Quality Products International

Tag: QC

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.


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.


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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China Northern Province Factory & Business Shutdowns August and September 2016

by on Jul.09, 2016, under China Manufacturing Blog

Hundreds of factories and other businesses will need to shutdown in and around Shanghai for several weeks leading up to and during the G20 summit.

It will affect businesses in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Zhejiang and Jiangsu from Wednesday August 24th thru Tuesday September 6th

If you are ordering anything from any part of China, and it is time sensitive and production or shipping may be overlapping Early August – Mid September we strongly suggest you work closely with QPI Ltd or your other people on the ground in China to ensure you will not be affected.

These shutdowns are (almost) common, and are typically aimed at reducing pollution around major events and forums such as this G20, World Fair, or most famously the Olympics.

Note, while your supplier may not be in that region, it is possible that they buy raw materials from, or subcontract services to someone in the region.

Even if the supplier is not affected, there may be transport delays, backlogs and other knock on effects.

Again, if your shipment is time sensitive now is the best time to start working with your local Chinese partner/s to make a close assessment of how it may be affected.

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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 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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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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