Quality Products International

Tag: Dupro

Major retailers including Target, Myer and Just Jeans in a massive product recall

by on May.09, 2014, under China QC Inspection Blog

Over 120,000 items have been recalled by a number of major Australian Retailers.

Excerpt of ACCC article:

Textiles recalled after ACCC tests reveal high levels of hazardous azo dyes

Azo dyes are a large class of very effective synthetic dyes used for colouring a variety of consumer goods such as foods, cosmetics, carpets, clothes, leather and textiles.

A small proportion of azo dyes can contain, or can break down to form, a class of chemical substances referred to as ‘aromatic amines’.

Aromatic amines can migrate from clothing and leather articles dyed with azo dyes.  The amount released can increase with body heat, sweat or saliva.  Benzidine and other aromatic amines may be absorbed through the skin from dyed clothing and articles where there is direct and prolonged contact with the skin.  Articles not in both direct and prolonged contact with the skin do not expose consumers to the hazard.

Certain aromatic amines such as benzidine are hazardous to human health.  Expert authorities such as the World Health Organisation International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) have classified some of these aromatic amines as known, or suspected human carcinogens. Exposure to a carcinogen does not mean cancer will result.

While consumer exposure to hazardous azo dyes is likely to be very low, the associated cancer risks give cause for concern. As a result, exposure to certain azo dyes, including benzidine-based dyes, should be minimised or eliminated.

There are no specific regulatory limits on these dyes in Australia. The ACCC has made recommendations to Government and on 24 April 2014 the Minister – The Hon Bruce Billson, activated a process to assess whether further regulation is required. This process will involve broad stakeholder consultation and include the development of a Regulation Impact Statement.

See full Recall List and Article at Product Safety Recalls Australia

Excerpt of ABC article.

Jean dye cancer risk prompts recall of more than 121,000 items of clothing

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has issued a warning about a dangerous dye found in jeans on sale in Australian stores.

The ACCC says it tested a number of clothing items for dangerous azo dyes after being tipped off by the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme.

The tests uncovered clothes with high concentrations of the dyes, sparking recalls of more than 121,000 items from retailers including Myer, Target, Rivers, Trade Secret and Just Jeans.

A number of children’s clothes, including jeans from Myer, Just Jeans and Target, were included in the recall.

The dyes have also been found in bed sheets and pillowcases sold through Pillow Talk.

See full Article at ABC News Australia

A product recall is every buyer and brand managers worst nightmare.

The best place to start in preventing recalls is in the product specification, which should be at the foundation of every good QA / QC program.

Most factories can work with their suppliers in providing detailed lists of raw materials. Most will have pre existing lab tests, with the levels of hazardous substances which would typically cause concerns.

The next major step is to test “YOUR PRODUCT” in a lab. The pre existing lab tests, will give you some comfort that the parties in the supply chain are capable of producing compliant raw materials. None the less they will be from earlier batches and should not be relied upon, in their own right.

You can certainly ask the factory to do the testing.

QPILtd recommends that you test the raw materials on arrival at the factory. We can send an inspector to check that the sample/s selected is representative of the batch as a whole. This is normally done as a single man day visit.

The inspector then sends your raw material samples directly to a pre agreed lab.

If there are any problems or concerns with product, you will have the lab test early in the production cycle, so have a better opportunity to address any issues.

Similarly, once production is under way, QPILtd suggests a DUPRO visit, to report on the finished product.

Samples can be collected, which again are typical of the quality in bulk production, rather than one the production manager has “specially selected” for approval.

Samples can be sent to the client. That will often prompt additional points being added to the PSI Check list for specific features to be checked.

Samples can also be sent by the inspector directly to a pre agreed lab for final testing and any additional certification, etc.

Contact QPILtd to discuss how we can assist you in avoiding such nightmares.

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QPILtd 3rd party QC Inspections when buying through trading companies

by on Apr.30, 2014, under China QC Inspection Blog

Many trading companies will NOT allow buyers to visit, or inspect goods when they have contacted out to 3rd party factories.

They will come up with a whole variety of reasons why inspection is not needed, or may not be feasible on that particular shipment.

