Onsite Inspection: The Ultimate FAQ Guide

Before shipping from China, you must conduct onsite inspection.

It will ensure all your imports from China conform to specified quality standards.

In today’s guide, I will take you through all the fundamental aspects of onsite inspection.

So, if you have any question, you will find the answer right here.

What Is An Onsite Inspection?

An onsite inspection is a process whereby an inspector checks the products being imported from China to ensure that they are of quality.

The inspection helps make certain that the quality, quantity and import eligibility of the goods are met.

Quality inspection process

 Quality Inspection process – Photo courtesy Quality Inspection

What Is The Main Purpose Of An Onsite Inspection In Supply Chain Management?

The onsite inspection’s main goal is to detect if the products are of quality before they are shipped to the customers.

What Are The Benefits Of Onsite Inspection During China Manufacturing?

There are a few benefits you are likely to experience from onsite inspection during China manufacturing.

Most business people prefer to use onsite inspection during manufacturing because it checks the semi-manufactured product’s quality.

This is because if the inspector notices an issue with the semi-manufactured product, it is easier to make changes compared to when the production process is over.

Here are some of the benefits of onsite inspection during manufacturing:

· Improved Quality Control

One fact that you ought to know is that most defective pieces get dispatched in bulk manufacturing.

Some technical error with the machine could cause this.

Hence to avoid dispatching defective products, it is ideal to make use of onsite inspection.

The inspector ensures that there are no faults or errors on the product.

If there are any faulty products, the inspector sends them back for correction.

By conducting an onsite inspection, you are certain that you do not have to worry about your products’ quality.

Low Losses

By doing an onsite inspection during production, you are certain that no faulty products will be dispatched.

This is because when a consumer finds a faulty product, they often return it to the retailer.

If any of your products are returned, you are likely to incur losses.

Hence by doing onsite inspection during manufacturing, you are certain that only quality products.

Which, in the end, will help reduce the losses.

Better Brand Reputation

Once every product manufactured is inspected, you are certain that you will only dispatch quality products.

This will increase the number of satisfied clients.

Having happier more customers will help improve the reputation of your brand.

Strengthen Product Chain

Having the inspection helps improve your business’s productivity chain.

Scope to Correct

Onsite inspection is conducted during 40-50% of the production process.

During this stage, it is easier to make corrections.

When Should Onsite Inspection Be Conducted?

In order to ensure that there is maximum security in the industry and that the products shipped out are of quality.

It is best to conduct an inspection every 6 to 12 months.

Who Performs Onsite Inspection In China?

The onsite inspection company is performed by a general onsite inspection company.

In one of my guides, I have compiled a List of all Inspection Companies in China.

Who Pays The Cost Of The China Onsite Inspections?

The importer is the one liable for paying the cost of the onsite inspection in China.

Who Is Responsible For Arranging The Onsite Inspection?

The person paying for the onsite inspection is the one responsible for arranging for the inspection.

In this case the importer will be liable to make the arrangements.

What Are The Various Stages Of Onsite Inspection?

There are various stages during the onsite inspection process, they include:

2 Types of quality inspection

 Types of quality inspection

1) Assessment of raw materials before production commences.

2) The second step is the inspection of semi-finished products. This is at stage 40-50% of the production process.

If there are defects, the inspector will request a correction.

3) Inspection of finished products. The products may or may not have packing

4) Monitoring the loading of shipping containers.

What Do Inspectors Look For During Onsite Inspection?

One good thing about the onsite inspection is that it only takes half an hour.

If you wish to pass your onsite inspections, the things an inspector looks for during the onsite inspection.

They include:

  1. You need to ensure that your office is in a commercial setting. One rule that you ought not to overlook during the inspection is to ensure that your office is located in a commercial setting.

One ideal commercial setting is that the building has a business parking slot.

  1. There are times when the business owner might be working in their homes.

If this is the case, you ought to know that the inspector will check if your office area is separated from your living quarters.

Most people whose offices are at home tend to fail the inspection test as there is no precise separation.

  1. Ensure that you have the right office furniture- First impressions do matter; this applies to the onsite inspection too.

With this, it is ideal for making sure that you have the right furniture for your office.

This does not mean that you should buy leather couches.

