Furniture Inspections: Quality Control Method and Checklist

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Ensuring Quality with Furniture Inspection

If we’ve learned anything from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is that furniture can really make a difference when spending extended time at home.

With global demand remaining high for furniture, it is estimated the global furniture market will rise from US$464 billion in 2020, to US$616 billion by 2026. The largest furniture market in the world, the United States, is expected to be valued at US$288 billion alone by this time.

The leading exporters of furniture globally are China – who take the lion’s share of the market – followed by European Union countries – Poland, Germany, and Italy, with Vietnam rounding up the top five.

Conducting quality inspections for furniture is crucial in maintaining consistency and standardization across our global supplier base, ensuring that each piece of furniture is produced to the highest quality and prepared for successful exportation.

Our Comprehensive Furniture Inspection Checklist and QC Method

Prior to shipment, the furniture goes through stringent quality control inspections. The entire shipment must pass inspection for quantity, package and packaging, product styles and construction, measurement data, functionality and performance, and product workmanship.

The furniture pre-shipment quality control inspection must pass these areas:

  1. Packing Visual check: cartons must be strong, shipping marks and labels in place, retail package artwork aligned, correct content within the package, the quantity of items and accessories within the package must be correct, and the presence of the correct version of printed literature within the package.

visual check

  1. Product Storage: inspections are carried out to make sure there is no moisture, mold, moisture-related odor, no visual defects, and no moist surfaces. Cartons must be on pallets and dry. Storage area humidity must meet specifications and must be well-ventilated without the presence of mold or water.
  2. Barcode Scan Test: barcodes on packaging must be clean and readable with a bar code reader, must correspond to client’s information and printed numbers/characters, and positioned according to client specifications.
  3. Product Visual Check: logo, label and markings should all be of good quality, correct, complete, legible and not damaged compared to specifications or approved sample, instruction manual must be verified, product physical conditions and appearance must be checked and free from any surface defects, or dirt and wrinkles. The furniture also needs to be safe and free from any burrs, sharp corners and edges, with any wood finishes free from cracks, bumps, unnecessary holes, or mold. Metal furniture also needs to be checked for finishing, and welding, and that it is not rusted, or suffering from any surface defects (bubbles, discoloration, etc). The overall design and components must be in accordance with the submitted drawing specifications and client requirements.

Examples of defects found during a furniture visual check:

furniture visual check
defects found during a furniture visual check
Examples of defects found during a furniture visual check

  1. Product Assembly Check: The furniture inspection must ensure the furniture can be assembled or disassembled easily and in accordance with the instruction manual. All accessories and fittings also need to pass inspection, with good alignment between all parts.
  2. Product Functional Check: All functions of the product must be checked to the full extent of its capacities. Any client specifications or product instructions must be applied at this stage to make sure the product functions well and is in line with the approved sample.
  3. Stability Test: The furniture must be placed on a flat surface to check for any wobbling or instability.

Stability Test

  1. Fatigue Test: The product must be used repeatedly to the full extent of its capacity for 20 cycles or following client specifications – and it must not break, deform, or be damaged after this.
  2. Static Loading Test: Load the product with the nominal weight of use from specifications for a specified amount of time, ensuring it does not break or become damaged or deformed in any way.
  3. Color Specification Check: colors of the furniture must conform to specific corresponding Pantone codes.
  4. Moisture content – Wood: for any wood furniture, the moisture content must be thoroughly checked and all points must be within specified tolerance.
  5. Odor Check: no offensive or unexpected odor is to be found during a smell test, and it must be compared with that of the approved sample.
  6. Dimensional Check: Physical dimensional measurements must be checked to follow the submitted technical drawing specifications.

Dimensional Check
Physical dimensional measurements
Dimensional Check

  1. Weight Check: Measure and record the net weight and gross weight according to the information on the master carton.

Weight Check

  1. Shipping Carton Stacking Test: one column of export carts is to be piled up to a height of 2.5m for four hours – after which it must not show any compression that would affect the carton’s shape and/or damage the contents.
  2. Material Test Certificate/Report: Verify and check the material test certificates and reports from the factory, and check the certificate of treatment/fumigation of the raw wood material and pallets. Any failure to present documentation related to materials shall ensure the entire lot of furniture will be rejected.
  3. Shipping Carton Drop Test: height and drop sequence according to ISTA 2C procedure for furniture packing. The furniture must be dropped in its carton in free fall on a hard floor on one corner, three edges, and six faces – according to specifications.

The above furniture inspection checklist simplifies Pro QC’s process, which is far more stringent – enabling the critical compliance of the products for import at the destination. This ensures both buyer and factory are protected from any unnecessary additional expense and delay as any errors, defects, or points of concern can be addressed before shipment.

It is also essential to adhere to industry standards to ensure product quality, safety, and performance. One such set of recognized guidelines are the ANSI/BIFMA (American National Standards Institute / Business + Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association) standards. Over the past year, numerous BIFMA standards have been advanced, revised, or redefined, and significant efforts have been made to promote awareness and adoption of these standards. These guidelines encompass various aspects of furniture design and manufacturing, including sustainability, office chairs, public seating, desks and tables, storage units, panel systems, and emissions, among others. By incorporating ANSI/BIFMA standards into the inspection process, furniture manufacturers and buyers can maintain consistency and standardization across their global supplier base, ensuring that each piece of furniture is produced to the highest quality and prepared for successful exportation.

Common Defects Found During Furniture Inspections

When our engineers perform quality inspections on furniture, they commonly identify various types of defects that compromise the quality and functionality of the product.

Material deterioration

This can happen when the materials used to make the furniture are of low quality or when they are exposed to harsh weather conditions or other external factors. Such deterioration can lead to weakened structural integrity of the furniture, which could ultimately lead to failure during use.

Frame distortion

It can affect the structural integrity of the furniture, making it unstable and prone to collapse. It can result from factors such as improper assembly, inadequate materials, or poor design.

Bad welding, burrs, and sharp edges

They are common defects that can pose safety risks for consumers and result from poor workmanship during the manufacturing process or insufficient quality control measures.

Peeling paint, rough sanding, poor finishing, and inaccurate color

They are cosmetic defects that impact the appearance of the furniture. While these defects may not necessarily affect the functionality of the product, they can lead to customer dissatisfaction and damage the reputation of the manufacturer.

Missed markings, incorrect labeling, and damage to cartons

Those issues can result in the wrong product being delivered to the customer or the product arriving in a damaged condition.

Overall, buyers and manufacturers are urged to conduct thorough third-party inspections to ensure that their furniture products are free from defects that could compromise safety, functionality, or customer satisfaction.

About Us

With almost four decades of experience in the furniture industry, Pro QC International is a quality assurance company that operates globally. Our solutions consist of supplier management services, factory audits, and quality inspections.

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