When you’re out buying garments, chances are that you look at each piece thoroughly before buying it. After all, you’d like to take all the care that you can to make sure you don’t buy a defected piece; that has the time or the energy to return a pair of jeans with a hole in the knee, right? And if once in a blue moon you do happen to come across such a defect in one of the garments that you’ve purchased, it’s very likely to leave behind a sort of negative impression of that brand, no matter how cooperative the store staff is to return your damaged product.
A single piece of defect may not look like a lot to you, but can cost you your customers in the long run if such occurrences keep on happening frequently. And when it comes to the garment manufacturing industry, it appears as though there are perhaps countless opportunities for such defects to show up when you least expect them to.
Garments are perhaps one of the products that are constantly in use by customers in one way or another, they’re also one of the most frequently bought items as a present or perhaps as an impulsive, unplanned purchase. One of the foremost aspects that make your garment stand out among the rest, in addition to design, is the quality; the quality of the garment ensures its comfort and durability. For the product quality inspection services, Atihongkong team is the best options to hire for this purpose.
One of the biggest steps that you can take on your part to try and avoid any quality concerns is to draft well thought-out and thorough product requirements before your manufacturer actually begins production. This will help you in avoiding a great deal of defects that would otherwise arise if you and your supplier are not on the same page regarding what needs to be manufactured.
However, this (or in fact any measure that you might possibly take) cannot guarantee that you will receive a shipment of garments that is 100% free of defects- to expect so might be a little absurd. Given the labor-intensive nature of the garment manufacturing business, it is only natural to keep a margin for some defects that are bound to arise as you inspect your products. However, a good product inspection will make sure to minimize the occurrences of these errors as much as possible.
The question that then comes to mind is what exactly is the best approach available for you to conduct quality control inspection in your garments?
It is common practice in garment importers all over the world to hire a third-party inspection team that will help you manage affairs at your supplier’s factory by keeping a stern eye on product quality. However, it may be possible that your situation may call for a slightly different approach. Let’s take a look at the paramount QC inspection options available for you, from which you can then choose which one works best for you.
Option 1: Relaying on the factory QC staff for conducting quality control inspection of garments
This option works best for you if you have established a long-term relationship with your supplier based on trust and reliability. To rely on the factory’s QC staff to ensure quality, it is a prerequisite that the supplier has consistently supplied with you with good quality products without any major quality issues- if not, then it would probably be unwise for you to rely completely on your supplier to ensure that the quality standards have been met in your shipment.
Most well-established factories have a system in place that checks each order before it is shipped to make sure that it is in-line with the customer’s requirements and provided product specifications. All reputable suppliers will have a dedicated quality control staff employed just for this purpose, who can often be seen in a uniform different from the rest of the staff to make them stand out and easily identifiable. It is also common for these QC staff to report to a different supervisor than the one heading the production unit.
However tempting it may be to reduce costs by leaving it upon to the factory’s staff to carry out quality control, there can be several disadvantages to this approach that can possibly risk your entire business:
Option 2: Hiring a full-time quality control inspection Staff
The next option available to you is to hire a full-time team dedicated to inspecting garments to make sure that they are up to mark for you and your brand. These inspectors are typically hired on a salary basis to regularly pay a visit to the supplier’s factory and then report back to you regarding the quality condition of the products as well as the production processes, and other related matters. There exist numerous advantages of hiring a quality control inspection team consisting of full-time salaried staff:
Ease of management and training.
Some garment importers feel that full-time inspectors are a lot easier to manage than third-party inspectors or the factory’s own QC staff. This is because they are the team’s direct employers, and so they have autonomous control over training full-time inspectors to follow their processes and make sure that the staff adheres to the company’s policies
Since inspectors will be working solely for one company, the importer is at ease of mind knowing that the inspectors will use the same garment inspection methods and procedures for every inspection. These staff members are also quite familiar with what issues that company’s products have experienced in the past, so will keep an eye out for those compared to any other inspection team.
A team of full-time inspectors are typically cheaper than third-party inspection when an inspector is needed regularly at one particular facility.
