AQF Quality Control Blog

Inspection Process

Inspectors: Generalists or Specialists?

We often get questions from clients about the experience of inspectors. Many are looking for an inspector with specific experience in a certain target product. While it is likely that any inspector could have seen this particular item in the past, it may surprise you to know that actually inspectors are generalists within a field. This does not mean that one day an inspector will be inspecting solar panels and the next he will be checking lingerie, however there are three general fields that an inspector may fall within:

  • Soft Goods: Garments, textiles, bags, shoes, etc.
  • Hard Goods: Furniture, home goods, toys, etc.
  • Electronics & Electrical products: USB, mp3 players, cables, etc.

But why do inspection companies generally not have specialists?

For the most part, it just isn’t feasible for an inspection company to have specialists within very specified areas. For example, say an inspection company has 2 socks specialists- one in Beijing, one in Shenzhen. Then, say you would like an inspection on socks in the Shanghai area. While there are specialists in shirts and caps in Shanghai, the company now must fly an inspector from Beijing or Shenzhen, creating additional costs and slowing down the process. While indeed these inspectors’ experience in socks is superior to that of the shirt specialist, the shirt specialist probably is capable of inspecting socks as well!

Training inspectors thoroughly on a wide variety of items within their field is the best and only effective way to provide clients with timely service, yet with an inspector who understands the product. Within these three categories, of course inspectors may have items that they are more experienced in from past work experience, but  they are more than proficient in providing accurate and detailed inspections within their field. AQF’s office has a rich database of product-specific checklists and our quality supervisors prepare inspections based on previous experience along with these lists.

But remember: YOU as the client should always be the expert. The inspector is well trained to inspect and report his or her findings, however he or she will never know the products as well as you!


David Fisher

I used to be AQF's Business Development Manager, leading marketing strategy. I have recently left AQF to get my MBA, but still serve as a blog contributor. I enjoy visiting China and helping clients with their Asian business and quality control strategies.

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