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Consumer Product Testing

HQTS takes great pride in our technical brain trust. They are constantly updating our internal knowledge base so we are prepared to proactively inform our customers on issues affecting their products. In addition, each month we send out our Product Safety and Compliance Update. This is a comprehensive view into the latest industry and regulatory changes and recall review that helps you make critical decisions. We invite you to join our list of recipients. Use the Contact Us form to get on the list to receive it.

Regulatory laws and guidelines are an increasing challenge to importers through the world. How these affect you will vary widely based on your product type, component materials, where the product is being shipped, and the end-users in your market. Since the risk is so high, it is imperative you stay up to date on all relevant regulatory laws affecting your products. HQTS staff can work with you to determine your exact requirements and propose a custom solution to best meet your needs. We also provide monthly updates on regulatory matters to keep our customers informed. Feel free to use the contact form to get on our newsletter list.

Prop 65 is the 1986 voter-approved Safe Drinking Water & Toxic Enforcement Act that includes a a list of Chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and/or reproductive toxicity. If a product contains a listed chemical, then the product must contain a “clear and reasonable” warning label informing consumers of the presence of the chemical and stating the chemical is known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.

Although companies with fewer than 10 employees are exempt, if they sell a violative product to a retailer with more than 10 employees, the retailer could receive a notice of violation. In these circumstances, retailers usually rely on clauses within their contacts with importers that require the importer take responsibility for the violation.

A plaintiff may seek injunctive relief requiring a company caught selling a violative product to suspend sales, conduct a recall, or reformulate the product. Plaintiffs can also obtain penalties of up to $2,500 per violation per day. A more general California statute allows most successful plaintiffs to recover their attorneys’ fees as well.

Many are now choosing to rely on 3rd party testing companies to verify that hazardous substances are not being used in their products.

The simplest way is to engage a 3rd party testing company, such as HQTS. Some manufacturers self-test and/or rely on local testing labs for certifying their products. However, there is no guarantee these labs, or their equipment, are reliable. Nor is there any guarantee the results are accurate. In either case, the importer may be held responsible for the product. In view of the risk, most companies opt to use a 3rd party testing lab. HQTS’ 80,00 sf laboratory is centrally located in Hangzhou China, and does a broad range of consumer goods for all regulatory testing requirements.

Package testing is mandated by regulations for some products such as; food, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, dangerous goods, etc. This may cover both the design qualification, periodic retesting, and control of the packaging processes. For unregulated products, testing may be required by a contract or governing specification. However, for most consumer goods, package testing is often a business decision involving risk management for factors such as:

• cost of packaging
• cost of package testing
• value of package contents
• value of good will in your market
• product liability exposure
• other potential costs of inadequate packaging

HQTS staff would be happy to assess your specific product and packaging requirements to help you determine whether package testing can improve your quality deliverables.

Quality Control Consulting

AQL is the acronym for Acceptable Quality Limit (or Level). This represents a statistical measurement of the maximum number and range of defects that is considered acceptable during a random sampling inspection of your goods. If the AQL is not achieved for a particular sampling of goods, you may accept shipment of the goods ‘as is’, demand a rework of the goods, renegotiate with you supplier, refuse the shipment, or choose another recourse based on your supplier agreement.  

Defects found during a standard random inspection are sometimes classified into three levels: critical, major and minor. Critical defects are those that render the product unsafe or hazardous for the end user or that contravene mandatory regulations. Major defects can result in the product’s failure, reducing its marketability, usability or salability. Lastly, minor defects do not affect the product’s marketability or usability, but represent workmanship defects that make the product fall short of defined quality standards. Different companies maintain different interpretations of each defect type. Our staff can work with you to determine the AQL standard that meets your requirements according to the level of risk you are willing to assume. This becomes the primary reference during a pre-shipment inspection.

It is important to note; the AQL inspection is only a report on the findings at the time of the inspection. HQTS, like all 3rd party QC companies, does not have the authority to make a decision as to whether your goods can be shipped. That is a decision only you can make in consultation with your supplier after reviewing the inspection report.

 

A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a type of performance measurement that tracks and evaluates the output of manufacturers in various ways, including quality, delivery, satisfaction and others depending on customer requirements. HQTS does not provide this as a standard service to our clients. However, we may do so on a case by case basis. If this is a business requirement, we welcome you to contact us. We can discuss how we currently provide this to some key customers, and whether our approach fits your requirements.

In a word, YES. There are myriad issues that may affect quality and delivery time of your product. HQTS provides Production Management and QC consulting services to augment our standard quality control services. If your supplier is cooperative with your efforts at improving quality in their facilities and processes, HQTS consulting staff can help identify and advise on issues in their total quality management and production process.

