The footwear industry is complex. With almost 90% of all footwear products being manufactured in Asia, brands all over the world are bound to face challenges when importing their products from overseas.
Labor costs, changes in consumer preferences, and supply chain shortages are just a few of the biggest obstacles footwear brands are dealing with. Keep reading to learn how to solve these challenges with the right footwear quality inspection.
4 Production Challenges and How To Solve Them With Footwear Quality Inspection
Problem #1: Quality of Raw materials
Many quality issues that footwear brands have to deal with can be attributed to defects in the raw materials. Some of the most common defects include :
- Fabric holes and tears
- Color variations
- Dirt, stains, uneven dyeing, abrasion marks, growth marks, scratches, and looseness
- Cheaper mat
The Solution: Pre-Production Inspection (PPI)
A Pre-Production Inspection helps to identify quality risks before manufacturing begins. During a PPI, inspectors will visit the production site to conduct a physical inspection of the raw materials and verify their condition. Typical checks include material status, material condition, and production readiness, among others.
Problem #2: Poor Workmanship
Poor workmanship accounts for a significant part of footwear defects. Human error is prevalent in the footwear industry. Some producers lack the skills required to make high-quality footwear for western markets. Common faults include:
- Abrasion marks
- Weak cementing
- Shoe size difference
- Sharp projecting objects
- Excess adhesives
The Solution: Pre-Shipment Inspection (PSI)
A pre-shipment inspection happens at the end of the manufacturing process when 80 to 100 percent of the items are produced and packed for export. Inspectors visit the production site and conduct a physical inspection of a randomly selected sample of the goods. Main checks include quantity, workmanship, and various other onsite tests.
Problem #3: Consumer Expectation
In the competitive footwear industry, brands must give consumers the best value. Style, fit, and comfort are still important factors in purchase decisions, but so are lifespan, functionality, and adaptability.
Customers demand properly sized footwear with exact proportions; therefore, getting a perfect fit is crucial. Buyers have realized that, in addition to comfort, improperly suited footwear can cause painful foot diseases and disorders. However, in the e-commerce age, with a rising quantity of shoes being bought online, guaranteeing a decent fit has become more challenging than ever.
The Solution: Supplier Qualification Audit
A Supplier Qualification Audit is a critical step in securing your supply chain when identifying new prospective suppliers. This type of inspection ensures that your goods are being manufactured by a legitimate supplier who can meet your requirements. Auditors will perform an on-site evaluation of the factory and assess the supplier’s capabilities, capacity, workforce, and more.
Problem #4: Environmental Footprint
Due to the rise of eco-conscious consumerism, the footwear industry has come under fire for its energy-intensive operations. The multiple materials and production steps provide a significant issue for shoemakers as they account for over 90% of total environmental impacts throughout the product's life cycle.
Plenty of fossil fuel is needed for machinery and chemicals. According to an MIT study, one shoe production emits 30 pounds of CO2 on average. Also, a variety of chemical adhesives and tanning chemicals are employed in footwear production. These chemicals can seep into water sources and pollute the environment.
The Solution: Environmental Audit
An environmental audit helps to develop a sustainable procurement approach to your imported products by assessing the commitment of vendors to environmentally responsible practices. Auditors visit your supplier’s factory and examine issues such as resource consumption and pollution prevention. Common checks performed will include environmental policy, waste disposal, working environment, and resource consumption among others. In addition to performing an environmental audit, we will also provide your supplier with a corrective action plan to help improve their management practices moving forward.
Enhance Your Quality Control With Asia Quality Focus
Footwear production carries an array of challenges. However, with efficient quality control, you will be well beyond the competition. At AQF, we believe that a faster time-to-market provides our clients with a significant competitive edge in their respective sectors. That's why, in all of our Quality Control services, we employ a cutting-edge technological platform to provide unrivaled simplicity, flexibility, and speed. Contact us today to enjoy our services.