Quality Products International

Tag: PSI

DUPRO vs PSI & buying without a seatbelt

by on Nov.29, 2016, under China QC Inspection Blog

Given a choice, would you opt for, advanced driver training, insurance, seat belt, none or all?

Some people go for neither on the basis that they are a good safe driver.

So, let’s say you going to be driving in an environment where there is a high risk of accidents AND some of the other drivers will be planning to cause accidents.

Here is perspective on Procurement and Quality Control (QC) using driving as a metaphor from Quality Products International (QPILtd – QPI)

Leaving aside nuances such the distinction between quality assurance, and quality control, etc, there are many components in a good procurement and QC process, and some key ones are Good Specification, DUPRO, PSI.

Good Specification & Follow up

From a driving perspective, this is an experienced driver, in a well maintained car, will have the best chance of a safe trip on most road and weather conditions.

They have planned their route or know clearly where they going, and leave early enough to get there on time without rushing.

They are vigilant about conditions and other traffic and able to adjust accordingly.

The correct product specification agreed with the factory, ideally during quote stage, and certainly in place at or before the PO, will be key to any chance of product arriving as planned.

DUPRO

This is your safety system, such as ABS, Seat Belts, Airbag, etc.

No matter how vigilant you are, how much you anticipate, there is a chance of an incident or accident.

…perhaps you are in among many cars at a red light, someone three cars back does not stop, and you get “concertinaed”. The best and worst drivers in the world will suffer more or less the same damage.

There can be a lot of force involved in that type of accident and many will surprised how much damage and injury is possible.

The safety systems will help keep you safer than would otherwise be the case, and insurance will hopefully help you clean up the mess.

Remember the quality you desire or expect is not always going to be as important to the factory managers, or production staff.

They may be like a careless driver, or planning to intentionally doing something that will cause and accident!

Just as a careless driver, they may think their idea of quality is good enough for you.

They may be planning to cut corners a little to save costs.

DUPRO is your safety system in production, similar to driver alerts, stability control and ABS.

ABS breaking, it will help you stop short of an obstacle and greater ability to steer around it if necessary.

Just as ABS helps avoid the collision, DUPRO‘s minimize delays and compromised quality issues that arise of re-work at the end of production.

DUPRO’s give QC teams and buyers a chance to see issues as they are arising and the factory an opportunity to adjust, modify, re-work etc before it is too late.

PSI / FRI

Well over 95% of QC inspections are a one man day PSI / FRI.

A Pre Shipment Inspection, typically as a Final Random Inspection is typically completed when 100% of the product is complete and 80% is packed.

There is some scope for minor rework, cleaning, tidy up packaging, etc, however if it uncovers more than very minor problems, there will almost certainly be a major compromise on either product quality of shipment date.

So a PSI / FRI from QPI or any other 3rd party QC company is like a form of insurance.

It protects buyers from paying the full balance of the order and shipping completely faulty product, a problem very hard to address once the shipment arrives and is checked. …..or worse, if not checked, the issue is uncovered after distribution .

When the buyer is holding the balance of the payment they have some leverage, but not massive amounts! The factory has invested in raw material, labor, and possibly opportunity cost on some other production. The stock is occupying valuable and often very limited room in the warehouse, so they are keen to get it out and get money in.

In some cases the factory owner will sooner sell the product (often with the buyers logo & trade market) on alternate markets rather than try to adhere to an onerous re-work regime.

So just as insurance, may help clean up the mess, neither insurance or PSI prevent the accident or product defect!

Also like a traffic accident, the insurance may be able repair or replace a broken car, however there will at least be major disruption, and quite possibly serious injuries which do not heal simply or easily, even with money for doctors and therapists.

QPILtd recommends a Good Combination

Just as the key to safe driving is through training, detailed planning, comprehensive maintenance, excellent safety features and insurance, very similar strategy is recommended for procurement.

Thoroughly checking the factory beforehand, detailed specification through quote and PO stages, DUPRO, and PSI.

The other advantage with DUPRO, is it sends a clear message to the factory that there will be QC. They know it is going to be easier to take some extra care to get it right the first time, rather than have to rework after a PSI.

QC & Procurement

QPI can provide all these and other key QC elements as standalone services for QC clients who have an existing direct relationship with factories.

The QC services are also something we do as part of our standard service for procurement clients.

For peace of mind procurement, all is needed is a quote request.

QPI provides a firm detailed quote including price and lead time, and if the client proceeds, QPI follows up closely on all details with the factory, including QPI inspectors conducting DUPRO and PSI at no additional charge to the client.

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Pre Shipment Inspection

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

Pre Shipment Inspection (PSI)

A Pre Shipment Inspection normally commences once 100% of goods are complete and 80% packed. PSI’s can typically be completed in one day, often with one inspector. If it is a large order, multiple inspectors can be used to complete using more “man days” within one calender day.

They are typically conducted as a Final Random Inspection (FRI) under an AQL2 Protocol, but can be 100% inspections or other variations.

Normally the buyer will pay balance owing to the factory and authorize shipping if the PSI results in a PASS Report.

As many buyers rely on the PSI as insurance policy on the shipment it is one of the most booked inspections used. QPI recommends at least one DUPRO before the PSI as a more pro active approach to QC.