Quality Control Inspections

The type of quality control inspection you need largely depends on the quality goals you are trying to achieve, the relative importance of quality as it relates to your market, and whether there are any current production issues that need to be resolved.

We invite you to explore all the inspection types we provide by clicking here.  

Or, you can contact us, and our staff can work with you to determine your exact requirements, and propose a custom solution to best meet your needs.

AQL is the acronym for Acceptable Quality Limit (or Level). This represents a statistical measurement of the maximum number and range of defects that is considered acceptable during a random sampling inspection of your goods. If the AQL is not achieved for a particular sampling of goods, you may accept shipment of the goods ‘as is’, demand a rework of the goods, renegotiate with you supplier, refuse the shipment, or choose another recourse based on your supplier agreement.  

Defects found during a standard random inspection are sometimes classified into three levels: critical, major and minor. Critical defects are those that render the product unsafe or hazardous for the end user or that contravene mandatory regulations. Major defects can result in the product’s failure, reducing its marketability, usability or salability. Lastly, minor defects do not affect the product’s marketability or usability, but represent workmanship defects that make the product fall short of defined quality standards. Different companies maintain different interpretations of each defect type. Our staff can work with you to determine the AQL standard that meets your requirements according to the level of risk you are willing to assume. This becomes the primary reference during a pre-shipment inspection.

It is important to note; the AQL inspection is only a report on the findings at the time of the inspection. HQTS, like all 3rd party QC companies, does not have the authority to make a decision as to whether your goods can be shipped. That is a decision only you can make in consultation with your supplier after reviewing the inspection report.

 

It may be possible to get an initial quality control inspection report the same day. However, the verified report is not available until the next business day. It is not always possible to upload the report into our system from the supplier location, so the inspector may have to wait until he returns to the local or home office to do so. In addition, while the vast majority of our inspectors throughout Asia have good English skills, we want a final review by a supervisor with excellent language skills. This also allows for a final review for accuracy and internal audit purposes.

It is important to understand the role of a QC provider. Inspection companies only evaluate and report on findings. We do not decide if the production lot is acceptable, nor do we help the manufacturer resolve issues, unless that service has been arranged. An inspector’s sole responsibility is to ensure that proper procedures are followed for the relevant AQL inspections and them report findings. If a supplier takes no remedial actions based on those findings, the sale problems will occur repeatedly. HQTS provides QC consulting and production management services that can help a supplier resolve production issues. Please contact us for more details.

There are many factors that can affect the timely completion of a quality control inspection order. Most common among these is production not being completed. HQTS requires production to be 100% complete and at least 80% packaged or shipping before we will complete the inspection. If this is not adhered to, the integrity of the inspection is compromised.

Other factors may include sever weather conditions, uncooperative factory staff, unexpected transportation issues, incorrect addresses supplied by the customer and/or factory. Failure of the factory or supplier to communicate a delay in production to HQTS. All these issues lead to frustration and delay. However, HQTS Customer Service staff works hard to communicate directly with the factory or supplier on all matters regarding the inspections date, locations, delays, etc., to minimize these issues.

Your coordinator is in constant communication with your supplier and our inspection team regarding your inspection schedule. So, in most cases, we will know in advance if the date needs to be changed. In some cases however, the supplier will not communicate in a timely manner. In this case, unless otherwise directed in advance by you, we cancel the inspection. A partial inspection fee will be assessed and you have the right to recoup that cost from your supplier.

Typically, each inspector will work 8 hours per day, not counting meal breaks. How much time he spends at the factory depends on how many inspectors are working there, and whether the paperwork is completed at the factory, or at the office. As an employer, we are bound by China labor law, so there is a limit to the amount of time our staff can work each day without incurring additional charges. Many times, we have more than one inspector onsite, so typically the report will be completed while at the factory. At other times, the report will be completed later in the local, or home office. It is important to remember however, it is not only the inspector who is dealing with your inspection. Every report is reviewed and cleared by a supervisor, and processed by your coordinator. So many hands are involved in a single inspection and report. However, we put forth our best effort at maximizing efficiency in your behalf. We have proved time and again that our pricing and man hour quotes are very competitive.

HQTS has a dynamic inspector and auditor training and audit program. This includes periodic retraining and testing, unannounced visits to factories where quality control inspections, or factory audits, are being conducted, random interviews with suppliers, and random audits of inspector reports as well as periodic efficiency audits. Our inspectors program has resulted in developing staff of inspectors that are among the best in the industry, and our competitors frequently try to recruit them away.

Factory & Supplier Audits

HQTS has a dynamic inspector and auditor training and audit program. This includes periodic retraining and testing, unannounced visits to factories where quality control inspections, or factory audits, are being conducted, random interviews with suppliers, and random audits of inspector reports as well as periodic efficiency audits. Our inspectors program has resulted in developing staff of inspectors that are among the best in the industry, and our competitors frequently try to recruit them away.

