FAQs About Conducting Product Inspections on Inbound GoodsApril 20, 2021
Quality Corrections & Inspections performs a wide variety of product inspection, repair and rework services. Many of our customers and clients that contact us for the first time or, those that are just learning about our services may come across an alphabet soup of acronyms and other terminology related to product inspections, repair and rework services. Through our series of FAQ blogs on various subjects, we hope to share some of our insights on the who, what, when and why of product inspection, repair and rework.
In this edition, we are sharing our insights on product inspections for inbound goods.
What is an AQL inspection, and why are they important to conduct for imported footwear, apparel and consumer goods?
An AQL (Acceptable Quality Level) inspection typically occurs prior to a product leaving an overseas factory and/or upon arrival at a U.S. distribution facility.
In this type of inspection a company’s staff, or in some cases a third-party inspection team, will inspect a random sample batch of products from a shipment in order to decide whether to accept or possibly reject the shipment due to less than first-quality performance. In other words, quality assurance specialists attempt to determine whether the entire shipment should be expected to have a very high percentage of first-quality goods with no issues, based on the level of rejected goods count in relation to the overall sample size.
The importance of doing the AQL inspection is to flag potential quality issues before they show up in stores or worse, retailer returns centers!
It’s an important tool for a brand to maintain their quality and performance reputations, minimize returns and ensure customer satisfaction with their products.
What is a 100% inspection, and what’s the need?
100% inspections are a useful tool for brands to have an even higher level of confidence that a shipment of goods conforms to a given product’s requirements or specifications and, that the product will meet their standards for quality.
Generally, a 100% inspection is often called for when a retailer or brand needs to further examine a product shipment. Every unit of product is inspected, and a determination is made whether it meets established requirements or specifications.
For example, if the shipment was subject to an AQL audit at the overseas factory or upon arrival at a U.S. distribution facility and it was determined that there were a high number of less than first-quality goods identified in relation to the sample size, this shipment may be subjected to a 100% inspection and sortation before it would be approved for shipment to stores.
The 100% inspection is a regular service performed by the specialists at Quality Corrections & Inspections. When combined with other value-added services such as sorting and grading, rework services and product repackaging, or even reconfiguration, retailers and brands can maximize first-quality merchandise availability counts quickly and cost-effectively.
When retailers and brands are faced with the need to make an informed decision on the quality of inbound merchandise to their distribution centers, the 100% inspection is a good tool to provide them the confidence needed to approve receipt of the merchandise and ultimately ship goods on to their stores.
What are some examples of when a 100% inspection is required?
Quality Corrections & Inspections has performed a wide variety of 100% inspection projects over the past 30 years. Representative projects include, but are not limited to:
When a fashionable brand of knit sweaters arrived at a popular retailer’s distribution center prior to the Fall season, staff pulled a random sample of cartons for examination to verify if the garments met their original technical specifications for a variety of measuring points (eg. front lengths, chest widths, neck widths and many more). When a high number of units were failing their measuring point examinations, the entire shipment was flagged for a 100% inspection, putting the supplier at risk of purchase order cancellation. The vendor of the knit sweater was then required to have the 100% inspection performed. In this case, units were inspected and sorted into pass and fail categories. Fortunately for the vendor, a high number of units ended up passing inspections and the retailer issued a new purchase order to accept the units and make the merchandise available for their stores as originally planned.
An inbound sample audit of a large footwear shipment revealed some non-repairable defects on a higher than acceptable percentage of the sampled units. The company sent all units for 100% inspection and sortation by-product grades. Many of the units were able to pass as first-quality grade and ultimately shipped to retailers while all remaining units were identified as defective and returned.
A lifestyle and fitness product company received a shipment of under the desk pedal exercisers and discovered via a sampling inspection that some of the units they received were packed with two left pedal cranks when each unit should have had a left and a right pedal crank. The Company immediately sent the inventory to Quality Corrections & Inspection for 100% inspections. Our inspectors examined each unit, inspecting pedal cranks for proper orientation. Correct units with a left and right crank were passed and repacked. When inspectors identified a unit with an incorrect crank, they removed the incorrect crank using a crank removal tool and replaced it with the correct crank. Units were then passed and repacked for shipment back to the customer.
Through a routine random inspection of a shipment of men’s jackets, one company discovered that pocket linings on a few of the jackets were not sewn properly. As a result of the inspection, the company determined that they needed to inspect the full shipment and have sewing repairs performed on units that were not acceptable. With the expertise and equipment to handle the inspections and sewing repairs, Quality Corrections & Inspections quickly completed the job and helping the company ship the goods to stores in a timely manner.
The projects above are just a few representative samples of many inspection projects that can be performed by the team at Quality Corrections & Inspections.
Quality Corrections & Inspections is a provider of inspection, repair and reworks services for apparel, footwear, accessories and consumer goods. We proudly service importers, retailers, manufacturers, distribution centers and direct-to-consumer businesses. Conveniently located facilities on both the East and West Coast of the United States.
For more information about QCI, or to request assistance on product inspections, rework or repackaging projects, contact your nearest QCI rework facility.