It is said there are hundreds of inspection service providers in China nowadays. Some of them, as big as SGS, Intertek or Bureau Veritas, are multi-national giants with more than 100 years history. Some of them, as small as self-employed inspectors, that have only 2 or 3 staff all together.
How to find your ideal quality control partner in China? We have the following suggestions for your reference,
1.Visit the inspection company in person.
For some inspection service providers, I bet you dare not to entrust them to check your goods, after you visit their office in person even for 5 minutes. Some companies are located at home, or in apartment, with several young people idling there, these companies often disappear overnight. So no matter how busy you are in China, to be safe you should arrange 2 hours to personally visit your quality control partner. You can sleep much better after such a simple visit.
2.Review the original business license of the inspection company carefully and talk to the manager or owner face to face.
Listed below is some very useful information you can get easily on site:
a.What’s the main business scope in their business license? Too many trading companies, consulting companies, buying agents, or even manufacturers claim that they are inspection specialists but in fact they are not.
b.According to the business license, when was the company established? How long have they offered inspection services?
c.What’s the registered capital according to the business license? According to the Chinese government regulation (AQSIQ), a company can only get accredited as a third party inspection body if it has registered capital over 2.3 million RMB (or over 350K USD).
d.How many inspectors does the company have? Are they all full time employees of this company? Instead of looking at a beautiful PPT presentation or website, just ask for their employee name list, or payroll records when on site, this will help you find the real answer.
Many inspection companies claim that they have 100+, 200+ or even more inspectors. But they are talking about part time inspectors. As far as we know, the number of inspection companies with over 100 full time inspectors is less than 8 companies, including SGS, Intertek, and BV.
e.What qualifications do the inspectors have? Besides sample reports for similar products, please ask for the supervisor’s or engineer’s CV and background for their main product category, to see whether they are really experienced with good products knowledge.
3.Company Qualification & Accreditation.
Many inspection companies claim that they have ISO9001 certification. ISO9001 is fine (please also check the business scope on the certificate), but it is general for all companies. The most important certificate for inspection body, no matter in China or abroad, is CNAS17020 (equals to ISO17020, or IEC17020) and AQSIQ (Chinese government official accreditation). If an inspection company has no CNAS17020 or AQSIQ accreditation, it is illegal for them to conduct third party inspection services.
4.Services & Reliability.
All inspection companies claim they have good services and high reliability. Well, maybe… But generally speaking, some inspection companies are too big to really care for small (or even medium size) clients. You will find it hard to contact them after 6 in the evening. Some of them are too small to be well organized. Because of poor network or short experience in this field, they have to use a lot of part time inspectors, who might cause a lot of trouble, not only for buyers, also for the inspection company itself.
Simple prices mean nothing without the following factors: Whether the inspection fee includes travelling cost, what’s the sample size per man-day, what’s the qualification and background of inspector, whether the inspector is well trained and monitored and does he check the full sample size one by one?
If you don’t agree with inspection quotation, please ask for a time breakdown with more details. You can calculate how long it takes for one piece check, and see whether it is reasonable or not.