Third-party inspection is important for success of importing business. However, some factories may resist third-party inspection. You might hear a supplier say something like “we don’t need them” or “we have our own quality control staff”.

And it’s hard to blame them. They’re being asked to allow a stranger to come into their facility and check their work. Understandably, some suppliers feel they’re being subjected to unfair scrutiny from an outsider.

So how can you put your supplier at ease with the inspection process?

You can take specific steps to address the problem based on the symptoms presented. But there are also some measures you can take to prevent resistance from the factory in advance.

1). Clarifying the need for inspection when placing an order

Although third-party inspection is fairly commonplace, it can catch your supplier by surprise if you advise them of your requirement only shortly before shipping.

Letting your supplier know early that you’re expecting independent oversight prevents surprises and reduces the chance of resistance later on. The best way to do this is often by stipulating it as a term on the purchase order. This way, your supplier knows at the time of placing an order that this is a requirement.

2). Walking the supplier through the process

I once worked with an importer whose factory salesperson called me directly, and we went through the inspection criteria point-by-point so that they understood the requirements they had to meet.

It turned out that the factory had concerns with some of the points, so they talked with the importer, who agreed on a lower tolerance for some points, and an agreement was made to adjust the criteria. The factory then passed the inspection without any problems and third-party inspection later became a routine and important part of the purchasing process.

By taking the time to describe the inspection process to the supplier, you can prime them for what’s to come and mitigate any reservations they might have.

3). Explaining why inspection is beneficial

One of the best ways is to explain to them how inspection can actually be helpful for them and improve the relationship they have with you. With that in mind, here are key benefits of third-party inspection for suppliers:

i. Improved product quality

One of the most important benefits of third-party inspection for suppliers is the quality improvement that often results. Sometimes inspection reveals a product defect that’s easily preventable. Regardless of whether the defect is major, minor or critical, knowing about it before shipping helps the supplier address the root cause to correct the underlying problem.

Consider an order of headphones handed out on airline flights. The headphones might look acceptable on the outside, but closer examination reveals many with shoddy wiring and press marks on the ear pads. These problems have the potential to make the goods unsellable. And rather than shipping the headphones with defects, the supplier might allow outside product inspection of the order.

ii. Improved relationships with customers

When considering the benefits of third-party inspection for suppliers, improving the relationship you have with your supplier should be near the top of the list.

An importer that doesn’t have any external oversight into the status and condition of their order can’t be sure what they’ve paid for until they actually receive the finished goods. Similarly, the supplier isn’t able to get feedback from their customer on the goods until the customer sees them. And a difference between what the supplier and the importer believe is acceptable is one of the main reasons why the relationship between the two parties can turn sour.


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