Types of Quality Inspection Service for E-commerce Sellers

Quality Inspection Services for On-line Sellers
E-commerce retailing is becoming the major business model in both the developed and developing countries. Especially due to the global pandemic starting in 2020, buying online become an important option to shop safely for many consumers. Many major online marketplaces have substantially improved their customer support and logistics services that enhanced greatly the user experience. Many major marketplaces like Amazon that relies greatly for third party sellers also provides program like Amazon FBA to enhance the supply side logistics.

Many on-line sellers are participating in cross border e-commerce by moving products from Asian countries like China to the Western Countries. To protect their businesses from product quality issues, hiring third party quality inspection services is the best practice in global trading. However, there are many different types of product inspection service, what are the types of inspection service should be used by the E-commerce sellers?

Different Types of Quality Inspection Services

The quality inspection company provides different kinds of quality inspection services:

- Factory Audit:

Onsite factory inspection carried out at the premises of the manufacturer. It is aimed at checking the facilities, equipment, production capabilities, organization, internal quality control procedures and documentary reference.

- Product Quality inspection:
Product quality inspections are processes that checking, measuring, and testing the various product characteristics against the specifications, quality and regulatory requirements that laid down on the purchase contract. Broadly classified, product quality inspections can be carried out intermediately during the goods’ manufacturing (intermediate inspection) or when the manufacturing is completed (final inspection).

Intermediate Inspection
The intermediate inspection is carried out at different stages of the production process, they are:

1) Initial Product Inspection (IP)

The preliminary checking of materials and production methods to ensure products are produced in the right quality as requirements.

2) During Production Inspection (DPI)

Inspecting and checking the components, materials, semi-finished parts before they are put on track for further manufacturing process. It usually performs when the production is at least 25 % finished product.

Final inspection

The final inspection is conducted at the end of production and is generally called pre-shipment inspection, there are few variations

1) Final Random Inspection

Inspection is carried out when 100% production is completed and at least 80% packed is in export cartons. The cargo is then checked with random sampling method based on selected international standard and AQL. The inspection result is used to determine if the cargo should be accepted or rejected.

2) Full Check

All products and packaging of the entire shipment are checked and inspected.

What types of inspection should an online sellers use?

If you manage a small online store that hold a small number of items and a few pieces of each. It may not justify having product quality inspection as the inspection fee may eat up the profits and you can ask the suppliers ship the products to your place and you can remove the defect items by your own inspection.

However, many who source products in large quantity, like many successful Amazon FBA sellers or people who are running successful on-line stores with own private labels. Skipping product inspections in the sourcing activities is not a wise move.

A private label owner needs to maintain good product quality to build its brand equity in the long run. He may need to work with the manufacturer directly and deeply involve in the manufacturing process. Factory audit can help the owner to identify the right manufacturer partner before committing time and money long term. Intermediate Inspections such as Initial Product Inspection or During Production Inspection can be used smooth up the quality control procedures for the freshly established manufacturing collaboration. The IP and DPI are also helpful for production of new products. When the business relationship has established for a sufficient time and is stabilized, then final random inspection is the most cost-effective type of inspection to safeguard against quality risk.

Many online sellers may not build their own brands but selling products of regular suppliers through major marketplaces such as Amazon and Etsy. They are not deeply involved in the product manufacturing, but they still concern about their counter parties are traders or factories. Factories can provide better assurance on supply stability and product quality. Factory Audit can provide good assistance for them in choosing the reliable sources. Many third-party sellers are serious businesses, and they move volume. Pre-shipment inspections that are final random inspections should be a cost-effective option for them.

There are some online sellers who do not move volume but may sell expensive items online. Imagine selling expensive custom cabinet which is over a thousand dollars each. It may be worthy to conduct Full Check in this case.

Conclusion:
The evolution of the global supply chain and the advance of cross border e-commerce have forced many e-commerce sellers become international traders who buy products from Asian and sell them to the Western countries. Products return and money back are not feasible in international trading so hiring quality inspection services are the best way to prevent quality problems that can ruin your businesses. There are various types of quality inspection services in the market, use the right service combination to fit your quality control needs.

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Larry Fong
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