First, let’s share a real story: Wills, a UK company who ordered 1*40HQ 65L plastic red bucket from Xingxing Plastic manufacturer which was located in the south of China.
As Wills didn’t have branch office in China and they had no idea how to get local person help them to do pre-shipment inspection, they instead asked the factory to send them 1pc sample selected from cargo shipment.
After one month, cargo is finished per plan, factory sent them a sample for confirmation. Wills received and confirmed it is good to ship, as they checked, and it was the exact same as they confirmed before.
The cargo was shipped and arrived. But Wills were shocked when they opened the door of the container! Why? Half of the buckets were broken and in a mess!
Initially factory passed the buck to shipping company, then to Wills that the packing ways they requested had problem etc. Finally Wills selected a sample to test, and it turns out, the factory changed the material which was supposed to be PE (polyethylene) to PP (polypropylene) because of lowering the cost. Both PP and PE are plastic, nobody can tell the difference from the bucket except those who work with plastics professionally.
If Wills arranged to do pre-shipment inspection, this issue would be checked out! But we all know, there is no IF. So learning from their lesson, we can see how important it is to do pre-shipment inspection!
So, how do we do pre-shipment inspection?
First, it is important to hire a professional QC person to do pre-shipment inspection. It is best to hire a person from a company with a good reputation such as SGS/Intertek/STS etc. it is also good to hire someone who has many year’s QC experience for well known companies or brands.
Second, choose the inspection standard. Nowadays, people like to use AQL as their standard, which is very popular. AQL has many different levels, for daily commodity, 0/2.5/4 (critical/major/minor) is widely used. If your product is high level or high value, it is better for you to choose the strict like 0/1.5(key/major). The professional QC you hired will suggest you the level by your product as they know them very well. Of course, you can use your own standard if you have one, just send it to your QC and ask them to follow it up.
Third, it is important for you to transfer all necessary documents which indicate what you order and what you want, especially when you have special request, you have to inform the QC you hired and asked them to pay more attention on it. For example, if you order a picnic bag and it’s specially made with PU coating, not PVC coating. If you don’t inform them, they will neglect to check that unnoticed coating.
Lastly, in case you need to save time or other reason, you decide not to do pre-shipment inspection, don’t inform the factory you won’t until the last minute. On above instance, if Wills didn’t informed the factory they weren’t going to do a pre-shipment inspection, factory maybe wouldn’t have changed the material.
But comparing the small investment of time and cost, it is best to arrange a pre-shipment inspection!