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Develop an incoming inspection procedure for receiving goods

Find out what an incoming goods inspection is, what to check for, and everything you’ll need to perform one successfully. Use these templates for the incoming goods inspection to immediately eliminate any quality defects during pre-production

Why are incoming inspection procedures necessary?

Incoming goods inspections are a quality control mechanism for incoming shipments, where the quality of delivered goods is checked according to specified criteria. The purpose of these checks is to ensure that the received goods match the order, are not damaged, and meet your business’s quality requirements. An incoming goods inspection checklist ensures you don’t overlook anything during your evaluation, and that you stick to a defined incoming inspection procedure. If possible, conduct these evaluations in the presence of the supplier.

Incoming goods inspections are carried out by quality managers upon receiving an incoming shipment, so that defective goods can be detected earlier and any complaints can be resolved. Goods inspection prevents customers from being dissatisfied and ensures a quality end product.

Incoming goods inspections are mainly carried out in the following industries:

  • Catering, retail, and other food businesses
  • Production and manufacturing companies
  • Logistics service providers
  • Shipping companies

Goods inspections reduce costs and improve quality standards and customer satisfaction. Many companies use their own labeling system for incoming goods inspection to tell them what actions should be taken following the inspection.

What should an incoming goods inspection checklist contain?

A thorough incoming goods inspection happens immediately to identify any defects. This also means checking that you’ve received the correct number or quantity of goods.

To get the most out of the process, make sure to:

  1. Check the delivery note
  2. Assign a delivery bill to its corresponding order
  3. Check type and/or perform quantity check
  4. Perform a quality check
  5. Check whether defects are present
  6. Confirm all items
  7. Create a goods receipt note (delivery note)

It’s essential that incoming inspection procedures be structured and standardized. First of all, check whether the amount of goods is correct. Check the delivery bill and order form to make sure your shipment is correct. If the delivered goods are up to quality standards, prepare a goods receipt, indicating the name of the inspector and the date and time.

What are the different stages of an incoming goods inspection?

Inspecting goods before selling them to customers helps ensure consistent customer satisfaction That’s why inspections are conducted at every stage of the incoming goods process.

The three types of incoming inspection procedure are:

  1. Pre production
  2. In-line
  3. Final

Pre production

A pre-production inspection takes place before manufacturing starts and inspects the raw materials that will go into the final product. This could mean double-checking a shipment of cloth is free from holes or tears.


An in-line inspection takes place in the middle of production to make sure everything is running smoothly. In the garment industry, this could mean double-checking that clothes are being stitched correctly


Final inspections occur when the manufacturing process is completed. Final inspections ensure the quality of the product meets industry standards and customer satisfaction will be met.

Each of these inspections is vital to include on an incoming goods inspection checklist. Faulty, broken, or damaged materials can cost a company its bottom line, so it’s important that inspections are done correctly. Products go through multiple quality checks throughout a manufacturing process, but the first check is arguably the most important because it’s the foundation of all future checks. Each check after the first is a fail-safe in case something was missed during the initial inspection.

Marking systems in incoming goods inspections

An incoming goods inspection checklist specifies exactly which aspects of shipments to check during a quality inspection; for example, the size, color, condition, and packaging,. To ensure that an inspection result triggers a specific action after inspection, many companies use a marking system.

There are usually three categories in said marking systems: 1. Accepted, 2. Conditionally accepted, and 3. Rejected. The criteria for each vary by company. You decide what happens to the goods after they are assigned a category.

1. Accepted

Delivered goods are free of defects. You can either store them in the warehouse or transfer them to the next process.

2. Conditionally accepted

Delivered goods were damaged during transport, have functional or dimensional defects, or improper markings. Your supplier needs to fix or replace the shipment before it’s accepted.

3. Rejected

Delivered goods have significant defects. In these cases, they’re often returned or rejected. Depending on the type of goods and delivery agreements, however, companies may have to dispose of the rejected goods or classify them according to other criteria. In the retail industry, for example, defective goods are sold as second-choice items at a lower price.

