Quality Products International

Tag: Inspection

DUPRO

by on May.04, 2014, under QPI Ltd Glossary Blog

DUPRO Inspection (DUring PROduction Inspection, DUring PROcess Inspection, Inline Inspection, etc)

DURPO’s can be conducted any time during the course of the production cycle and can include Sample Collection and other useful features.

It is proactive QC step and can often avert costly and time consuming problems from delaying shipment.

It is typically followed by a Pre Shipment Inspection

Some articles on DUPRO:

– DURPO – DURing PROduction Inspection, valuable element of QC

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

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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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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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