Pre-shipment inspection is an integral aspect of quality control procedures for products purchased from overseas suppliers. The procedure presents manufacturers with the opportunity to rectify their products before they are shipped, thereby averting costly import risks. The inspection addresses areas such as safety, functionality, appearance, and dimensions of the products.

The aim of pre-shipment inspection is to ensure that the production of goods is in compliance with the principal specifications and purchase order. This is accomplished through an inspection wherein random samples of finished products are examined, typically when 100% of the order has been manufactured and at least 80% of the order has been packed. 

Pre-shipment inspection serves several purposes, including:

·      Examining the quality and quantity of products.

·      Scrutinizing products for defects.

·      Ensuring that products adhere to the safety requirements of the destination market.

·      Issuing inspection reports for importing customs clearance.

1) On-Site Inspection

The inspection of products is carried out at the manufacturing plant or warehouse. QC inspectors gauge products for defects. If they find discrepancies, they recommend that the product undergoes further investigation. Usually, if the products fail on-site inspection, they need to be reworked, and then a re-inspection will be arranged.

2) Quantity Check

Counting of the shipping cartons ascertains that the right quantity of products is shipped. Doing so also ensures that the required number of products reaches the correct destination. After the counting, the findings of the inspection are accepted by the supplier, the buyer, and the bank, and the payment for a letter of credit is initiated.  

The cartons or boxes are also examined to see if the packaging material used is safe for transportation, and whether or not the products have been labeled correctly.   

3) Random Selection of Samples 

Inspectors randomly select product samples for examination. All certified pre-shipment inspection services use the internationally recognized statistical sampling procedure ANSI/ASQC Z1.4. 

The acceptable number of imperfections in a batch before it is rejected is defined with an Acceptance Quality Limit (AQL). This value depends on the type of product being assessed. The primary aim, however, is to provide an impartial assessment. 

4) Check for Function and Appearance 

The quality control inspector examines the general function and appearance of the finished products from the samples. Any visible defects are identified and categorized as minor, major, or critical. 

This assessment is based on predetermined acceptable tolerance levels that have been agreed upon by the manufacturer and the supplier during the product development stage. 

5) Preparation of Inspection Report 

Upon the completion of pre-shipment inspection, a comprehensive report is prepared with the pass/fail result clearly mentioned along with the necessary details and key findings. The reports also include images that display all inspection points that visibly explain the discoveries.


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