You may have already been using a 3rd-party inspection company for a while to oversee the quality of your order. Let’s take a step-by-step tour with one of InTouch’s own inspectors to find out what’s going on behind the scenes. You may be surprised at what’s involved. Here are 8 steps to a day in the life of a QC product inspector:
Step 1: Confirming information for product inspection
The work of a product inspector actually begins one day before the scheduled service. The inspector usually calls the factory contact to check on the status of the order and see if what the factory contact says conforms to what’s documented on the booking form. The inspector also lets the factory rep know that he or she will be the inspector performing the service the following day. If there is any confusion or discrepancy, the inspector calls the nearest InTouch office.
Step 2: Setting out
On the day the inspection is scheduled, the product inspector usually sets out from home around 7:30am. Often the inspector will need to leave earlier if the factory is located in a more remote location further away. The inspector may even need to leave one day before the service date and stay in a hotel that night to ensure they have enough time to complete the inspection in one day.
Step 3: Getting to the factory
Many QC companies have a Code of Ethics that forbids product inspectors from accepting transportation from the factory. If the service location is within the same city, the inspector takes public transportation by bus or metro. If located in a neighboring city, the inspector takes a bus or train to the factory. Most factories are not located near a public transit station. So the inspector must take a taxi onward from the station nearest to the factory.
Step 4: Notifying the factory and QC office of arrival
The inspector calls the factory about 10 minutes before arrival. Once they arrive at the factory the inspector calls the InTouch office to notify Operations staff of their arrival.
Step 5: Performing the product inspection
The product inspector begins the service by verifying product quantities. He or she then pulls samples from the total order size according to the client's selected AQL limit. Lastly, he or she inspects the samples pulled and performs any required on-site testing according to the QC checklist. You can learn more by reading the article, The Buyer's Guide to the Product Inspection Process.
Step 6: Writing and submitting the inspection report
The product inspector writes the results of inspection in a detailed report. He or she uploads the completed report with relevant data and photos to InTouch’s online reporting system. Once the report is uploaded and submitted, the inspector calls the InTouch office to notify the relevant Client Manager. Staff from Client Services and Operations look over the report and call the inspector back if clarification is needed for any parts of the report.
Step 7: Signing the Factory Integrity Declaration and Factory Acknowledgment
QC companies often have procedures in place to ensure an acceptable level of conduct and integrity is followed. InTouch’s Factory Integrity Declaration form collects feedback from factory staff regarding the product inspector’s conduct during the inspection. A Factory Inspection Acknowledgement form, a simplified report without photos, verifies that the factory understands the inspection report. Both forms are printed and signed by the factory representative. If the factory refuses to sign off on either document, the inspector notifies the InTouch office right away.
Step 8: Receiving the “go ahead” to leave the factory
Once staff at the InTouch office have approved the report, they contact the product inspector to let him or her know they are allowed to leave the factory. The inspector leaves the factory by taxi or public transportation. In the days that follow, the inspector is available to respond to any questions from the client regarding the inspection result.
Now you’ve caught a brief glimpse at a product inspector’s typical workday – and it’s a long day! An inspector’s job doesn’t simply start and finish with inspection. For each service, an inspector must:
- Plan and prepare for product inspection
- Commute to the service location
- Carry out inspection
- Write and submit the inspection report
- Have the appropriate forms signed by factory staff
- Wait for approval from the QC office; and
- Answer any questions the client might have afterward
Now that you have an understanding of the role of a product inspector, you’ll have a better idea of the kind of service you should expect from your QC provider!