Factory Auditing Services

As an importer, your number one risk is to pay for a production, choose not to audit the factory, wait for the goods, and realize that they can’t be sold — once they are in your country!

You will probably not be able to send defective products back to China for repair, or to ask for a re-production at the supplier’s cost.

The solution is twofold:

  • Factory audits: make sure the suppliers you find are capable and reliable.
  • Quality checks: verify the quality of your products when they are still in the factory.

1. Factory audits: ensuring that you work with the right supplier

Chinese exporters are pretty good at telling you what you want to hear. If you are required to send a down payment (which will never be given back), shouldn’t you try to know where your products are going to be made?

Depending on your budget and your needs, we offer several types of audits:

1.1 Technical & Quality Audit (TQA) — for an in-depth evaluation of the manufacturer’s capability and reliability. It is the “standard” type of audit.

1.2 Social Compliance Audit (SCA) — for an in-depth evaluation of social compliance issues. Can be based on our standard checklist, on Walmart standards, etc.

1.3 Initial Factory Evaluation (IFE) — relevant for small factories (below 300-400 workers). And for buyers with a small budget.

Pricing and service description sheet available upon request. IFE pricing starts at 279 USD, and TQA/SCA at 495 USD.

You don’t know how it works? Watch this infographic–> Factory Audit Infographic

Factory Audit

2. Quality checks: keeping an eye on the quality of your production

Remember, you are paying for your products, and you should be able to send a representative in the factory to watch production. This is very standard. If your supplier objects to it, it it highly suspicious.

There are basically three types of quality control services.

2.1 Final Random Inspection (FRI) — Confirm the average quality of a product batch, a few days before the goods are shipped out. The audit is based on a statistically valid sample. It is the most common type of inspection.

2.2 During Production Inspection (DPI) — Catch issues as early as possible and point them to the manufacturer. And take samples at random for laboratory tests, in case you need to comply with strict regulatory standards.

2.3 Packing & Loading Supervision (PLS) — Record the quantity and check the packing method. And supervise the loading method.

Pricing and service description sheet available upon request. Inspection services start at 299 USD. Discounts are available for high volumes of work.

You don’t know how it works? Watch this infographic –>Final Random Inspection Infographic

You are confused by some technical QC terms? Read our glossary, or read about the basic QC concepts.

Product Loading Check

What do we report to our clients after a TQA?

Factory profile, detailed staff count, type of product currently on the lines.
Observation of one production line: process steps, type and number of machines.
Capacity evaluation for one line that makes a product close to the client’s intended production.
In-depth audit of the quality system: incoming QC, in-process QC, final QC, instrument calibration…
Evaluation of internal procedures, sub-suppliers qualification, storage conditions, maintenance…
Quick overview of personal safety and working environment.
Photos of factory building, production workshop, warehouse, office area.
Photos of business license, export license, and certificates if any.
Specific checkpoints suggested by our client, if any.


What do we report to our clients after an SCA?

Factory profile, detailed staff count, type of product currently on the lines.
In-depth audit of social policy: child labor, forced labor, number of hours worked… (with random interviews).
In-depth audit of safety policy: fire prevention, evacuation plan, chemical hazards, protective equipment.
Evaluation of health and safety in workshops, canteens, and dormitories used by workers.
Assessment of environment policy: waste disposal, energy-efficient equipment…
Photos of factory building, production workshop, warehouse, office area.
Specific checkpoints suggested by our client, if any.


What do we report to our clients after an IFE?

Factory profile, staff count, products they are currently making.
Observation of one production line: process steps, number of machines.
Overview of general organization, quality system, and equipment condition.
Photos of factory building, production workshop, warehouse, office area.
Photos of business license, export license, and any certificates.


What is checked during an FRI?

The full quantity is counted. The quantity of pieces per outer and inner packing unit is also checked.
A technician looks for visual defects on every sample, and the AQL limits determine if quality is acceptable.
A technician checks whether the client’s specifications are respected, on products but also on labeling and packaging.
A technician applies product-specific checkpoints: safety tests, function tests… as advised by engineers who prepare the checklist.


What is the objective of a DPI?

The full quantity is counted. The quantity of pieces per outer and inner packing unit is also checked.
A technician looks for visual defects on every sample, and the AQL limits determine if quality is acceptable.
A technician checks whether the client’s specifications are respected, on products but also on labeling and packaging.
A technician applies product-specific checkpoints: safety tests, function tests… as advised by engineers who prepare the checklist.


What is checked during a PLS?

The quantity of goods to ship is counted (if all is packed).
The inner and outer packing are reviewed. A quick re-work might still be possible ifproblems are found.
The condition of the container(s) and/or the truck(s) is checked for dryness, smells, air tightness.
The loading activity is supervised. And, if the client has prepared a loading plan, the factory has to respect it.
The unique identifiers of the container, the seal, and the truck are recorded.

Note: the FRI, not the PLS, is the right time to stop poor quality (as we explained here).