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Goods Should Always Be Inspected at the Subcontractor Site


Many times visits at subcontractors’ sites are denied by suppliers. There are many reasons behind that. For example, the subcontractor’s know-how and quality management systems are often limited due to their small size.

Not being permitted to visit the subcontractor’s site should be avoided in advance as much as possible, for example by conducting a factory audit. Or, the buyer should take into account the possibility of risks and the direct consequences that may result. What are the reasons why goods should be inspected at the subcontractor’s site?

factory audit report check
Our SBE Engineers conducting a factory audit

Why should goods be inspected at the subcontractor’s site?


1. The Reliability of the Inspection Report is Reduced


bad report SBEThe supplier and the subcontractor have different production processes, and therefore the quality of the goods manufactured on the subcontractor side and supplier side won’t be the same. An inspection should be performed on an homogeneous lot. Otherwise the inspection result is meaningless.

To be efficient, inspections should be performed where the goods have been manufactured. One inspection order per factory should be booked to ensure the most reliable result.

2. Transportation Can Damage your Goods

Usually the goods are transported bulked in cartons from the subcontractor to the supplier factory therefore the goods are not well protected and may suffer damages. In case of defective goods, they should be transported back to the subcontractor and then back again to the supplier after being reworked. This obviously increases the risks of damages during transportation drastically.

throwing export cartons
This carton throwing is something these factory guys do every day. Is it safe and acceptable?

3. Supplier Losing their Face

The supplier may loose face in front of the subcontractor to explain that the work has not been done according to the client requirements and that the goods should be reworked. However, as the goods have already left the factory of the subcontractor, he may refuse to rework them – It all depends on the agreement with the main supplier, their business relationship, payment agreements etc.

Also, the supplier looses face in front of the buyer, if he had hided the fact he had been working with a subcontractor. The buyer should carefully deal with this situation: protecting the relationship is the priority to ensure corrective actions are put in place properly.

Impact on the inspection reliability when subcontractor’s involved in an order


The quality inspector can perform a reliable inspection at the supplier factory as well as the subcontractor’s site as far as they cooperate. However, to limit risks mentioned above, the buyer would rather try to perform inspections on the respective production sites.

How about you: do you have any other reasons why goods should be inspected at the subcontractor?

doorway to warehouse
This is a pretty usual view to a factory’s warehouse

Source: AsiaQualityFocus

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