Quality Products International

DURPO – DURing PROduction Inspection, valuable element of QC

by on Nov.03, 2011, under China QC Inspection Blog

DURPO or DURing PROduction inspections are one of the most valuable and cost effective elements of a robust QC system. It should not normally replace Pre Shipment Inspections (PSI), DURPO can certainly improve any QC system in a very cost effective.

Quite simply DURPO gives the client an opportunity to know and understand what is happening with their order during production and affords the opportunity address, redress or rework production in a more timely and cost effective manner, often before shipping deadlines.

The mainstay of product inspections is the Pre Shipment Inspections (PSI).

In a procurement environment, the PSI is akin to seat belts and insurance policies for drivers and they all offer very good protection.

However just like with insurance policies and seat belts, when all goes smoothly there is no issue, however once needed things will be messy.

In most cases the PSI will simply define the scale and scope of the problem / accident and protect the client from paying for deficient product.

…..better to take steps to avoid the accident in the first place!

Following with the analogy, DURPO is more like ABS and or defensive driving. There is a problem or something on the road, and the ABS along with good driving skills assists in steering around and avoiding the collision, or at least minimising damage.

Typically if a problem is found during a Pre Shipment Inspection, there will be strong pressure to meet a shipment deadline.

The decision structure is often to:

– ship or

– rework.

If shipping inferior product, should a discount be allowed?

If rework is decided, who will pay for rework? Client, factory or intermediary?

If the fault is “compliance related” the decision process will have to account for the need of products to comply with relevant standards.

Original specifications, artwork, purchased orders and emails will be scrutinized by all parties involved. Bluffing and brinkmanship is common by both factory and client with intermediaries typically trying to minimize their own exposure.

If the client feels their product is “worthless”, especially if non compliant, they may well forfeit their deposit, but then the question comes up about goods in the factory, often bearing the clients trademark!

….I have been involved in supervised product destruction on a few occasions, and it is often a tricky process.

If a factory feels that re-work will cost more than their profit margin, they may well turn their back on the client with a view of disposing the product “elsewhere” to recoup some funds.

Both factory and client will rightly feel that they have legal rights….again once the Pre Shipment Inspection alerts the client to the problem it will by definition be a problem and it is often a messy one that will be expensive in some way to resolve.

DUPRO is not a guaranteed fix, but like ABS and defensive driving practices, it will reduce the risk of the accident (or PSI failure) and in many cases reduce the damage of an accident.

Even a single DUPRO inspection can make a massive difference, and on larger orders it can be worth considering more man days of DUPRO rather than more man days or PSI.

The timing of the DUPRO should ideally be at a key point in production & / or somewhere late in the production cycle – early in the packing cycle.

It also sends a clear message to the factory that the client is serious about QC!

Key Point DUPRO

With our genesis in Floaties Swim products QPI Ltd has been involved in a lot of inflatable and swim wear manufacture.

Typically both PVC and fabric go through a similar process, where they are purchased in rolls of material which is often a specific colour / texture that has been ordered for that product.

Raw material is cut into sheets for printing and then sewn or welded into a finished product.

If the print is inferior, it will have a significant impact on the final product, in some cases such as inflatable swim products, poor or incorrect print may render the product non-compliant which means it will not legally be sealable in the target market, with jail terms possible in some cases!

Re-work for this will typically be impossible / non-viable, or at best look terrible. Scrapping the product has costs associated and the lead time to order new raw material and start again, will normally mean losing market position in a seasonal market.

For us the benefit of having someone checking the size, colour and artwork of the print, early in the print cycle obvious.

Another good time for DUPRO is during “in factory testing”.

All inflatable products such as Floaties, Hydro Kids and the OEM products that we work with, are subjected to 100% “open valve inflation test”.

There can be merit in having independent supervision of this stage in the process.

……we have seen factories complete 100% inflation test, and then simply pack all product, good and bad for shipment!

General DUPRO

On larger orders, it is worth considering additional DUPRO inspections.

The main two benefits that DUPRO offers, is preventing quality problems before they occur in production and the opportunity to re-work before some element is locked into a final assembly.

It also gives the inspector an opportunity to review factory QC documents and ensure QC procedures have been implemented and followed!

It gives the inspectors an opportunity to see a lot of product, and it underlines to the factory, from supervisor to machine operator that care and attention to detail is needed for that shipment!

There are pros and cons on exact timing of general DUPRO. Earlier in the manufacturing demonstrates QC to the factory and their staff, but will see less product.

Later in production, more product will be seen however there is less opportunity to address it. An ideal time is when most production is complete and packing is starting.

For some items that will have a number of consignments, and / or repeat orders, it is worth considering high DUPRO along with PSI on initial shipments tapering down over subsequent orders.

Post CNY DUPRO

Many factories are staffed by migrant workers, who normally go home for CNY and often consider career, work or factory changes with the start of the next year. It is very common for the majority of factory floor workers, many factory supervisors and even middle management to be NEW to a factory after Chinese New Year!

Many clients find that a number of orders go smoothly and they become comfortable with a factory (and complacent with QC) then shipments after CNY have problems. Often it is the case that there has been a significant turnover of staff, and those familiar with the product / production are no longer there.

…it is virtually like the order has gone to a new factory, even though it is the same location, with the same owners!

Summary

DUPRO is a valuable and cost effective part of a robust QC process.

While DURPO does normally replace PSI, it can often be more effective at improving the quality of product shipped, rather than simply defining and quantifying the problem, which is of sometimes the case for Pre Shipment Inspections.

Please contact QPILtd for assistance in planning your QC program when placing your orders!

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