Why is a factory audit or supplier evaluation important?

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.

How can I get updates on regulatory issues?

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.

Can I get the report the same day of the inspection?

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.

How many hours does the inspector work at the factory?

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.

What if production is not ready when the inspection is scheduled?

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.

What should I do if I suspect bribery?

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 in 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.

Why was my inspection not completed?

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 severe 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.

What does AQL mean?

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.

 

In what countries does HQTS provide service?

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, France and the USA.

What should I know about my supplier?

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 and social compliance audits. HQTS staff can work with you to determine your exact requirements and propose a custom solution to best meet your needs.