separate-defects-titleCan you remember a time when you were really disorganized? Now imagine the effect poor organization can have on the factory that’s manufacturing your product. Finally, consider the negative consequences that disorder can have on your QC partner when they’re carrying out a product inspection.

We’re all aware of the value of staying organized, especially when it comes to work flow. Defect separation is one aspect where organization can mean the difference between an accurate product inspection report and a vague or incomplete one. That’s why in this article, I’ll lay out three reasons why your QC inspector should separate defects during product inspection. And be sure to check out the manufacturing podcast that covers this article!

1. Defect separation saves time during product inspection

There are typically many processes in production that can lead to various product defects and other quality issues. A particular sewing process could be leaving creases in the leather being sewn for a chair’s upholstery. The gluing process could be leaving behind excess epoxy on the same chair. And the humid environment in which packing and storage of the chair take place could be warping the wood and leaving the furniture misshapen. Each production process has the potential to introduce a number of defects to a particular product.

But what’s important during product inspection is how defects are found and reported. After an inspector has finished verifying all of the units in the sample size, he needs to tally, document and photograph the occurrence of each product defect. If all defective units are grouped together, it can take a lot longer to sort out and account for each defect type and the number of units affected. Defect separation saves time and, in turn, can save you money on your inspection cost.

2. Defect separation prevents tampering by factory staff

Buyers and QC professionals alike want to believe that factory management and staff will be 100 percent cooperative with the product inspection process. But the reality is that product inspection is invasive; it adds another level of oversight to the separate-defects2factory’s manufacturing. And while inspection provides you with more transparency before your order ships, it’s not uncommon for factory staff to resist the process.

Resistance can take a number of forms, but when it comes to the product inspection process itself, we sometimes see factory staff tampering with defective units. Imagine that you’re inspecting a product. Each time you find a defective unit you label it with a defect sticker and set it down in a pile with any other defective units. By the end of inspection, you might have tens of defective units all in the same place. How hard, then, would it be for some of those defective units to go missing without you noticing? Factory staff could pretty easily remove defective units from the pile in hopes of changing the inspection result. That’s why it’s crucial that inspectors separate defects properly to minimize this risk.

3. Defect separation helps link problem to process

The best product inspection companies are able to go above and beyond simply reporting the defective units. Following a product inspection, an experienced QC partner is often, though not always, able to offer insight into the root cause of the defects.

You may have toured your supplier’s factory. But perhaps it’s been awhile since you paid them a visit or you aren’t very familiar with all the processes that go into making your product. It’s here, standing in the factory and looking at the product first-hand, where a QC inspector can offer that added value.

It can be difficult to determine the process that caused a particular defect if defective units are piled together haphazardly in the same area. That’s why defect separation is critical to accurate reporting and problem solving. By separating and labeling defects during a product inspection, an inspector has a much clearer idea of defect type and origin. This is important information that he’ll be able to provide in his report to you.


Whether you’re manufacturing your product in the United States, Vietnam or elsewhere, very few factories will be able to make your order perfectly with no defects. But defect separation during product inspection helps to ensure that you know what you’re getting before your order ships. Here are three reasons to separate defects during inspection:

  1. Defect separation saves time
  2. Defect separation prevents tampering; and
  3. Defect separation helps find the cause of defects

Product inspection, when performed properly, goes a long way to offering oversight and clarity to your orders. So ask your QC provider what procedures they have in place for separating defects during inspection. And make sure you’re getting the most “bang” for your quality buck! 

What other advice do you have related to defect separation during inspection? Share in the comments below!
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