A while ago we briefly discussed the importance of quality control. This time around we look at the steps one can take to check quality on products right before they are shipped. Of course, there are many other stages at which this can occur, but if you have limited resources then this is a great place to start. Especially if one can do the checks and immediately ship out the packages afterwards, you not only save time but also know that you’ve sent out quality products.
Here are some basic quality checks that should be done in the pre-shipment phase:
Health and safety regulations
Make sure your products comply with the relevant health and safety regulations. Check compliancy as set out by safety inspectors. Also, it is important to make sure that your product does not pose a threat to the safety of its users.
Industry and government standards
Do products match up with what is regulated by the industry as well as the government? Remember to think about where the shipment is going, and to take into consideration the checkpoints it will have to go through to ensure compliance is reached everywhere.
Check whether the quantity specified in the order is exactly the same as the quantity that is on its way to be shipped. If there are a variety of products in one shipment, check within each separate package. If an order says that there are four identical products in one shipment, make sure that all four are included and indeed the same.
Does each product function exactly as it should? Does it look like what the customer expects it to look like? For example, if an electronic catalogue image or example has been shown to the client, ensure that what is shipped matches what was shown when the order was placed. Consistency is key when it comes to quality control. Look at size, weight, technical specifications and workmanship of all products.
Also, take into consideration if it is a repeat order and make sure that what the client receives is exactly the same as what they purchased before. A lapse here can make the client think that they are getting an inferior product. If perhaps the packaging has changed on a purely aesthetic level then notify the client of this change so that they know what’s inside is still the same.
Packaging and packing
Is the packaging intended for shipping secure? Take into consideration the type of product being shipped and make sure that the packaging suits the nature of the product (for example the fragility of the product or its tolerance to certain temperatures). Also, think about how it will be transported, i.e. ground, ship or air. Make sure that the packaging is of such a nature to protect its contents against any potential damage while in transit.
Another issue that needs to be dealt with, prior to adopting a pre-shipment quality control check, is who will be in charge of quality control. You can choose to appoint in-house staff or a third-party agency to perform the checks for you. Furthermore, you also need to decide if you will only check a selected set of samples or 100% of the goods to be shipped. The most important thing to remember, however, is that some quality control is better than no quality control at all.