Before the actual process of manufacturing the product starts, incoming quality control, or IQC, is used to watch the calibre of the raw materials and components. If your company purchases goods from a third-party manufacturer in China, IQC is essential to ensure consistent batch quality over time and save money on fixing post-production faults. This is especially true if you’re buying goods or components from abroad like China and have little to no direct control over the manufacturing process.
Once you place an order and pay the deposit, your supplier will start buying materials for producing your product. Most of the time, the factory will only use vendors they have a long-term business relationship. But even in this situation, you should never assume that the quality will meet your standards. This is particularly true for companies that purchase materials and parts that require heavy assembly.
One of the first production guidelines in China is to never have complete faith in a supplier. Always verify and confirm anything your supplier says they are going to do. If you know anyone who has had experience manufacturing in China, then you must have heard some horror stories from people who’ve dealt with scammers.
Therefore, before making that first order, regardless of what your supplier tells you, an IQC in China factory is a must. With this, we’ll give you a brief introduction to one of China’s most popular kinds of factory audits.
Verifying basic Documents
IQC in China starts with a review of the basic details provided by the supplier. Investigations are conducted into every detail from financial data, warehouse location, contact information, product category, and proof of prior customer orders.
However, if a factory exports overseas, a similar inspection will be used to verify the import permit. Checking the factory’s initial documents can help confirm that it exists and that it can create the products you require.
Inspection of Materials and Parts
Your products may not withstand complete lab testing. However, hiring a qualified third-party IQC in China to examine the raw materials and any other parts before the start of the manufacturing process is still strongly advised. This will enable you to identify and address any quality issues with the provider in advance.
Additionally, you can decide whether to replace the complete batch or just the defective products. In any event, you would save much more time and money than if you were to find the flaws after the completion of the product. After the problems have been resolved, it’s a good idea to recheck the parts or components to ensure that they fully adhere to your standards.
Third-party lab testing methods for evaluating components and materials include:
Chemical analysis and testing, such as composition analysis, tracing of impurities, metal testing, and identifying unidentified compounds.
Testing of physical packages and dimensions, including tests for stability, durability, strength, and flammability.
Testing of mechanical packages, such as resilience to deformation, fracture, and fatigue.
Regulatory testing, examines whether your product category and the target market comply with the legal standards that apply to it.
Factory Manufacturing Environment
Factory audits entail an actual examination of the processes (moulding, assembly, packaging, etc.), machinery, and documents to ensure that the supplier is set up under the widely recognised ISO 9001 standards. This part of the supplier IQC in China confirms that every machine is properly calibrated and well-documented.
Factories that operate in an organised environment often produce products of higher quality than those that do not.
Suppliers with their Own Incoming Inspection
Not all importers are required to carry out IQC themselves or with the assistance of a qualified third party. Suppliers should have their incoming inspection processes in place if they have a well-developed quality management system (QMS).
However, you might still benefit from third-party IQC if –
You’ve suffered quality problems resulting from raw materials or other variables in prior orders.
The raw materials that go into making your product are too expensive, hard to find, or difficult to be replaced or rework.
Since this is your first time dealing with a supplier, you want to confirm how they conduct incoming inspections.
You participate in product materials and component third-party testing in laboratories.
Hiring a third party for incoming audits in these situations can provide additional assurance that everything is in order before product manufacturing starts.
You can confirm the quality of the components and materials used for your product with the help of IQC. The next time you’re thinking about working with a Chinese supplier who makes high-quality claims about their products, ask them for records proving the quality inspections of incoming materials. If they can’t provide them, you might want to consider your options.