An effective quality control checklist template should cover the following technical areas.
1. Packaging requirements
This first major section should contain details about the shipper carton, any inner carton and any retail carton or packaging. Packaging requirements are important for your supplier to reference here, regardless of whether you will verify packaging during inspection.
The packaging section should typically contain the following:
A. Packaging weight and dimensions
B. Shipper carton labeling and marking requirements
C. Shipper carton material requirements (e.g. single or double layer, binding method, white or brown cardboard)
D. Packaging method and assortment
E. Retail packaging printings, graphics and labeling
Product requirements shown on the quality control sheet should include:
A. Product weight and dimensions
B. Material and construction
C. Product color (consider including Pantone color codes where applicable)
D. Markings and labeling (e.g. UL or the voltage rating for electronics)
2. On-site tests and checks
Almost any product inspection should contain some on-site tests and checks. Including this information in your QC checklist helps inform the supplier of what tests you expect the product and packaging to pass.
A. Barcode scan check (for any items with a barcode)
B. Carton drop test (for packaging)
C. GSM check (for fabric density)
D. Moisture check (for wood items, such as furniture or moldings)
E. Cross hatch adhesion test (for enamel-coated cookware items)
F. Vulcanization test (for rubber items, especially footwear)
G. Function test (applicable for most items)
H. Hi-pot test (for electrical items)
3. Required inspection equipment
Since you wouldn’t have any way to verify fabric density at that point, you might be forced to:
A. Reschedule the inspection, needlessly costing time and money or
B. Ship the goods without knowing fabric density, which could result in unhappy customers or receiving unsellable product if density is too low.
4. Specifying who will provide equipment
In the fabric density example above, you might have included this test and the required equipment in your quality control inspection checklist. But the supplier could mistakenly think the inspector will bring the testing equipment.
Likewise, the inspector might assume the factory will have the equipment available on-site. To prevent this mix up, include who should provide each piece of equipment in your quality control checklist template.
5. Defect classification
You might mention specific quality defects or other issues to your supplier and tell them which ones you can and cannot accept. You might even provide photos of these and describe the level of severity of different issues that’s acceptable.
But a much better way to provide objective tolerances for quality issues is to include a section in your QC checklist for classifying defects. This section should point out any and all potential quality defects and classify each as either “minor”, “major” or “critical”
This section of your quality control checklist template also tells the supplier and inspector about your tolerances for product defects.
For example, you might classify a gap between product components as “minor” if it measures 3 mm or less but “major” if it exceeds 3 mm. You might specify that glue residue on a product is a “minor” defect if it can be easily removed but “major” if it cannot be removed.
Creating a quality control inspection checklist should be among the first steps you take to develop an effective quality control program. Creating a quality control checklist template for all subsequent inspections will help ensure consistency in reporting and results.
A detailed checklist can save you a lot of trouble in the long run. As a handy reference for workers on the factory floor, it can prevent sub-standard or non-conforming goods. And since this document is in writing, it can also serve as a reference if you have a disagreement with the factory about product standards.