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Pre-shipment Inspection Checklist

Use checklists for pre-shipment inspection to perform it more efficiently and without errors.

What is pre-shipment with checklist?

A pre-shipment inspection is carried out in foreign trade to guarantee a smooth flow of goods. It is also known as pre-shipment inspection or pre-shipment inspection (PSI). In this process, care is taken to ensure that customer specifications and official standards have been met, and the entire order is evaluated. Thorough pre-shipment inspections are common in various industries, including manufacturing and retail, to avoid costly import risks, inferior products and product recalls.

With a pre-shipment inspection the manufacturers assure that the quality of their products is correct. In this way they increase the satisfaction of their customers and bind them to themselves. The intentions behind every pre-shipment inspection are:

  1. Product matches design wishes and requirements of the company
  2. Reducing the risk of trading in goods of inferior quality
  3. Take damaged goods out of circulation immediately
  4. Prevent product delays due to overlooked articles
  5. Protect business secrets
  6. Promoting simple communication when there is a need for improvement

A checklist is used by the quality assurance inspectors to evaluate step by step the condition and conformity of the products according to the agreed standards. It is used to identify product defects, damage and an overall negative test result including safety and quality before shipment.

This article deals with the following topics:

1. Why should companies do pre-shipment inspections?

2. The important aspects of a pre-shipment inspection

3. The 7 steps of a pre-shipment inspection

4. Rationalization effects for pre-shipment inspection

Why should companies do pre-shipment inspections?

Doing inspections is always about eradicating risks in order to prevent undertaking extra expenses. In this particular case, one has a chance to check the condition of the goods before making the final payment. In general, the key advantages include:

  1. Ensuring the order has been produced to requirements before shipping. There is always a proportion of orders being done wrong due to human errors. Extra checks will help to decrease the number of mistakes made.
  2. Smaller chance of having to pay for defective goods.
  3. Eliminating health and safety hazards. This can help to prevent employee lawsuits and the necessity to incur expenses for unplanned repairing work.
  4. Maintaining brand image by having fewer product returns. It is true that word of mouth is the strongest promotion, but also the strongest killer of the business. If one customer had to return the goods, 20 friends of this customer will get to know about this and will be less likely to order from the mistrusted vendor.

5 Important aspects of a pre-shipment inspection

An inspection before shipment guarantees the quality of goods and products before they are delivered. Every customer wants to be sure, create that his ordered goods meet his requirements and specifications in order to receive a proper and smooth delivery of goods. As part of the quality control process, such inspection is carried out randomly on each new product. Special attention should be paid to the following aspects:

  1. Limited chemical substances
    A product containing restricted chemicals may be subject to further laboratory testing off-site. This ensures the safety of the environment and public health.
  2. Incorrect quantity
    With every shipment, the ordered quantity should be delivered without delay. This contributes to the credibility of the company. Every inspection includes the correct number of products and boxes.
  3. Visible product defects
    The production of high-quality goods is a top priority for every company. That is why the overall appearance of the product is examined during every pre-shipment inspection. During the visual inspection, it is important to pay attention to product details, including the materials used, the design, and the branding.
  4. Failed functional and safety test
    The functionality and operating condition of the products are of crucial importance. This is why product tests are so important to prove that the product fulfills its purpose. Failure to test specifications such as electrical or mechanical functions in advance carries the risk of incidents after delivery to the customer.
  5. Wrong labelling
    Labelling is the most important aspect of shipping, but is often neglected. The label provides information about the product (e.g. dangerous, perishable or fragile), the transport style, the quantity and the origin and destination. If necessary information is missing, this can lead to lost or mishandled items. As a result, the customer makes bad experiences with the company or sales are lost.

7 Steps to perform an effective pre-shipment inspection

Pre-shipment inspection supports and improves uniform standards in international trade. Quality assurance inspectors are assigned to check products to see if they conform to the agreed specifications.

Inaccurately performed pre-shipment inspections due to overlooked processes can lead to product returns, damage to the company’s reputation, and even business closures. Such unnecessary incidents can be avoided if the following seven pre-shipment inspection steps are followed:

Step 1: Factory visits

Inspection can start before shipment when production has reached 80% of the target value. This provides sufficient capacity to repair all defects and damage detected during the inspection.

Step 2: Quantity check

First of all, the schedule must be checked to validate the customer specifications when the deadline is reached. The number of packages or products must match the customer’s specifications on the order form.

Step 3: Sampling

Sampling tests are carried out during pre-shipment inspection exclusively with the tables provided by the ISO 2859 standard. For this purpose, random samples of finished products are selected and evaluated according to the inspection level.

Step 4: Visual inspections

The entire visual appearance of a product is checked for visual defects or damage with the naked eye. This involves assessing whether the number of defects is above the Acceptance Quality Limit (AQL) before the product is rejected.

Step 5: Safety checks

In this test the product is tested for its functionality. This ensures that it is ready for use and in good operating condition. It verifies that product safety standards are met, including construction specifications, performance and approved laboratory tests.

Step 6: Conformity tests

In quality plans, standards are determined with which the results must comply. This inspection therefore checks whether the end product meets the customer’s requirements, including packaging, labels, tags, manual and quantity.

Step 7: Checklists

A checklist for pre-shipment inspection helps quality manager to document and analyze their observations and results. It helps to determine more quickly whether a product meets customer quality requirements and specifications.

Rationalize pre-shipment inspection with mobile App

To carry out an inspection with pen and paper prior to shipment requires a great deal of effort for quality inspectors to collect and retain records. Since photos of defects and damage cannot be added in an attractive place, their later removal is difficult. In addition, if paperwork is lost, it can cause business delays and shipping risks.

Using Lumiform’s mobile app for pre-shipment inspections can avoid such hassle. Any type of quality and safety inspection can be easily performed with it using a tablet or smartphone – online or offline. Photos and other receipts are immediately added in the appropriate place and are not lost. This significantly reduces the risk of quality losses, industrial accidents, documentation errors and damage to reputation.

The digital application enables inspectors to report defects and damages immediately. So that they can be corrected before shipment. Easy communication with all team members and third parties via the app allows you to improve internal processes and resolve incidents up to four times faster.

The top advantages for pre-shipment inspection at a glance:

  • Lumiform offers prepared templates, so that the digital startup can be carried out quickly and safely.
  • Generate real time data via controls. This makes quality and safety measurable and eliminates continuous errors in product processes.
  • Reports are created automatically – this saves the complete postprocessing.
  • Continuous improvement of quality and safety: Thanks to the flexible checklist construction kit, tests and processes can be continuously optimized. Since Lumiform guides the examiner through the exam, no training is required.
  • Comprehensive analyses help to uncover inefficient areas in the inspection process and thus to continuously improve inspection processes.

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