How to manage with failed Quality Control or failed Quality Inspection in China


When most importers purchase in China or in Asia, since they are mostly constrained by payment terms to pay before shipment of their goods, either they decide to perform quality inspection of their goods before shipment or either not controlling anything at all. It is up to them to decide which risks they like to take. In my case, I always perform at minimum a Pre-Shipment Inspection before any shipment.

If they decide to perform quality control  before shipment, they can turn to a quality inspection company locally based to send an inspector which will verify product quality. In this case, when the inspector is on site and notice some defectives, he will report them via a quality inspection report. Most of time, the quality control report will indicate what defects are found and in which proportion.

Then the client (importer or buyer) will have to manage himself the next step process to manage this issue. So far I have seen several possibilities to manage them from a buyer / importer perspective

The client accepting defect let the cargo to ship with defectives. He will simply take in consideration that unavoidably there will always be some defectives in each production around 2-4 %. He consider that his margin will integrate those cost of non quality. Some people will also ship with those type of defective rate if they estimate that delivery time is more important that product quality (this is particularly frequent on gift and promotional items).

The client who ask his supplier to reopen all the products from their packaging and to reinspect the goods and replace defctive ones. Believe me or not, but this operation is very painfull for a supplier because suddenly all workmanship cost will just triple. For this reason most of suppliers are extremly reluctant to do so. So, quite often what they do, they tell to their client “OK we will reinspect everything” but in 95% of the time they just don’t do it. They will just wait a new inspection is coming to validate the goods and will prey and hope this time the inspector say it is OK.

The client who decide to perform a Defect Sorting on his cargo which just  got inspected via a Pre-Shipment Inspection. In this case, the Defect Sorting process will filter defective products to keep only the good one. It means that he takes an active post production approach to solve his quality problem. In short, next time he will order at this supplier, there is high chance that similar problems happen again.

The client who decide to take a Root Cause Analysis and preventive approach. This one is usually a client who understand that root cause should be fixed to avoid unnecessary issue and unnecessary filtering on each single order he makes.

Manage quality issue on a production can be dealt in several way depending on the term (long term, short term, middle term). It is up to the client to decide the way he wans to go with it.

What is your experience with managing quality control in China ?

About Christopher Oliva 77 Articles
Christopher Oliva is an Engineer based in Shenzhen since 2008 involved in Product Development, Supply Chain, Sourcing, Quality Management and Manufacturing activities. With a Msc Electrical Engineering and a Business Administration background, an ISO 9001 Lead Auditor Certification, a Six Sigma Certification and a Quality Engineering Certification, he works as a consultant on mission and contract oriented to Product Development, Manufacturing Management, Quality Assurance & Quality Management System setup. He works in the product development and engineering field, and as well as an advisor and quality consultant for several quality control and quality assurance companies.

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