 1 man-day only. This time, I am going to give advice to importers who need to reduce the number of man-days.
This article is not just for “cheap buyers” who can’t spend more than 1 man-day ($300) to secure a shipment. For example, if you can only spend 2 man-days for quality control, you might be wise to spend them at different stages of production (say, one at the beginning and one at the end of production).
So, how to do? It depends on the situation.
If the quantity is too large:
Instead of following the “standard” level II, go for I or S-3. It is less reliable than you’d like it to be, but it’s better than no inspection at all.
Example: you order 600,000 napkins. In level II, the inspector should check 1,250 pieces, and it would take more than 1 man-day. However, in level I, the sample size is only 500 pieces, and it is probably manageable in 1 man-day.
If there are too many references:
Instead of checking the specifications of every reference, the inspector can select a few of them (selected randomly from the whole range of references). It is the same thing for measuring sizes of garments: it is not always necessary to measure samples in every color, or even in every size. Again, some issues might slip through, but it is better than nothing.
Example: there are 25 different types of ceramics sets, to be shipped together. By selecting only 5 of them at random, the inspector can finish the job in 1 man-day.
If there are just too many product specification details to check (or too many on-site tests to perform):
You probably figured it out by now: the trick is to avoid checking some of them.
For example, for electrical home appliances, the inspector might check the products very thoroughly (and do all the safety tests), but might not check the labeling and the packing. Or, conversely, the purchaser does some time-consuming tests on mobile phones, but needs the inspector to confirm the proportion of visual defects, the basic functions, and the packing.
Any other strategies to reduce the time spent in inspection?