Do you REALLY know who you are buying from? Do you REALLY know what their production capabilities are and whether they can produce what you expect? These are important questions when assessing a potential vendor. Asia is ripe with middlemen, sub-contracting, materials and component swapping, fraudulent certifications and licensing, and sub-standard facilities, materials, and equipment. The only way to be sure who your supplier is and what his capabilities are, is to do an onsite evaluation or audit. HQTS has experienced professional staff that are ready to conduct your factory audit supplier evaluation. Contact us today for details on the broad range of audit and evaluation types we can provide for you.

Doing business in Asia can be a tricky and expensive effort if sufficient due diligence is not done for a supplier. How much is required may depend on your buyer’s requirements, your personal commitment to social compliance, and other business needs. HQTS provides supplier evaluations and factory audit services from simple evaluation to complex technical n social compliance audits. HQTS staff can work with you to determine your exact requirements and propose a custom solution to best meet your needs.

Consumer Products & Retail

AQL is the acronym for Acceptable Quality Limit (or Level). This represents a statistical measurement of the maximum number and range of defects that is considered acceptable during a random sampling inspection of your goods. If the AQL is not achieved for a particular sampling of goods, you may accept shipment of the goods ‘as is’, demand a rework of the goods, renegotiate with you supplier, refuse the shipment, or choose another recourse based on your supplier agreement.  

Defects found during a standard random inspection are sometimes classified into three levels: critical, major and minor. Critical defects are those that render the product unsafe or hazardous for the end user or that contravene mandatory regulations. Major defects can result in the product’s failure, reducing its marketability, usability or salability. Lastly, minor defects do not affect the product’s marketability or usability, but represent workmanship defects that make the product fall short of defined quality standards. Different companies maintain different interpretations of each defect type. Our staff can work with you to determine the AQL standard that meets your requirements according to the level of risk you are willing to assume. This becomes the primary reference during a pre-shipment inspection.

It is important to note; the AQL inspection is only a report on the findings at the time of the inspection. HQTS, like all 3rd party QC companies, does not have the authority to make a decision as to whether your goods can be shipped. That is a decision only you can make in consultation with your supplier after reviewing the inspection report.

 

HQTS General Information

HQTS currently provides inspection and QC related services in China, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Turkey. In addition, we have sales and business support operations in China, Japan, India, Brazil, Germany, Poland and the USA.

We know you have many choices in choosing a QC partner, however customers work with us for many reasons. The four reasons that are most often conveyed in their comments to us include; competitive pricing, fast communication, technical professionalism, and an unparalleled ethics program. This, of course, is easy to say. We invite you to contact us today to let us prove it!

Ethics & Bribery Control

It goes without saying that issues of bribery will surface from time to time. HQTS is very proactive, with a zero-tolerance policy, concerning bribery and serious lapses in ethics. If you ever suspect any of our staff of a breach of trust, we encourage you to contact your coordinator immediately, providing all details available to support your conclusions. Our quality assurance team will immediately launch a comprehensive investigation. It is a transparent process in which we keep you informed throughout. If it should prove true and resulted in loss to you, HQTS accepts liability under the terms spelled out your service agreement. We work very hard to avoid these issues, and our robust ethics policy sets the industry standard. We would be happy to provide additional information if you request it.

Yes. Under the terms of our certification, we are legally bound to accept a certain amount of liability for substandard work on our part that results in loss. The exact terms can be found in your service agreement. Please contact us for any specific questions regarding liability.

We have a dedicated compliance department that handles matter related to ethics ad bribery.  This group has developed and implemented an anti-bribery control system modeled on the system used by USA financial institutions under banking regulations. 

This robust ethics program includes the following features to assist in mitigating instances of bribery:

  • Inspectors are full-time employees paid at above market rates
  • We have a zero tolerance anti-bribery policy
  • Initial and continuing ethics education
  • Regular analysis of inspector AQL data
  • Incentives for reporting violations
  • Unannounced inspection audits
  • Unannounced inspector audits
  • Periodic rotation of inspectors
  • Fully transparent investigations

If you wish to obtain a copy of our ethics policy, please contact us today.

HQTS has published a Code of Ethics (hereinafter “the Code”) that provides clear direction to employees in all areas of their daily business activities. All employees, managers and executives are responsible for assuring that compliance remains a vital component of our business process. We ensure that the principles embodied in the Code are implemented throughout our internal Quality System processes, procedures, and audits. Supported by rich knowledge and experience in the field, and benefiting from over 500 staff members, HQTS is dedicated to helping our customers meet all their Quality, Safety and Ethical Standards to support their supply chain in the global marketplace. If you wish to obtain a copy of our Code of Ethics, please contact us.

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