Full-time inspectors are usually native speakers of the local language, which can help to smooth communication about your product requirements.
However, where there are good aspects of one option, there are disadvantages as well. Such as:
Hiring a full-time team of QC inspector only becomes economical when they are needed constantly at one site all around the year. Otherwise, the cost of keeping them on-board all year while they sit idle is a waste of resources. Compared to this, if you require an inspection team on an infrequent basis then third-party inspection teams are a much better option. Also keep in mind the additional cost that you would have to bear for a full-time inspection team as they travel from one location to another to inspect garment suppliers- this cost will be cut down if you use a third-party inspection team.
The biggest red flag against hiring a permanent Qc inspection services team is the risk of corruption. It is very easy for the inspectors to become too familiar with the factory staff, taking favors and other gestures which may seem harmless on the surface- such as a ride to the factory- but can result in biased reporting and ultimately damage to your business.
The inspection staff might start to favor the factory staff, forming a close bond with them. This is all the more possible when the QC inspectors and the supplier’s staff are natives of the same location, sharing the same language and culture. This might result in compromising the integrity of the inspection team.
Option 3: You can Personally visit the Factory or Send a Representative on your Behalf to Conduct the Product Quality Inspection
If you feel like you want to conduct the inspection yourself, perhaps with the fear that nobody else might truly understand your requirements the way you do, then that is definitely an option open to you as well. This approach may come with a few benefits, such as:
You generally want to conduct an Factory audit before you select a supplier, as part of a comprehensive hiring process. However, visiting the supplier afterwards may act as an informal audit and give you the chance to spot any potentially damaging problems that might cause you loss of sales.
By being physically present on site, you can address any questions or queries on spot and save the supplier time, ensuring that the process carries on uninterrupted.
You have the chance to personally train the QC staff and let them in on what specifications you wish to achieve out of the inspection process.
However, this approach also comes with a number of drawbacks:
It may very well be possible that you have a load of other tasks that require your attention and you simply do not have time to travel abroad and carry out a quality inspection. It may also be very costly for you to make multiple trips across borders in a year, as well as the cost of accommodation and, depending upon where your supplier is located, a translator to communicate with the factory staff as well.
Inspecting a garment isn’t just about checking for loose threads or holes; there is a lot of technical knowledge that you might not have when you conduct an inspection. Some examples of such knowledge include:
o Acceptance sampling
o Fibre composition testing
o Seam strength test
o Checking the colors of a garment through a light box
Option 4: Hiring a Third-Party Inspection Team
The most popular option that is being used by importers all over the world is to hire third-party inspectors like Atihongkong on their behalf. This approach offers a number of unique advantages that other options may not be able to provide, such as:
Because these inspectors are not employed by the factory, they keep your interest at heart and provide you with an authentic report regarding the quality of the garments
It is cheaper to hire a third-party inspection team than to visit the factory personally or hiring a full-time inspection team that is not needed constantly. You can hire a third-party inspection team according to your needs, as and when suits you best.
It is much faster to conduct an inspection and receive the report when a third-party inspection team, already located in that area, conducts the inspection- rather than having someone fly over to the other country which might take much longer.
Because a third-party inspection team has a system in place to rotate the inspection staff randomly, no inspector becomes too familiar with the staff such that there is any compromise on integrity. These firms also have very strict policies in place against any such malpractices.
With all these benefits, is there a downside?
You do now know who will be inspecting your goods
One of the biggest fears that importers have when hiring a third-party inspection team is that they do not know who the inspection staff personally. There is the reservation that there might be unqualified staff assigned to conduct the inspection.
However, most third-party QC companies have a system in place whereby they train their inspection staff thoroughly and equip them with all the relevant information provided by you to conduct a thorough inspection. These companies also filter out staff in such a way that they send in staff with relevant experience related to your product.
Pre-shipment inspection is an essential part of your supply chain that ensures the optimal quality of your products. The above guide presents to you a list of options that you can choose from depending upon your needs.