The weaker their relationship with that particular factory, or in some cases the more competitive that particular factory, normally the more the resistance on the part of the trading company to allow the buyer to visit.

In many cases, we have seen them go to some length to “shield” their supply chain. When pressed for a PSI from a buyer, they will sometimes move the goods, from the factory to a warehouse or another factory.

As a 3rd party QC provider, QPILtd can often help.

QPI Ltd has a team of inspectors across China, who are normally native to each area, speak the regional dialect and are typically more trusted by the local trading company.

We can give the trading company some comfort that we will recognize the trading company as the “manufacturer” in the QC report and put their contact details on the report, which protects the IP of their supply chain.

It is especially relevant in DUPRO inspections as it allows the inspector to see the goods during an earlier stage of production, giving the buyer a chance to address many potential problems before they lead to shipping delays and or costly re-work.

It is also highly relevant, where a factory has outsourced some elements of a project, such as packaging.

Again, by having QPI Ltd visit and inspect as 3rd party inspector, problems can be address before the goods leave that factory, without letting the sensitive issues of a client visit cloud or dilute the QC standards of the project.

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DUPRO – one more reason – it tells the factory you are serious about quality

by on Apr.19, 2014, under China QC Inspection Blog

There is an expression that “the standard you walk past, is the standard you set”.

That is to say, that if you see something but do nothing about it, you are “lowering the bar” to that level in terms of what you and those around you really expect as an acceptable standard.

A DUPRO (DUring PROduction Inspection) demonstrates to the factory that on THIS order what you expect the quality to be. It also provides an opportunity to clarify any misunderstandings that may exist about quality. Finally is the only way in most cases to provide the opportunity to have the time to take any corrective action without delaying the shipment or blowing out costs.

Some people naively think that the discussion in the factory showroom, or trade fair, about quality expectations has some or any influence.

The reality is that those initial discussions have NO INFLUENCE over and provide NO INFORMATION about the real quality expectations that you can have for your order.

Anyone who has done more than one deal in Asia can rattle off any number of phrases and expressions they have heard to “downplay” the severity of quality problems some time AFTER the order is placed and deposit is paid.

Typically they will come up at a DUPRO, a Final Inspection / Pre Shipment Inspection (PSI)….or if you have not done any QC, sometime after your client has rejected the product!

They normally sound something like….

– Frankly speaking we have not had other clients complain about this

– This is the latest fashion

– This is what the best clients are demanding nowdays

– We think this looks better

– We know you clients will like it this way

– We ship to some very fussy clients in Europe (…or USA, or Australia, or…wherever) that are happy with this standard

The first thing you can do to set you on the path to a good quality outcome is to have a tight product specification. Most factories will welcome it, and the smarter factories will expect that a rigorous specification would follow up with stringent quality control.

The other “best thing” that any purchaser should do is book at least one, preferably two DUPROs as well as a PSI. The number of inspections will obviously be a factor of how well you know the factory and how much your shipment is worth….or more importantly, what will the cost be to your business if it goes wrong!

There is so much that can be said about why DUPRO’s are so valuable here are just a few points.

Key Point DUPRO

A Key Point DUPRO is one where a key point in the production cycle is identified and targeted for an inspection.

Typically it should be late enough in the cycle that the quality trajectory can be established, but not so late that corrective action can be difficult.

A great example is in inflatable goods. Generally the raw material is cut and printed before welding.

The ideal key point in production for a DUPRO is the first day of printing. The quality of the raw material can be checked as well as the detail and quality of the printing.

If there is an error in the printing or raw material, it is too late to rectify once welding has commenced. Also the cost and lead time in procuring new raw material will blow out the time and expense on the order.

In many cases, particularly on larger orders, if there is a problem with the raw material much of it can be redirected to other orders or returned to the supplier with minimal cost. In some cases, there may be enough time to organize a new batch of raw material without effecting the final ship date too much.

DUPRO & partial IQC (Inward Quality Control)

All good factories would have a robust IQC system. For more complex electronic or mechanical products it can sometimes be hard to effectively QC internal components that are “locked away inside”, such as a special “chip”, crankshaft, or any other key component.

A well timed DUPRO inspection can QC some key components before assembly as well as report on progress and quality of production underway.

