Quality Control Services
Kenago offers all relevant Quality Control services for your product development or production in China.
All quality controls are conducted by experienced sourcing project managers with a vast knowledge of materials and production processes.
You can choose from a range of Quality Control related services which we briefly explain for your understanding.
INITIAL FACTORY ASSESSMENT (IFAS)
The Initial Factory Assessment is not a traditional quality control as such. Rather it is a fitness test of the factory you are planning to work with for an important production.
When working with Chinese factories, we find that very often quality problems arise not because the local supplier is not willing to provide better quality or attempts to save cost by using cheaper materials than agreed on but for other reasons which we outline below.
What we are assessing:
- Legal Due Diligence
- Assessment of Experience & Know-How
- Machinery Due Diligence
- Process Due Diligence
- Financial Due Diligence
- HR Due Diligence
- Geographic Due Diligence
- Social Due Diligence
- The company you are working with exists
- Production capacities meet your requirements
- Factory meets your pre-set standards
- Supplier is able to carry out your project
The two most frequent reasons for quality deficiencies in a production are the lack of clarity in terms of the desired quality standard which needs to be reached by the Chinese factory – quality is not a clear term but something which has to be determined and agreed on by client and supplier before a production is launched.
The second issue companies starting to produce in China often have is that the factory they selected does not have the required setup in terms of machines or management to successfully produce the required products; wanting to still get your business they still agree and hope that somehow it will work out in the end.
In the best case this only costs you time and money, in the worst case you have to totally reproduce in another factory.
Therefore it is crucial to assess a potential Chinese supplier before starting to work with this factory. This initial assessment can be compared to a small-scale due diligence and should include but is not limited to the before mentioned aspects.
PRE-PRODUCTION QUALITY CONTROL (PPC)
We often have to explain why we suggest our clients to conduct a Pre Production Quality Control and consider this to be even more important in many cases than a During Production Quality Control.
- Early detection of quality issues before the production is finalized when there is still time to improve
- Help your supplier understand and meet your quality standards
- Minimize communication issues between client and factory and factory sales and engineering department/li>
- Avoid delays in lead time or re-production
The advantages of a PPC Quality Control can easily be explained. Many quality flaws of a China-production to not happen because of an unwillingness of the supplier to meet certain quality standards but merely, because the Chinese factory might be operating in another quality paradigm than the client.
A quality level that your factory is totally happy with might be a quality level that you do not find acceptable at all.
If this paradigm gap only shows after a production is finalized it is much more difficult to get the factory cooperate with you on solving the quality issue – even more so if no clear quality standards were initially agreed on in the contract framework.
For the supplier a lot of money is in stake since in case of a reproduction he would lose all his investment in terms of raw materials and labor cost.
Even if you can agree on a settlement solution – getting there takes a lot of time. If you agree on a discount, you might have purchased a product at a better price but in inferior quality. If the supplier agrees on a reproduction you lose valuable time.
This can be avoided through a Pre-Production Quality Control.
DURING PRODUCTION QUALITY CONTROL (DUPRO)
The During Production Quality Control is very similar to a Pre-Production Quality Control. However, whereas a Pre-Production quality control focuses mainly on defining standards and agreeing on how something should be produced, the main purpose of a During Production Quality Control is to ensure the previously agreed on standard is maintained throughout the bulk production.
This might be an additional cost item but often it is cheaper to anticipate production issues at an early point when there is still time to change direction instead of trying to fix things once the production is finalized.
- If issues are detected during the production process, the factory can be consulted on how to adjust the process
- Quality issues can be solved during production and not afterwards; this saves your time and money
- Supplier training – the supplier is able to learn the required quality standard during production impacting future productions
PRE-SHIPMENT INSPECTION (PSI)
The Pre-Shipment Inspection is the classic quality control which most companies dealing with Chinese manufacturers uniquely rely on.
It is this quality control which defines if the second payment of a 30:70 telegraphic transfer payment scheme is to be released before the shipment of the production or not.
This quality inspection is definitely important but we strongly recommend pairing it with a second quality control which should happen at an earlier point during or before the ongoing production.
- Discovering potentially faulty / defective products before shipment saves time and allows reproduction before shipment
- Avoid receiving faulty products that might have to be reproduced and air-shipped
- Ensure adequate and safe packaging
LOADING INSPECTION (LIS)
What we refer to as loading inspection or loading quality control is the last part of an extensive quality control scheme which is often overlooked.
During a loading inspection quality control we ensure that the bulk production which is ready for shipment will be packed properly and loaded carefully.
This might not seem a crucial aspect but according to our experience it is. Why?
For payment terms where the client pays the factory a certain amount in advance and the remaining amount after the Pre-Shipment Quality Control, the client does not have any more bargaining power over the supplier. This often results in two things – one being the supplier trying to cut cost by using inferior quality packaging material or using a cheap domestic delivery service sending the bulk production to the warehouse of the client in case of an FOB deal.
The other one lies in the fact that now that the supplier received all the funds, many factories tend to be less attentive when it comes to the handling of the bulk production resulting in poorly loaded containers, damaging the product or parts of the production being simply forgotten.
In a worse case, a fraudulent supplier might try to add faulty merchandise to good merchandise, replace the ordered merchandise with similar but not identical merchandise or willingly not delivery the ordered quantities by packing less than being agreed on.
These things can be avoided by conducting a Loading Inspection.
- Reduce the potential import risk – quality and quantity comply with contract specifications
- Ensure merchandise will not be damaged during loading
- Make sure merchandise cannot be modified after loading
- Be assured the bulk production is packed and loaded adequately
For important productions – especially with tight project timelines, we suggest to not only do a Pre-Shipment Inspection but to already start the quality control process before or in the initial production stages. Why is that?
If you discover a quality deficiency in your product before shipment this has a severe impact on your lead time.
If you are lucky, the factory is willing to reproduce but you might not be able to keep your delivery time and very often factories are reluctant to reproduce unless they see you as an important long term customer or they reproduce under time pressure which again is a potential risk to your product quality.
In any case, you will lose a lot of time negotiating when making your claim of quality deficiency and the terms of reproducing your good – and – in case you already paid a deposit there is a risk with certain factories that they prefer cutting their losses and just disappear.
Therefore, we find the Initial Factory Assessment and Pre-Production Quality Control the most crucial quality controls for our clients to conduct. Please read the details below in which we explain the differences.
For all quality controls we conduct for you are going to receive a detailed inspection protocol with pictures and an analysis of the most important aspects of each quality inspection we conducted at the premises of your Chinese supplier.