I Completely Trust My Supplier. Do I Still Need an Inspection?

There are a few reasons to do a third-party inspection:

  1. To avoid non-deliberate and careless mistakes from your supplier
  2. To avoid deliberate mistakes from your supplier
  3. Verify your shipment before final payment

The vast majority of issues happen because of non-deliberate mistakes from your supplier. Such mistakes I’ve experienced are things like barcoding items incorrectly, putting Amazon carton labels on the inner cartons (i.e., inside) instead of on the outside, putting items in the wrong box, putting multiple items in one inner box to save space, and the list goes on. These aren’t things your supplier is doing to be malicious. They’re simply careless mistakes that happen for a variety of reasons. A third-party inspection removes almost all the risk of these types of things happening.

Deliberate mistakes are harder to test for. You have to know your product inside-out in order to test for it. The most common type of deliberate mistake is the substitution for inferior materials. In fact, suppliers don’t view this as malicious. For example, if you didn’t specify 600D polyester fabric in your Purchase Order, then they will think it is perfectly acceptable to substitute you for 300D fabric (a fabric roughly half the quality of 600D Polyester).

The last reason to do a third-party inspection is to keep your supplier on their toes. If they know a third-party inspection is coming, or they know that you have a habit of conducting third-party inspections, they’ll be less likely to cut corners and take more care with your products. There are a lot of companies that never do third-party inspections. If your supplier knows that you are a company that does inspections, whose order do you think they’re going to be more careful with?

Finally, if you’re on 30/70 payment terms (70% due upon shipment completion) having a third-party inspector seeing your shipment, live in the flesh, before paying your final payment gives a lot of reassurance that you’re going to get your goods.

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