Understanding the Process and Benefits of Pre-shipment Inspection
Before your product can be shipped to its destination, it needs to be inspected and approved by the receiving entity. This process ensures that your product arrives in the same condition it was when it left the manufacturer’s facilities, so you can ensure that your customers are happy with their purchase. So what are some of the details of pre-shipment inspection? And how can this inspection benefit you in starting up your new business?
How to start with Pre-Shipment Inspections?
There are numerous steps to follow in order to begin a successful pre-shipment inspection program. The first step is to learn as much as possible about your industry’s standards for supplier audit. You will also need to know what sorts of information you need to collect during a factory audit. Additionally, it is important to consider how much time these visits will take, who you will send on these trips, and whether or not they should be alone. Finally, if necessary, establish an overall shipping schedule with plenty of lead time.
Why do I need inspections?
Inspections are vital for understanding how your goods will be made, especially if you’re manufacturing abroad. These pre-shipment inspections can help eliminate many headaches down the road by highlighting potential issues with quality, timelines, or shipping before goods have been produced in a factory. This can ultimately save time, money, and customer relationships later on.
What type of inspection should I use?
There are two types of inspections you should be familiar with before choosing what to use for your company: a supplier audit and a factory audit. A supplier audit can be performed either in house or by an external auditor. In house, it is often simply conducted by your sourcing department to ensure that suppliers are meeting required quality control standards in their production process. The more common version involves a third party that conducts both pre-shipment and factory audits. This helps you verify that products meet initial specifications while also ensuring they were produced under strict guidelines set forth by you in your contract (regarding social responsibility, environmental protection, quality control, etc.) In other words, what it comes down to is selecting an option that fits into your timeline and budget.
What are the benefits?
An effective supplier audit should yield numerous benefits to your business. Not only will you be able to identify issues related to quality, delivery, price and performance in a more systematic manner, but it will also help build stronger relationships with suppliers (who can see how much attention you are paying to their company). The benefits of pre-shipment inspection include:
1) cost savings (you’ll have less waste or damage, so higher profits);
2) reduction in product liability
What happens after an inspection?
Once you’ve chosen your audit methodology, there are different things that can happen next. Both some full pre-shipment inspection and spot checks will require corrective action plans if issues arise. It’s a good idea to stay in touch with your supplier during every step of an audit to make sure they understand where they need to improve, but also because it will be helpful information for future audits. Also note that inspectors from your company should go into their visit ready to learn—if you know ahead of time what problems might be discovered, you can be more prepared for a productive conversation with your supplier.
How can I avoid mistakes during an inspection?
When conducting a supplier audit, make sure to do it at least once before your initial production run so you can work out any kinks in your process. This first audit is crucial to ensuring that you have everything in place before you begin full production; if there are problems, then now is when you’ll find them. There’s no need to wait until after a production run has been completed or until something has gone wrong; make sure everything is fully organized during one of your initial pre-shipment inspections. Have sample items on hand during inspections so that you can reference them against what was delivered from suppliers, making sure to keep track of any discrepancies along the way.
Where can I find experienced inspectors?
If you’re looking for qualified pre-shipment inspectors, there are two primary ways to find them: Ask a sourcing agent or your trading company. Your sourcing agent or trading company likely has preferred pre-shipment inspection providers they work with regularly, so they can usually recommend people that they know are knowledgeable in your industry. You may also be able to ask them if they’d be willing to share contact information with you. If you don’t have access to a sourcing agent or trading company already, then check in with someone who works closely with factories that would meet your needs (if possible). Many people will know their favorite inspector and can give you some recommendations. Ask factory owners what they use and what their experience is.