I got an interesting comment on a previous article (4 proven ways to enforce your quality standard in China):
If I am hiring a third party to do the quality control should I get a “perfect sample” from the factory, then send it to the third party quality control company? Or is it possible for the factory to send the perfect sample straight to the quality control company?
I responded that there is no universal solution, but I suggested a few ways to do this.
The most reliable way is this:
- The factory sends you several samples,
- You approve them (hopefully),
- You send a few samples back to the inspection company.
This way, the factory has no way of substituting or degrading the sample used to evaluate their production. It can be a real temptation, because it can easily make the difference between a passed report and a refusal.
If you can’t afford to do this way (either because of the cost or the timing), you can find another solution to put a sample at your inspector’s disposal in the factory:
- For example you can sign on a sample when you check the launch of production yourself (make sure you send a photo of the sample with the signature to the quality control firm).
- You can also send the samples to the factory and tell them to keep it in a sealed package, “to be opened only by the inspector himself”.
- Take some products from your own stock and send them to the inspection company. This is only possible if the products are identical to what you want the manufacturer to produce for you, of course.
- If the products are expensive to send (example: furniture, car seats…), you can cut small pieces out of the sample you have in your office. It should be enough for the inspector to compare the materials and their look & feel.
It can be a headache for the first orders, but it is usually easier for repeat orders. Don’t be discouraged, putting an approved sample in the inspector’s hands is necessary if you want to realize the full potential of quality control.