The right furniture simply means you ought to have furniture that provides safety and security.

Some of the furniture that the inspector might look for is a functioning locking filing cabinet and a paper shredding service.

An inspector will check if the locking filing cabinet works.

The cabinet is important because the inspector needs to be sure that you have the right storage space for your printouts.

The paper shredding service is for when she needs to destroy reports.

  1. Have stationary and signage that should have your company’s name- The inspector will look for a sign that has the name of your company.

This could be a sign on the office build or a sign on the entrance of your door.

  1. You need to have an exclusive phone number that is listed- In some cases, small businesses tend to use their cell phone number when starting the business.

If you are in this predicament, you ought to separate your personal number by using a Google voice number.

For you to excel on your inspection, it is best to ensure that your number is on an exclusive listing or a website directory.

How Long Does An Onsite Inspection Take?

The average time is 5-15 minutes; however, if you are operating a large-scale business, the inspection might take more time.

Which Elements Will Lead To A Failed Onsite Inspection?

During the inspection, the onsite inspector tends to ensure that your credit reports are only being used for the permissible reason.

Here are some of the activities that may result in you in having a failed onsite inspection:

1) Unclear expectations- It is imperative to send in your requirements to the onsite inspector.

Without a clear checklist the inspector may fail to know what constitutes to the acceptable quality of your product.

2) You may have a failed onsite inspection if the inspector serves his/her own interest without solely focusing on your firm’s interest.

3) You may have clear requirements, however if your team does not commit to the requirement, you may wind up having a failed onsite inspection.

If the inspector finds that you are trying to obtain credit reports illegally, the inspector will place your company together with your and identity on the blacklist.

The credit bureaus will send in the details each calendar year, preventing you from having a new credit report.

What Are The Risks Of Not Doing An Onsite Inspection When Importing From China?

Here are some of the risks you are likely to experience if you fail to do an onsite inspection when importing from China:

  1. Note that different countries tend to have set uality standards; it does make it difficult to keep track of the quality requirements.

This way, if you are importing from China, it will help make use of an onsite inspection.

This is because the inspection will help ensure that your products meet the recipient country’s quality standards.

  1. If you do not conduct an onsite inspection, you run the risk of shipping products that may not be of quality.

An onsite inspection helps ensure that the products meet the quality standard.

To avoid incurring losses while shipping from China, you should conduct an onsite inspection.

If you do not conduct an onsite inspection, the products may end up being returned.

This could cause recalls which might ruin the reputation of your brand.

  1. While shipping products from China, there ought to be a written report that the products are of quality.

This is why it is best to ensure that you conduct an onsite inspection.

The onsite inspection will have a well-detailed report stating that the products are of quality.

Which Sampling Procedures Do Onsite Inspection Follow?

The sampling procedure helps the inspector to study a group that will help reach a conclusion.

Here are some of the types of sampling procedures used in an onsite inspection:

Random sampling- This kind of sampling includes picking a random unit from a group.

Statistical sampling plans- It involves selecting a part of the population that the inspector wants to inspect.

 Sample inspection

 Sample inspection – photo courtesy: Qualityinspection

How Do You Determine Defects During Onsite Inspections?

What the inspector does is pick out one or a few first units in the production line.

How the inspector determines a defect is by checking any imperfections the product might have.

What Is The Difference Between Onsite Inspection And Pre-shipment Inspection

An onsite inspection is when an inspector comes to your premises to assess if your business is legit.

The inspector also assesses if the business runs under a secure credit report.

Pre-shipment inspection is the process where trade operators assess manufactured products before they are imported or exported.

The purpose of a pre-shipment inspection is to ensure that the products comply with the governing specification.

The main difference between onsite inspection and pre-shipment inspection is that onsite inspection mainly focuses on the business’s legitimacy and the quality of the product.

At the same time, pre-shipment focuses on the quality of products being imported or exported.

Are All Product Batches Subject To Onsite Inspection?

In most cases, the inspector randomly selects a unit in all the batches.

Subjecting all product batches to an inspection might be quite expensive.

What Happens If Defects Are Found During An Onsite Inspection?

There are a few things that happen when a defect is found during an onsite inspection. They include:

Requesting for Corrections

The common action done when a defect is found is that the inspector will request corrections.