Another QPI articles relating to Pre Shipment Inspections:

– PSI is a key component in QC programs

– DUPRO vs PSI & buying without a seatbelt

– Container Loading Inspections – follow up on PSI

 

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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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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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The distinction between Quality Assurance, Quality Control and the QA – QC services offered by QPI

by on May.24, 2010, under China QC Inspection Blog

Quality Products International – QPI, provides a range of Factory Selection, Factory Auditing, Social Auditing, Product Development, Quality Assurance, DUPRO production inspection, Final Random Inspection / Pre Shipment Inspection, Container Loading Inspection and other related services in China, Asia, South East Asia / Fat East, relating to production and quality management.

One area of confusion is around the distinction between Quality Assurance and Quality Control. Some people falsely think they are in some way synonymous.

They are very closely related, in fact to be effective they are co-dependent, with a clear part A and part B. QPI certainly ensures both QA and QC are covered in any inspection or quality program that we are involved with.

Quality Assurance

This is the Part A of the two. In a fully integrated product development cycle, Quality Assurance is an ongoing event. It should be visited through the entire life of a project, and has production, post production and consumer feedback cycle.

QA typically is covered most heavily later in the product development phase, and ideally clearly defined and completed before the Quality Control Phase.

It is in essence the process of ensuring that a “good idea” is developed into a functional, viable, safe product, and determine what needs to be tested and checked in the production process.

IE> A factory owner may decide it is a good idea to make toys from soft metals.

A QA process would identify that lead often used in soft metals and is harmful to small children, which potentially will result in the good idea developing a bad product!

After the QA process determines that needs attention, the QC process would test the toys for lead. This is obviously a very narrow example, and many other elements are covered in a real QA – QC program.

Many QA programs will require test to be conducted, on raw materials, products drawn from production or finished goods.

They may be simple measurements or lab testing prove compliance / conformity with EN71, RoHS, REACH, EN13138 and many others.

QPI has a very close working relationship with TUV, ITS, SGS, Hanse Control and other labs, both locally in China, in Hong Kong and Europe.

Quality Control

This is the Part B of the two.

Where QPI has been involved in the Product Development phase, we can provide direct input for the QA process.

In many cases, a customer has developed the product and found the factory.

At QPI, each new inspection request is fully reviewed by a quality engineer to ensure that QA process has been clearly defined and recommend any perceived short falls.

Then the inspection elements and appropriate inspection protocols are defined in a check list, which is effectively the “work order” for the QC team.

There are a number of well defined protocols such as AQL (Acceptable Quality Level) that define how many units to test. Some customers request a 100% quality test.

In the case of our own inflatable brands Floaties and Hydrokids, we conduct a 24hr “stopper open” inflation test on 100% of the product to ensure there are no air leaks, including the 1st stage safety valve.

www.Hydrokids.com or Hydrokids Facebook Page

 

A full QC program will generally involve:

– Inward Quality Control – IQC, which includes testing raw materials, and recoding / tracking batch numbers.

– During Process testing and inspection – DUPRO which may be random, or at specific points. Such at the commencement of raw material printing, at the commencement of each shift, when machine operators change, etc. It provides a fantastic opportunity to remedy defects before rework leads to delays and costs.

– Final Random Inspection or Pre Shipment Inspection – FRI / PSI which is typically conducted when production is compete and most product is packed. For some this is the ONLY inspection, which on failure then means managing shipment delays, rework cost disputes, and or sub standard product.

– Container Loading Inspection, as simple as ensuring the product that was inspected is actually loaded, and that the container is loaded evenly to ensure safe shipment.

– Inspection Report the last and sometimes most important step. Apart from a ship or hold decision, it can prove a brand owner has acted with due care in the case of a product failure, and it provides key step in the feedback loop with the factory, especially where improvement is needed.

At QPI we can provide on the spot initial reports, and follow up with a full report. As with the checklist, the full report is reviewed and vetted by a senior QPI Quality Engineer to ensure the report is up to standard.

Typically the Inspection Report should feed back into to the ongoing QA process.

Where repeat orders are anticipated, QPI will normally recommend the client consider upgrades or greater attention to DURPO. Where the client is happy for factory to conduct DUPRO steps, QPI can often liaise directly with production line supervisors to ensure they understand how best to remedy an issue.

The QPI Inspector and Quality Engineer reviewing the report, will also comment on any changes that may be considered for testing or inspection.

Co-dependence of QA and QC

In effect, QA is the map, and QC is the production journey.

Without the journey through production where QC occurs, the QA map is an academic classroom navigation exercise. It can be done, but achieves nothing unless implemented through a QC program in production.

On the other hand a QC program unless preceded with an effective QA program, is like a journey without a map. It may be interesting but and may lead to a pleasant destination, a waste land. In a production environment it may mean that the goods arrive in the warehouse in a defective or un-saleable form……or worse, become part of a product failure litigation and / or product recall!

Most frustrating and disappointing is that a QC program without a QA program, would typically lead to product that looks, great is of high quality, but cannot be sold as it fails to meet legislated standards!

Among other things the QA program should define what needs to be tested and how it needs to be tested.

Please contact Quality Products International if you need assistance with any element of your supply chain.

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