Category: Product Inspection

Your shipment is rejected, what now?

quality-control-rejected-mdReceiving a failing inspection report is never a happy occasion   Shipment delays, rework costs, etc. all create tension among all parties involved.  But, put into perspective, the end result can be positive.   When you see the “reject” status on the report, stay calm.  Attack the problem with three questions:

Why did it fail?

Review the report carefully to determine what the issue(s) are. Was the failure of the result of one or more problems? How close were the defects from being within the AQL (Acceptable Quality Levels)?

How are we going to fix this?

Based on the information in the report, you can evaluate whether or not the product specifications should be modified and confirm that you’re comfortable with the AQL.

The factory is usually working on resolving the issues when the inspector reviews the results.  A reinspection is often requested to confirm that everything has been resolved.

How do we prevent it from happening again?

Communication with the factory is key when planning corrective action.  Identifying the root cause of the issue and documenting a resolution should prevent similar occurrences.

Inspecting textiles & garments

In our latest newsletter, we’re talking about inspecting textiles and garments and the specialized expertise required for this industry. Unlike wood, metal and other materials, textiles and garments have unique variables that may result in unexpected issues throughout the manufacturing and during the final inspection. As one of Pro QC’s textile inspectors noted, “it’s an art of using many variables to produce a piece of art.” A garment or fabric inspector must bear in mind these variables and conditions that can result in defects and delayed shipments.

Irene Gebrael, an inspector for Pro QC in the New York and New Jersey area, indicates the importance of an inspector’s specialization in this field is based on the following two considerations:

1) Credibility & Process Knowledge 

In fabrication, there are many defects that are caused by variables that may be due to ginning, spinning, finishing, dyeing, or might be due to a mistake in checking. To stand on the reason of the defect, an inspector must have prior knowledge of the processes for dyeing, finishing (fabrication), cutting, sewing (garment manufacturing), standards for care labels and regulatory compliances.

2) Inspection Conditions 

The factors causing confusion and misinterpretation of defects are numerous, so an inspector must have a solid understanding of the conditions for inspection, such as the lighting, the effect of rolling on fabrics, the effect of packaging on garments, etc. For example, some of the common problems that differentiate textiles from other products are shade and the effect of light on shades during an inspection. Inspectors must identify and use a good source of light to discover shade issues such as un-leveling and shade continuity.

Common defects noted during textile and/or garment inspections include:

-Defects in appearance, such as marks, fraying fabric or unfinished edges, etc.

-Defects with seams and stitching, including open seams, incorrect thread selection, skipped stitches, etc.

-Defects concerning color, such as dye spots and color fastness

-Defects concerning fabric, such as its material, fabric weight, cuts or tears, slubs or misweaves, etc.

-Defects concerning sizing, labeling and packaging, such as labels missing or top/bottom sizes are mismatched

-Defects concerning care label information, content label information, hang tag descriptions, correctness of components or trims, zip teeth smoothness, etc.

-Defects concerning measurement and fit

-Defects concerning safety, such as pins, needles and staples not being removed

Applicable standards are used, such as those listed below:

ASTM 5430-07 (Standard Test Methods for
Visually Inspecting and Grading Fabrics)

These test methods describe a procedure to establish a numerical designation for grading of fabrics from a visual inspection.

ASTM D3990-2012 (Standard Terminology Relating to Fabric Defects)

This terminology covers defects in both woven and knit fabrics.

ASTM D3775 (Standard Test Method for
Warp End Count and Filling Pick Count of Woven Fabric)

ASTM D3136 – 04(2008)e1: Standard Terminology Relating to Care Labeling for Apparel, Textile, Home Furnishing, and Leather Products 

This test method covers the measurement of warp end count and filling pick count and is applicable to all types of woven fabrics. The number of warp yarns (ends) per unit distance and filling yarns (picks) per unit distance are determined using suitable magnifying and counting devices or by raveling yarns from fabrics.

Evaluations, such as wash testing, can often be performed on-site.  For additional information regarding textile and garment inspections and/or testing, or to review example reports, contact us.

Why inspect? What are the benefits?

This is one of the most frequent questions we receive, and it’s often a hot debate at quality industry events as well.

At the end of the day, inspecting product for quality prior to shipment does the following things:

  • Verifies that product specifications are being met and avoids unnecessary reengineering work later
  • Confirms important quantity verification
  • Checks packaging integrity to avoid costly damage during transit
  • Reduces overall quality risks and cost

I am unable to recall a client where the total cost of inspections wasn’t covered by one or more quality issues preventatively called out prior to shipment.  The benefits exceed the investment and are a valuable component to the overall quality assurance process.

For more information regarding Pro QC’s inspection services, visit our website.

Product Inspection Strategy

A frequent question account managers receive is how to employ an inspection strategy to identify issues early and continue to ensure that product meets specifications.  Most agree that the tangible and intangible costs associated with poor quality support a preemptive strategy. The answer isn’t necessarily a simple one due to the variances involved in product-specific requirements.  But, a general method of attack is suggested here:
Inspection Plan Development
A good plan is only as good as its foundation, so a comprehensive and detailed product specification is critical to the success of the overall strategy.  Pro QC often assists clients with this documentation creation and also uses it internally to direct engineers on-site.  A good plan incorporates anything that will affect the salability and performance of the product.
First-Article Inspections
Pro QC inspects first-article samples prior to volume production.  That means the product specifications are being met and reengineering won’t be necessary at an inconvenient point of time in the future.
In-Process Inspections
These on-site inspections evaluate samples of your products selected during the manufacturing process.  It confirms the quality of your product and allows any necessary changes to be addressed early on.  Incorporating these inspections reduces rework time and costs.
Pre-Shipment Inspections
During a pre-shipment inspection, engineers verify that the finished goods confirm to your specifications.  A representative sample is chosen randomly from the lot using a sampling plan such as ANSI Z1.4. The criteria is used to determine sampling levels and accept/reject determinations.
Inspection schedules are dependent on factors such past performance, so costs associated with preventative action are also reduced as performance becomes predictable and/or stable.  Continuous improvement and consistent results means investing in quality throughout the process and avoiding associated risks and cost in the future.