The rework of the products is only susceptible if the correction will take a short time.

Before the rework is conducted, there are a few elements that need to be checked, such as:

– You need to check how severe the defect is

– Assess the cost of the rework

-Assess how long it will take to make the corrections.

While doing this, it is ideal for checking if the corrections will make you miss your deadlines.

-Assess if the rework will cause more harm to the product

Note that if you wish to save money while making corrections, it is ideal to do the corrections before shipping it.

It might be expensive to correct the defective product after it is shipped.

Charge-backs for Defective Products

This another approach that can happen when the inspector finds defected products.

Before the onsite inspection, it is best to set an agreement with your supplier.

The agreement should detail out that the supplier will pay an incentive in case of substandard units.

Without the agreement, it might be hard to request a refund when the supplier is the cause of your product’s quality.

The Destruction of Products that Seems Unsalable

There are situations when the defective products may not be ideal for any rework.

This in the end, will result in the destruction of the product.

In most cases, most importers destroy the products when they wish to protect their brand from substandard products.

In other cases, the importer may destroy the products if they do not want their competitors to resell their inventory.

Please note that if you do not want to have several defect occurrences, it is ideal to update your quality control checklist.

Also, you can use the inspection results to help you know what to avoid from receiving the same defects twice.

What Does AQL Mean And Why Does It Matter In China Onsite Inspection?

AQL means acceptable quality limit; it is simply a measure used on products defined as the worst tolerable quality.

Simply AQL helps you understand the number of products acceptable on a sampling quality inspection.

Why AQL matters in China onsite inspection because it helps to reduce waste.

Case in example, choosing random products from a batch gives you an estimate of the products’ quality.

This can be of help, especially if you are testing the quality of fabrics.

To avoid wasting your products during inspection, it is best to use the AQL method.

What Do The Parts Of The ANSI ASQ Z1.4 AQL Table mean?

There are various parts of the ANSI ASQ Z1.4 AQL table.

Here is a highlight of the eight parts.

AQL Table

AQL Table

Lot Sizes

This includes the number of products you have in your shipment.

During an inspection, your lot size ought to be your starting point while using the AQL chart.

Case in example, if you have a total quantity of 650, then you ought sto check the lot size range of 501 to 1200.

General Inspection Levels

One element you need to understand is that the general inspection levels tend to influence the number of units that will go through inspection.

This is because the general inspection levels are utilized for all inspection procedures.

Note that general inspection levels are categorized into three sub-sections they include G1 (Small option), G11, and G111 (Largest option).

The category works correspondingly with your lot size.

G111 tends to offer great transparency; the downside of using this option is that it is quite expensive.

Special Inspection Levels

The special inspection levels help you determine the sample size to make use of during the inspection.

Special inspection levels are divided into four categories; they range from S1 to S4.

Sample Size Code Letters

This includes the sample sizes you will use during the AQL inspection.

The letters are present on both sides of the chart.

Note that the letters may appear in different rows of lot sizes and in the multiple general and special inspection levels columns.

Case in example the size letter ‘D’ may appear in 11 different lot sizes and in all inspection levels.

Sample Size

The sample size is often on the back of the chart or on the second page.

These are simply the numbers you make use of during the random inspection.

The sample size chart ranges from 2 units to 2000 units.

Acceptance Quality Level

This is a level that represents your tolerance for defects in your order.

Acceptance Points

This is the accepted number of defects that are not restricted in a sample size.

Note that the more your tolerance level increase so does the acceptance points do.

Rejection Points

Rejection points is a chart that represents the number of rejected order based on the defects in a sample on an AQL chart.

How Do You Use The AQL Table For Product Inspection?

In most cases, most importers delight in using the AQL chart once they are sure about their total number of the unit.

Before doing mass production, it is best that to assess how AQL will be of use to you.

This will give you the chance to discuss the minimum quality standard with the supplier that needs to be met.

Here are some of the ways importers use the AQL table:

Importers use the AQL Chart to Classify Defects for Inspection Purposes

Note that every importer has dissimilar tolerance levels.

You can use the AQL chart to classify the defects.

Case in example if you are manufacturing a refrigerator having a small scratch on the door seems less serious.

However, if the refrigerator has issues with the door hinges, that might be considered a serious defect.

