How Clear Quality Specifications Can Help When Sourcing from China

How Clear Quality Specifications Can Help You When Sourcing from China

“Oh my gosh! These are not what I ordered! This is terrible!” 

Such things are often heard when some importers who buy direct from China receive their goods in their warehouses. How do such things happen? It is likely because they did not have clear quality specifications in place.

A good China sourcing company or China sourcing agent has proper systems in place to prevent these kinds of problems from happening. Here are a few expert tips to ensure you get exactly what you ordered:

Be clear about the details

There are two kinds of specification sheets to ensure quality conformity: the Product Specification Sheet (PSS) and the Inspection Specification Sheet (ISS). These two documents play important roles at different stages of the sourcing program.  Remember that quality assurance starts before the order is placed.

The PSS is a document that lists all the essential technical requirements, i.e., the specifications of a given product. This document is primarily used for two purposes:

– to obtain accurate price quotes for the products (i.e. During the RFQ or request for quote process)
– to establish quality standards for the product in the order

The ISS is a document that lists all the requirements for the quality inspection of the products ordered. Meaning exactly how to inspect the goods, when to inspect them, how often, to what level of detail, etc.  This document is primarily used for two purposes:

– To establish the inspection standards and the methodology for inspecting the quality of the product
– To ensure that the factory understands the inspection requirements prior to production

Why you need a PSS and ISS

When you buy direct from China, a PSS that lists technical requirements as well as necessary packing information can help suppliers to understand your request and quote more accurately. Without a PSS, suppliers cannot quote accurately because the information is fragmented and not systematic. Furthermore, without a PSS, suppliers might manufacture the goods incorrectly and you may see differences in dimensions, materials, or quality standards of the products you ordered. This will not only waste your time but also your money.

The ISS, on the other hand, will clearly list the standards and processes for various inspections needed, such as those conducted during production or prior to shipment. Without the ISS, you cannot be sure the finished product will conform to the order and that it can be released for shipment to your warehouse.

How the PSS/ISS works

The buyer controls the process: Both the PSS and ISS must be approved in writing by the client to be valid. And they must be accepted in writing by the factory.

If you have clear quality specifications and implementation systems in place, congratulations: you are off to a good start. Once they are in place, you will have peace of mind, and you will not be concerned about getting incorrect merchandise as per above.


Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published in September 2021.

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