DUPRO vs. Visit

Having a buyer visiting the factory in person during production is fantastic, though very expensive and time consuming. In many cases buyers cover a whole range of products and cannot visit all, or have a level of expertise in all products. While most certainly have an excellent grasp of what is ok and what is not, often inspectors who have a level of expertise and experience in a specific product area can find faults and defects that may not be readily apparent.

It is also often easier to negotiate a way forward with a factory, when a 3rd party inspector has pointed out the problems as it adds a level of objectivity.

DUPRO & Sample Collection vs. Sample Sent

Almost all discussions about problems with QC will start along the lines of “this does not look as good as the sample we approved”.

Some factories will send deficient samples, some will pick out the product much better than the typical standard in a batch. Neither are good outcomes, with consistently high levels of quality is what is typically expected.

Firstly it should be stressed that a Key Point DUPRO will typically be much earlier in the production cycle than a final production sample.

The PSI is typically very late in the cycle. The standard timing for PSI is 100% of the goods complete and 80% packed. Often the collection of the goods from factory and shipping has all been scheduled, and the PSI will normally be a day or so before goods leave the factory.

A DUPRO and Sample Collection should be as soon as the first goods are finished, normally some time well before the PSI.

The QPILtd inspector can report on the overall quality and collect a sample that is a typical representation of the batch.

There will often be enough time for the client to receive the sample by air courier and have on hand before the PSI is conducted.

That can often afford a valuable opportunity to instruct some late rework, include a particular check in the PSI, etc, etc

If lab testing is required, QPILtd strongly recommends the sample/s to be tested are collected by an inspector to ensure the sample is true and fair representation of the batch.

DUPRO vs. FRI / PSI (Final Random Inspection/Pre Shipment Inspection)

A PSI is a check of last resort and more akin to insurance than prevention.

In its essence, it is designed to protect the buyer from sending the final payment on goods that are inferior.

It is like insurance and does very little by way of preventing defects, UNLESS the factory knows that they buyer is serious before hand.

There is often limited time and practical scope to rework from a poor PSI result, so then the buyer is faced with the unpleasant choice of cancelling the order, and typically loosing their deposit as well as sales opportunity, or shipping compromised goods. Possible with an adhesive label over a printing error or similar.

DUPRO says you are serious in time to make a difference

Again, ALL and ANY talk during initial meetings, trade fairs, etc is of NO VALUE at all in the scheme of things as far as quality of goods shipped.

There are countless jokes about how divergent “talk on a first date” is from the reality of life, and I would suggest that is the best analogy.

While the client often laments how the goods produced vary from the sample, the factories are always lamenting about how quality expectations of the client were higher than expected.

The detailed product specification is a great first step however at least one, or preferably two or more DUPROs is essential follow through, if the quality of goods shipped in the order is of value to you.

It send a clear message to the factory that you are serious about he quality, in time for them to do something about it.

It may well lead to more negotiation on price or shipping dates, but at least you know early enough to get a chance to mitigate some of the damage if any.

It sometimes leads to a situation where the factory and buyer agree to proceed with this shipment at the requisite quality and then either renegotiate or part company.

There may be many outcomes that are all less than ideal, however all are better than a poor outcome at PSI stage, and certainly better than having a client reject a shipment!

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QPI & other CNY closing January / February 2012

by on Jan.12, 2012, under Asia Business

In China, many factory and office workers have already started leaving for their CNY holiday.

Most remaining factories will close down around the weekend of Friday 13th January, and the remaining ones closing sometime during the following week.

Some offices will re-open late January, though you should not expect factories to be operating “normally” until well into February.

QPI Ltd

QPI will be continuing to operate through Chinese New Year.

Though Chinese operations will be offline Thursday 19th January – Saturday 28th January.

For urgent enquiries please email qpig@qpiltd.com as it will fwd to the UK staff as well.

QPI Ltd Shenzhen office in Guo Mao will be closed Thursday 19th January – Thursday 2nd February.

Helmut will be working remotely, though will be online less frequently than normal, and should contacted by phone / SMS for anything urgent.

For additional information about CNY and how it may impact you, please see:

CNY alert

Post CNY Production Caution

CNY dates 2011 – 2019

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