By using the AQL chart, it will help you clarify the defects.

By using AQL table it will help you know which AQL you will assign to each defect

You can easily determine the sample size, acceptance, and rejection points while using the AQL table.

Having a clear understanding of the potential defects that your products may have.

In which classification you will classify them helps you know how to find the sample size in the AQL chart.

Does AQL Influence The Results Of Onsite Inspection?

One element you need to understand is that there are scenarios when the inspection might showcase more defects of a specified class.

It can surpass the acceptable recommendable points in an AQL chart.

If this is the case, the AQL test is a fail.

If such a result occurs, the inspector will conclude that similar defects might be present in the entire order.

Are There Alternatives To ANSI ASQ Z1.4 For AQL Sampling During Onsite QC Inspection?

Note that attribute sampling is the common use sampling during an onsite inspection.

However, this does not mean that it is the only type of sampling available.

Here are the alternatives to ANSI ASQ Z1.4 for AQL sampling.

Variable sampling– The main difference between attribute sampling and variable sampling is that; attribute sampling is simpler while variable sampling is more analytical.

This is because when you decide to use variable sampling, what you will be reporting is the quantitative data rather than focusing on the qualitative criteria.

In most cases, variable sampling is only used when trying to make predictions or during process control.

Single sampling– Most importers prefer using this kind of sampling.

What happens is you either accept or reject a unit based on the results you obtain from inspecting one sample.

Therefore if the number of defects found is above the chosen AQL, then the AQL passes.

Double sampling– This sampling involves combining two samples and separately sampling them. The good thing about using this approach is it offers clarity.

Case in example, if you find that the first sample does not conform with the acceptance point, you could use the second sample for clarity.

Zero acceptance sampling– Importers rarely utilize this sampling plan as it has a larger producer risk.

It involves rejecting the order if a single defect is found in the inspected sample.

What Are The Limits Of Onsite Inspection During Production?

There are limitations to onsite inspection during production; they include:

  • It is easy for the manufacturing company to hide the problem from the inspector and ship it.

Simply the inspection during production is not enough.

Therefore it is best to incorporate both the production inspection and a random final inspection.

  • There are cases where production might take place in different lines or in several factories.

The inspector might find it difficult to have a rough idea of the average quality of the products.

Therefore this might prompt the inspector to stay longer in order to monitor the quality and production schedule.

  • In most cases, it is often hard to check the labeling and packaging process.

This is because most Chinese factories tend to receive the packaging accessories when the production process is nearing to end.

How To Ensure Effective Onsite Inspection When Manufacturing In China?

Quality inspection

 Quality inspection

Here are some pointers you can use when you wish to have an effective onsite inspection when manufacturing in China.

  1. If the product you are manufacturing is not common, it is ideal to offer a context of the intended use of the product.

For example, make it clear to the inspector what ought to be their main focus.

  1. Make advance notice for the bookings. You ought not to rush the inspector when they are checking your products.

This is particularly true if your products are a little technical or new to them.

Hence for you to have an effective onsite inspection ensure that you alert them in advance as they will have time to prepare for the inspection.

  1. Have one document that acts as a checklist for the inspector.

This is because if you give them so many documents, it will be hard for the inspector, and they may overlook some requirements.

  1. A document containing examples of the defects. This facilitates an effective inspection.

Also, it will help avoid any conflicts with the inspector.

While designing the document, ensure that you are clear with what defect is critical and which one is not.

  1. Have a well-cut out quality control plan- Having the plan will guide you on the stages that need attention during the inspection.

This will help promote effective inspection.

What Is An Onsite Inspection Report?

This is a type of report that summarizes the findings analyzed from the inspection.

The report also highlights the risks and hazards identified during the inspection.

It also highlights the control measures that need to be implemented.

What Does An Onsite Inspection Report Include?

An onsite inspection report ought to have

1) An overall summary of the property’s condition

2) Faults that the inspector may have identified

3) A list of problems that need to be fixed

4) A recommendation on how to fix the stated problems

How Long Does It Take To Obtain Onsite Inspection Results?

In most cases, the onsite inspection results take 24-48 hours for them to be released.

How Do You Pay For Onsite Inspection Services?

