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The most important document QC staff use to inspect a product is the quality control, or QC, checklist. QC checklists serve as a guide for your inspector during inspection, providing details related to product requirements, on-site testing, packaging and more. As an importer, if you omit any important details from the checklist, the results could be inaccurate and you may need to re-inspect.
Let’s look at the five main ways that inspectors use QC checklists in the field.
1. Pulling a random sample
QC checklists often specify how many units inspectors should randomly pull in a sample for inspection. Using the correct sample size ensures the results fairly represent the quality and status of the total shipment. If inspectors pull too many units, this increases the time needed for inspection and will raise your costs if your inspectors bill you based on time. If inspectors pull too few units, this limits the scope of inspection and increases the likelihood that defects and other issues may be overlooked.
2. Checking the product against specifications
Inspectors typically use your checklist to verify a number of specific characteristics related to the product. Some examples are product weight & dimensions, material & construction, item color, item marking & labeling and general appearance. Any product requirements you’ve omitted from your checklist likely won’t be checked during inspection.
3. Verifying packaging requirements
Inspectors often use the QC checklist as a guide for checking product packaging. Characteristics such as the appropriate type of cardboard, packing & assortment method and packaging labeling are all important checks during most inspections. It may seem excessive to include these details in a checklist. But incorrect packaging can lead to your product being damaged during transit or refused at customs.
4. Classifying and reporting quality defects
QC professionals typically classify defects as “critical”, “major” or “minor” in order of severity. For example, you might consider untrimmed threads in a garment to be a minor defect, while a needle left in a garment would be critical. Inspectors often refer to the QC checklist for guidance on how to classify and report any defects found during inspection. Your tolerance for more serious defects will probably be lower than that for less serious defects. So you may receive inaccurate results if your inspectors incorrectly group the defects they find.
5. Performing on-site product tests
Many products require on-site testing during inspection to determine whether they meet safety, performance and function requirements. Inspectors follow the QC checklist to determine which tests to conduct, the procedures & equipment needed and your pass or fail tolerances for each test. And inspectors following an incomplete checklist are likely to perform testing incorrectly or misinterpret the result.
In closing, inspectors largely rely on a checklist for the relevant instructions for checking your product. And if effective, a QC checklist can help lower your costs by preventing unnecessary repeat inspections and catching any quality defects before your shipment leaves the factory.
Be sure to download our free eBook, 5 Essentials of a QC Checklist, by clicking the link in the description. Thanks for watching.