Outsourcing is a common practice in the quality control industry where brands, retailers or importers contract an independent third-party to provide services such as quality inspections and lab testing, rather than running these processes with a dedicated in-house team.
Let’s take a look at how outsourced QC can support businesses and the benefits of doing so.
Many businesses choose to outsource their quality control to reduce fixed costs. Running an in-house QC function involves high fixed costs such as labor, overheads, equipment and technology. Working with a third-party provider has the benefit of reducing these costs and converting QC into a variable overhead with much greater flexibility.
Vendor-paid quality control is also a growing trend, where a brand charges the cost of QC back to the supplier of factory, therefore reducing their costs even further.
Access to global coverage
Most large quality control providers have a global network of inspectors at their disposal – for example, QIMA has on the ground presence in 95 countries. Outsourcing your QC to one of these providers removes difficulties that in-house teams typically have with travelling to various factory locations (this is particularly relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic). It also mitigates a brand’s risk of managing employees in countries that face safety concerns or political uncertainty. Dedicated QC firms also typically employ local inspectors who have in-depth knowledge of their region’s language, laws and practices, thus removing any potential cultural barriers.
QC companies provide access to specialists who are trained and have extensive expertise in specific product areas. It’s their job to stay up to date on the latest industry developments such as regulatory changes and testing techniques, as well as constantly innovate and invest in new technology and methodologies for ensuring product quality. This frees up businesses to focus on their own core areas of expertise such as product design and development, retailing, sourcing and cost control.
Flexibility and agility
With outsourced QC services, business aren’t restricted to the skills they have internally and inspectors are contracted on an as-needed basis. Services can be booked with short notice (QIMA can have an inspector onsite within 48 hours of booking) and with no ties to a single location for QC operations, meaning businesses can react quickly and shift their quality control in line with sourcing trends.
Other benefits include being able to avoid delays caused by time zone differences, manage seasonality and minimize costs in slow seasons, ramp up or down inspections based on factory or product risk, and activate additional resources if the business faces a unique QC requirement.
Better control of integrity risks
Unfortunately, integrity issues do arise in global supply chains but most third-party providers are aware of these risks and have precautionary measures in place such as frequent rotation of inspectors so they don’t get familiar with factory management, and strict policies forbidding staff from accepting gifts or other forms of bribes. In addition to these basic measures, QIMA utilizes measures such as integrity filtered recruitment, integrity training, financial incentives, remote monitoring of inspector activity, random testing, integrity risk prediction based on historical data, and undercover operations to weed out integrity issues.
Getting started with QIMA
As supply chains get more diversified and difficult to manage, partnering with a specialist QC provider ensures your products are safe and meet your customer’s expectations. Contact us here to learn more about our quality control services and how we can help you!