What happens is you are required to pay the onsite inspection service during the inspection.

What Is QC Checklist For Onsite Inspections And Why Is It Important?

A QC checklist is a written guideline about the products’ colors, appearance, content, barcodes, functions, packaging, possible defects, and special requirements.

It may be referred to as an inspection checklist.

The importance of a QC checklist is it details out the quality standards and the product requirement that ought to be met by the supplier.

The checklist also offers the objective criteria that come in handy while inspecting the goods to make sure that they meet the customer’s expectations.

How Do You Address Onsite Product Inspection And Testing Requirement In A QC Checklist?

One way to address onsite product inspection and testing requirements is by understanding the essential elements in a QC checklist.

There are five elements, they include:

  1. Product requirement
  2. Packaging requirements
  3. Onsite product tests and checks- while assessing the element, it is best to assess what ought to be the tolerance of your product test
  4. Defect classification- Note that every manufacturer has a varying defect classification.
  5. The last essential element is collaborating with the importer, QC staff, and the supplier to help draft an effective checklist.

How Does Onsite Inspection In China Benefit Amazon FBA sellers?

As a first-time Amazon FBA seller, it might be quite scary as you will interact with different manufacturers.

As a seller, your primary goal is to source quality products.

Having poor quality products may result in you having poor sales or even develop a bad reputation.

It might be hard to monitor the quality of your products. This is why you might benefit from an onsite inspection.

Here are some of the benefits of doing an onsite inspection as an Amazon FBA seller.

  1. It helps to save time and money- In most cases, most manufacturers tend to use cheap materials.

To avoid receiving poor quality products, it is imperative that you clearly communicate to your manufacturer and inspector on what you need.

Ensure the information you give to your inspector is the same as the one with your manufacturer.

This will give the inspector a better overview of what to look out for a while conducting the inspection.

  1. It is quite expensive to conduct an inspection once the products are fully packaged and shipped.

This is why Amazon FBA sellers tend to use onsite inspectors before the order is shipped.

By doing this, you are certain that the shipment you will receive is of quality.

What Are The Consequences Of Failing To Meet Amazon FBA Requirements?

 The Amazon fulfillment center may refuse your inventory if you fail to meet the Amazon FBA requirements.

You may also incur a charge for the unplanned services.

How Do You Specify Amazon FBA Requirements To Your China Quality Control Inspector?

Note that it is your responsibility to highlight the Amazon labeling and packaging requirements for your staff and ensure they are being followed.

It is not wise to assume that your supplier understands Amazon FBA requirements.

One strategy you could use to specify the requirements is the QC checklist.

 Amazon FBA quality control

The checklist helps offer a clear clarification of how you expect your products to be.

Without the list, your staff may misinterpret your requirements.

Which Is Better Between Full Time Inspectors and Third Party Inspector For China Onsite Inspection?

If you wish to have a smooth onsite inspection, it would be of best to use a third-party inspector.

This is because most if not all full-time inspectors are quite expensive.

There is a high rate of integrity risks while using a full-time inspector.

Also, you are likely to get frustrated with a full-time inspector as their communication is poor.

Not to say that using a third-party inspector does not have its cons, such as limited communication with the inspection staff.

However, by weighing your option, you will realize that hiring a third-party inspector has more benefits.

The good thing is that you will not struggle with their communication; there is a reduced risk of integrity issues; also it’s cheaper to use a third-party inspector.

How Much Does An Onsite Inspection Cost?

An onsite inspection costs between $50 and $60.

Of course, it can also cost more depending on the work load.

How Do You Reduce The Cost Of China Onsite Inspection?

There are various steps you can use to help reduce the cost of the onsite inspection. They include:

  1. If you wish to reduce the cost, it is ideal for decreasing the sample size for inspection
  2. By requesting the inspector to do the inspection based on time and not on a sample of size will help cut down the cost.
  3. You could choose to charge your supplier if they fail to conduct an inspection. This will help cut inspection costs that will work in your favor.
  4. The other strategy you could use to help cut costs is by using a local auditor.

It is economical to hire a local inspector compared to using one that is far from your factory.

At SourcingWise, we will help you achieve all the onsite inspection requirements.

Contact us today for all your onsite inspection or factory auditing needs.

Scroll to Top