How do you test materials with an incoming goods inspection checklist?

Materials inspections are essential so that faulty, defective, or damaged materials aren’t then made into faulty, defective, or damaged products. Materials inspections serve a few important functions.

Audit foreign suppliers

If you get your goods from unfamiliar or overseas suppliers, you’ll want to be extra careful when conducting your receiving inspection. Many of these companies won’t share the same quality standards as yours. Not checking materials for quality control could hurt your customer loyalty.

That said, it’s a good idea to apply those same standards to domestic suppliers. Every supplier can slip up, and having a thorough incoming inspection procedure in place helps control the consequences.

Preserve quality

Ensuring that all received materials meet quality standards is a necessary part of developing quality products. You might purchase substandard materials without even knowing, but your customer will certainly pick up on the difference.

Save money

The initial upfront cost of incoming goods inspection is offset by the time you save not having to recall or repair products. Spending time to develop higher quality products opens you up to more customers down the line and helps you retain existing ones.

When conducting a materials inspection, follow these seven steps:

  1. Pre-inspection

    Preparing to receive goods involves clearing a space to store materials before production begins. This is when you’ll review the order and make sure it’s been fulfilled.

  2. Take photos

    There’s nothing more conclusive than photographic evidence. Take the time to photograph or record a video of the incoming goods. Be sure to stay organized and attach the JPEG file to the inspection form. It’ll be easier if you switch to paperless inspections for a more streamlined and effortless documentation process.

  3. Review specifications

    Review project specifications to verify that the goods received match the material grade, scope, and type required. This is especially important if the project’s success depends on meeting state and federal regulatory requirements.

  4. Physical condition

    If the shipment is large, it might be a good idea to implement random checks. This will save time and energy, because instead of checking every single good that comes through the door, you can accept or reject the shipment based on the selected sample size.

  5. Confirm supplier

    It’s good practice to double-check that received goods are from the correct supplier. Finding out the wrong shipment was delivered after the fact is a headache no one wants to deal with. If you receive the wrong shipment, you can send a notice of default to the supplier, but it’s better to reject the shipment immediately than to have to deal with the paperwork.

  6. Confirm certifications

    If the project requires certified materials, they should come pre-stamped or appropriately labeled. If not, continuing manufacturing with these materials will result in noncompliance with state or federal regulations and could lead to fines or lawsuits.

  7. Store goods

    Some industries require goods to be properly stored upon arrival. Working in food service, for example, means storing produce or meats at a controlled temperature. An unloading dock is a busy place, and it’s easy for things to slip through the cracks. To avoid this, you’ll want to track goods with tags or labels.

At the end of the day a successful incoming goods inspection — whether it ends in a pass or a fail — is a critical means of upholding quality and safety standards. Not only that, but standardized inspections improve your business’ reputation.


Use incoming goods inspection checklists with workflow automation software

Paper-based and individual incoming goods inspection checklists contain a lot of information, meaning they’re exhausting to write and rewrite every time. You also need to figure out where to store and how to document them after the inspection is finished.

Instead, using a workflow automation platform like Lumiform enables faster, standardized inspections that are entirely digital and automatically documented. This helps you optimize your quality assurance by:

  • Creating thorough checklists: The flexible form builder makes it possible to create new incoming goods inspection checklists at any time and revise them at will.
  • Offering first-class customer service: Lumiform’s excellent 24/5 support is here to answer all your questions about the app should you need help using the platform.
  • Improving scheduling: Implement a consistent incoming inspection procedure by sending employees notifications whenever a new inspection begins or is due. Managers automatically receive notifications if a task is overdue.
  • Resolving issues faster: The data you collect from inspections is stored in the Analysis Tab, where you can see performance reports broken down by time, location and department. This helps you identify trends and problems quickly.
  • Improving tracking: Monitor your team’s inspection performance and identify opportunities for optimization thanks to regular reporting and one-click administration.
  • Leveraging integrations: Connect Lumiform’s software to enterprise software systems and use it alongside programs like Microsoft Power BI.

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